Justin Webb

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Justin Webb
Webb at a social event in Washington DC
Justin Oliver Prouse

(1961-01-03) 3 January 1961 (age 58)
EducationSidcot School
London School of Economics
Years active1984–present
Notable credit(s)
BBC News, Today Programme
Home townBath, Somerset, England
TitleNorth America Editor of BBC News (2007–2009)
Spouse(s)Sarah Gordon
ChildrenMartha Gordon Webb, Sam Gordon Webb, Clara Gordon Webb
Parent(s)Gloria Crocombe
Peter Woods[1]
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] 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.[5] 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.[6] 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 claimed 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, he returned to the UK to replace Edward Stourton on the Today programme.[3]

Personal life[edit]

In August 2009, Webb returned to the UK with his wife Sarah and their three children. Whilst in the United States, his 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.[12]

Currently Webb lives in Camberwell. In 2008, his mother, Gloria, died and he inherited her home in Bath, Somerset.[13]


  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. ^ Justin Webb Obituary: Gloria Webb, theguardian.com, 2 October 2006. Still an unnamed "married man" at this point.
  6. ^ Ben Todd and Ghristian Gysin (18 January 2011). "I'm the secret son of 1970s newsreader Peter Woods, reveals BBC's Justin Webb". Daily Mail. London.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  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. ^ Webb, Justin (5 January 2009). "Health care heartbreak". BBC. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  13. ^ "Radio 4's Justin Webb. His son has since recovered". Southwark Borough Council.

External links[edit]

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