Nicky Campbell

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Nicky Campbell
Born Nicholas Lackey (renamed Nicholas Andrew Argyle Campbell on adoption)
(1961-04-10) 10 April 1961 (age 54)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Residence Salford, Clapham, Kylerhea
Television The Big Questions
Long Lost Family
Spouse(s) Linda Larnach (divorced)
Tina Ritchie (m. 1997)
Children 4 daughters
Website Official Twitter

Nicholas Andrew Argyll "Nicky" Campbell, OBE (born Nicholas Lackey, 10 April 1961 in Edinburgh, Scotland) is a Scottish radio and television presenter and journalist.

From 1988 until 1996, Campbell presented the game show Wheel of Fortune and from 2001 until 2009 the consumer affairs programme Watchdog. Since 2011, he has co-hosted Long Lost Family with Davina McCall on ITV. He currently presents both the BBC Radio 5 Live breakfast programme and BBC One's Sunday morning show The Big Questions.

Early life[edit]

Campbell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and adopted at four days old. He was educated at the independent school Edinburgh Academy. His adoptive mother was a psychiatric social worker and his adoptive father a publisher of maps.


Early career[edit]

Nicky Campbell presenting the Radio 1 Roadshow from Helensburgh in July 1989

After graduating from the University of Aberdeen with a 2:1 in history, Campbell toyed with the idea of becoming an actor and got involved in commercial production for radio to gain his Equity card. At university, Campbell's best friend had been the actor Iain Glen. He worked at Northsound Radio in Aberdeen from 1981 to 1985, first as a jingle writer, before going on to host the breakfast show.


Campbell worked at London station Capital Radio from 1986–87, occasionally presented on Music Box and joined BBC Radio 1 in 1987, presenting a Saturday night show from 10pm-midnight. In early 1988, he took over the weekend early morning show from 6-8am from Simon Mayo and in October 1988 he presented the music and interview show which he named Into the Night, which went out from 10pm-midnight Monday to Thursday. Guests included political figures, with Campbell interviewing John Major in 1991, after Conservative Party chairman Chris Patten recommended the show to the Prime Minister when Radio 1 sent an invitation to No.10. He was also regularly joined by Frankie Howerd in the last years of the comedian's life. In August 1993, Campbell also took over a Sunday morning show from 10am-1pm, following the on-air resignation of Dave Lee Travis.

Campbell left the network briefly in October 1993 to care for his sick wife. In early 1994, he took over the weekday drivetime show from 4-7pm, and in 1995, he took over the afternoon show from 2-4pm. Campbell attracted a large audience, and when Radio 2 wanted a replacement for Jimmy Young, he revealed that he was the BBC's choice and detailed a series of meetings between himself and the controller of Radio 2. However, the BBC later claimed that Campbell had initiated the meetings himself, and his public revelations prompted the wrath of Greg Dyke.[1]

Campbell left BBC Radio 1 in October 1997 and joined the news and sport network BBC Radio 5 Live, when offered the job by Roger Mosey the station's head. He presented the mid-morning programme on 5 Live for over 5 years before replacing Julian Worricker in the breakfast slot in January 2003, co-presenting initially with Victoria Derbyshire. From 2004 to 2011, he co-presented the programme with Shelagh Fogarty. In May 2011, Fogarty left the breakfast show and was replaced by Rachel Burden.[2] Campbell joins the programme an hour later than Burden (7 am, as opposed to 6) and continues on his own for an hour at the end when the show becomes a topical events phone-in (Your Call). He also presented an interactive programme called Now You're Talking on the radio.


Campbell presented the British version of Wheel of Fortune (produced by Scottish Television for the ITV network) from 1988 to 1996.

He regularly hosted Top of the Pops from 1988 to 1991 and again from 1994 to 1997. In the 1990s, Campbell fronted Central Weekend on Central Television in the English Midlands and Carlton Live in London with Richard Littlejohn and then Andrew Neil.

In 2001, Campbell began presenting the BBC consumer affairs programme Watchdog. He presented the show alongside Kate Sanderson until 2005 and then alongside Julia Bradbury from 2005 until 2009, when it was revealed that Anne Robinson would replace Campbell and Bradbury for the next series of Watchdog, which began airing in September 2009.

In 2006, Campbell appeared in the singing show Just the Two of Us, with Beverley Knight.

From 2007 until 2009, Campbell hosted For the Rest of Your Life for Endemol, beginning in May 2007. Campbell featured in an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? that aired 11 July 2007, where he is seen tracing his adoptive family's roots in Scotland and Australia.

He currently presents The Big Questions on BBC One and has done so since 2007. He hosted the second series of the BBC Two quiz show Battle of the Brains in 2009. He replaced Paddy O'Connell, who presented the first series.

Since 2011, Nicky has co-presented Long Lost Family, with Davina McCall on ITV.[3] The show aims to reunite family members and as of 2015, five series have aired. Campbell also co-hosted BBC One's Your Money Their Tricks opposite Rebecca Wilcox and Sian Williams in July 2013.

In early 2014, Nicky presented four-part series Wanted: A Family of My Own beginning 24 April on ITV.[4] In 2015, he presented an episode of Perspectives and a one-off episode called Rebuild Our Home, both for ITV.[5]


Campbell started out as a jingle writer and when he was on BBC Radio 1 from 1987 to 1997, he wrote a lot of music for the station. He has written and co-produced a critically praised jazz swing album for singer and actor Mark Moraghan, Moonlight's Back in Style, released on Linn Records in September 2009. Campbell and Moraghan met on Just the Two of Us in 2006. Campbell is a company director of Mhor Music Ltd.,[6] an original music company producing bespoke and original music for feature film, television, corporate media, online content and ringtones; and Mhor Productions Ltd., a supplier of radio and television programming and broadcasting activities.

Campbell and Kate Robbins co-wrote and recorded an album, We're Just Passing Through, released on 7 July 2014.

Other work[edit]

In 2004, he wrote a book called 'Blue Eyed Son', about his own adoption experience.

Awards and honours[edit]

Campbell has won seven Sony Awards, including a Gold Award in 2007 for the Radio 5 Live Breakfast programme as "Best News and Current Affairs Programme" (with Shelagh Fogarty). In 2008, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.

Long Lost Family won a Television BAFTA award in 2014 for "Features Programme". It was nominated for a National Television Award in the "Factual Programme" category, but lost out to Gogglebox.

Campbell will be appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2015 Birthday Honours, for his services to children.[7][8]

Personal life[edit]

Campbell met his first wife Linda Larnach, who was eight years older, in Scotland. He later nursed her through a cancer scare and ME, and took time out from his career. He was then criticised when he broke up with her and she gave interviews in which she said his career break had been a publicity stunt.[1][9]

Campbell married his second wife, journalist Christina "Tina" Ritchie who is the former head of Virgin Radio News,[10] in December 1997 in Kensington, and the couple have four daughters.

In 1989, during his first marriage, Campbell traced his birth mother and after having children of his own with Ritchie, Campbell decided to find his Irish biological father in 2002. Whereas his birth mother was from a Dublin Protestant family, his biological father was a Northern Irish Catholic thirteen years younger than her. He also discovered that his grandfather had been in the IRA at the time of Michael Collins, and his biological father had spent time in the fifties in the IRA and still clung to his Republican beliefs. Campbell's cousin, Anthony Hughes had also been in the IRA and was killed by British troops in Armagh in 1973.

In 2004, Campbell wrote Blue-Eyed Son [Story of an Adoption], his account of being adopted and tracing both his birth parents and his extended families in Ireland. Both sides of his birth families helped with and contributed to the book. His birth mother, Stella, died in 2007; Campbell spoke at her Dublin funeral. As a result of his book and his work in adoption, he was asked to become a Patron of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF).

He has homes in Salford, Clapham and Kylerhea. He has a Labrador Retriever and a Westie.[citation needed]


Year Title Role Channel Note(s)
1988–1996 Wheel of Fortune Presenter ITV
1988–1991, 1994–1997 Top of the Pops Presenter BBC One
2001–2009 Watchdog Co-presenter With Kate Sanderson and Julia Bradbury
2006 Just the Two of Us Contestant First series
2007–2009 For the Rest of Your Life Presenter ITV
2007— The Big Questions Presenter BBC One
2009 Battle of the Brains Presenter BBC Two
2011— Long Lost Family Co-presenter ITV With Davina McCall
2013 Your Money Their Tricks Co-presenter BBC One With Sian Williams and Rebecca Wilcox
2015 Perspectives Presenter ITV Guest presenter; 1 episode
Rebuild Our Home Presenter One-off episode


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Host of Wheel of Fortune
Succeeded by
Bradley Walsh
Academic offices
Preceded by
Nicholas Parsons
Rector of the University of St Andrews
Succeeded by
Donald Findlay