Justin Webb

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Justin Webb
Webb at a social event in Washington DC
Born (1961-01-03) 3 January 1961 (age 59)
EducationSidcot School
London School of Economics
Years active1984–present
Notable credit(s)
BBC News, Today
TitleNorth America Editor of BBC News (2007–2009)
Spouse(s)Sarah Gordon
RelativesGregory Woods (cousin)

Justin Oliver Webb (born Justin Oliver Prouse,[1] 3 January 1961[2] in Portsmouth, Hampshire) is a British journalist who has worked for the BBC since 1984. He is a former BBC North America Editor and the main co-presenter of BBC One's Breakfast News programme. Since August 2009, he has co-presented the Today programme on BBC Radio 4,[3] and also regularly writes for the Radio Times.

Early life[edit]

In an article in the Radio Times in January 2011, Webb revealed that his natural father was Peter Woods who was formerly a reporter with the Daily Mirror and later became a BBC newsreader.[4][5] Woods was married and Webb's mother, then Gloria Crocombe, was a secretary at the Daily Mirror and was divorced from her first husband at the time of the affair with Woods.[6] Webb commented that his mother's split from Woods may have been as much her doing as his, saying "I do not believe she was abandoned".[4] Woods provided financially for Webb but saw his son only once, when he was six months old.[citation needed] Webb took the surname of his stepfather when his mother remarried in 1964.[1]

Webb grew up in Bath.[7] He was educated at Sidcot School, a Quaker school in Somerset, and the London School of Economics, where he was editor of student newspaper The Beaver.


Webb joined the BBC as a graduate trainee in 1984 working in Northern Ireland for BBC Radio Ulster based in Belfast. He then worked as a reporter for BBC Radio 4's Today programme, before becoming a foreign affairs correspondent based in London and covering news around the world. He reported on the Gulf War and the war in Bosnia, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the first democratic elections in South Africa.

He then became a BBC News presenter based in London, and the main presenter on BBC One's Breakfast News programme from 1992 to 1997. He also presented the BBC's One and Six O'Clock News bulletins and presented BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight from 1997–1998. From 1998 he spent three years working as the BBC's Europe correspondent based in Brussels. During that time he reported on the workings of the European Commission and Parliament, the politics surrounding Britain's decision on whether to join the single currency and the enlargement on the European Union.

In 2001, Webb moved to the United States, as the BBC's chief Washington correspondent.[8] Much of his time was spent on local Washington Radio, most notably, WAMU, a public radio station, on The Diane Rehm Show. He raised eyebrows within the BBC in 2006 when, at a seminar on impartiality, he said the corporation was anti-American and treated the US with "scorn and derision", according it "no moral weight".[9] He has also presented a Radio 4 series on anti-Americanism.[10] In December 2007, he became North American Editor for BBC News, a role newly created in time for the American presidential election of 2008.[11] He replaced Matt Frei who moved to present the new World News America bulletin. Since November 2007, Webb has maintained a regularly updated blog on the BBC website.

In August 2009, Webb returned to the UK to replace Edward Stourton on BBC Radio 4's early morning news programme Today.[3] In October 2017, Webb disclosed that his presenting colleague Nick Robinson was being paid £100,000 more than him, for doing "essentially the same job". Webb's pay amounted to £200,000, whilst Robinson's reached £300,000, despite his joining the programme six years before.[12] Webb promoted that the era of the "big beast" news anchor would likely be drawing to a close, with the "very well-paid" John Humphrys and Huw Edwards "in the firing line".[13]

Personal life[edit]

Webb married his long-term partner Sarah Gordon in the early 2000s. They have three children together: Martha, Sam and Clara. Whilst in the United States, their son Sam fell ill and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus. As a result, Webb experienced the United States healthcare system first-hand. His son commonly joins his father in speaking about the disease. In 2012, Webb joined son Sam at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, meeting the Duchess of Cornwall as she visited the facilities. She later became a Royal Patron of the children's charity, JDRF, a charity which Webb supports on a regular basis.[14]

In August 2009, Webb returned to Britain with his wife and children. They currently live in Camberwell, South London. In 2008, his mother, Gloria, died and he inherited her home in Bath, Somerset.[15]


  • Webb, Justin (2008). Have a Nice Day. Short Books, London. ISBN 9781906021702.[16]
  • Webb, Justin (2011). Notes on Them and Us: From the Mayflower to Obama – the British, the Americans and the Special Essential Relationship. Short Books Ltd. ISBN 9781907595431.
  • Webb, Justin (2013). Cheers, America: How an Englishman Learned to Love America. Atria Books/Marble Arch Press. ISBN 9780993087905.
  • Young, Debbie; Webb, Justin (2014). Coming to Terms with Type 1 Diabetes: One Family's Story of Life After Diagnosis. Hawkesbury Press. ISBN 9781476730196.


  1. ^ a b c Bingham, John; Singh, Anita (18 January 2011). "BBC's Justin Webb reveals his real father was newsreader Peter Woods". London: Telegraph Media Group Limited.
  2. ^ Who's Who 2008
  3. ^ a b [1] BBC press release. Website accessed 26 August 2009
  4. ^ a b "BBC News – Today host Justin Webb names his father as Peter Woods". BBC. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  5. ^ Robinson, James (18 January 2011). "BBC's Justin Webb reveals father was 1970s newscaster". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  6. ^ Justin Webb Obituary: Gloria Webb, theguardian.com, 2 October 2006. Still an unnamed "married man" at this point.
  7. ^ "Bath man Justin Webb reveals hidden identity of his secret father". Bath Chronicle. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  8. ^ [2] BBC Website accessed 8 February 2008
  9. ^ [3] The American Expatriate blog. Website accessed 19 November 2007
  10. ^ [4] Media Guardian article Monday 5 November 2007. Website accessed 18 November 2007
  11. ^ [5] BBC Website accessed 19 November 2007
  12. ^ Furness, Hannah (15 October 2017). "New BBC row: Justin Webb asks why Nick Robinson is paid £100k more than him to do 'same job'". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  13. ^ Singh, Anita (27 March 2018). "Justin Webb: could the Today programme survive – and thrive – without John Humphrys?". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  14. ^ Webb, Justin (5 January 2009). "Health care heartbreak". BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  15. ^ "Radio 4's Justin Webb. His son has since recovered". Southwark Borough Council.
  16. ^ Rogers, Richard (6 June 2009). "Review: Have a Nice Day by Justin Webb". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 27 May 2019.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
North America Editor: BBC News
Succeeded by
Mark Mardell