Richard Ingrams

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Richard Ingrams
Born (1937-08-19) 19 August 1937 (age 86)
EducationShrewsbury School
Alma materUniversity College, Oxford
Occupation(s)Journalist, author, satirist
Sara Soudain
(m. 2011)

Richard Reid Ingrams (born 19 August 1937)[1] is an English journalist, a co-founder and second editor of the British satirical magazine Private Eye, and founding editor of The Oldie magazine. He left the latter job at the end of May 2014.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Shrewsbury School

Ingrams's parents, who had three other sons including the banker and opera impresario Leonard Ingrams,[3] were Leonard St Clair Ingrams (1900–1953)[4] an investment banker from a clergy family who worked as a government official in propaganda, economic warfare and the secret services during World War II,[5][6] and Victoria, the daughter of Sir James Reid, private physician to Queen Victoria. Through his maternal grandmother and her ties to the Baring family, Ingrams is a direct descendant of the 19th-century prime minister Charles Grey.[7]

Ingrams was educated at the independent preparatory school West Downs in Winchester, Hampshire, followed by Shrewsbury School, where he met Willie Rushton and edited the school magazine. Before attending Oxford, he did his National Service in the army ranks after failing his interview for officer training, something which was unusual for someone from his background at the time. At University College, Oxford, where he read Classics, he shared tutorials with Robin Butler, later cabinet secretary and sometimes referred to as a "pillar of the Establishment". More importantly, he met Paul Foot, another former Shrewsbury pupil not yet the left-wing radical he became, who was to be a lifelong friend and whose biography Ingrams wrote after Foot's death.


Along with several other Old Salopians, including Willie Rushton, Ingrams founded Private Eye in 1962, taking over the editorship from Christopher Booker in 1963. It was a classic case, he claimed on Desert Island Discs in 2008, of the "old boy network". Private Eye was part of the satire boom of the early 1960s, which included the television show That Was The Week That Was, for which Ingrams wrote, and The Establishment nightclub, run by Peter Cook. When Private Eye ran into financial problems Cook was able to gain a majority shareholding on the proceeds of his brief but financially successful venture.

Ingrams vacated the editor's chair at the Eye in 1986, when Ian Hislop took over. In 1992 Ingrams created and became editor of The Oldie, a now monthly humorous lifestyle and issues magazine mainly aimed at the older generation. As of 2005 he was still chairman of Private Eye, working there every Monday,[8] spending four days a week in London.[9]

He was television critic for The Spectator from 1976 to 1984, though he rarely showed much enthusiasm for the medium. He was a regular on the radio panel quiz The News Quiz for its first twenty years and contributed a column to The Observer for eighteen years.[8] In late 2005 he moved to The Independent, considering The Observer to have gone downhill, particularly as a consequence of its support for the Iraq war.[8] In his 27 August 2011 column, he announced that he had been sacked by the newly appointed editor of The Independent. Shortly after the death of Jimmy Savile, Ingrams' The Oldie was the first publication to break the story of Savile's history of child abuse, after several national newspapers had been unwilling to print it.[10]

After a series of clashes with James Pembroke, owner and publisher of The Oldie, Ingrams left the magazine at the end of May 2014 having resigned as editor.[2] His most recent book is a biography of Ludovic Kennedy.

Personal life[edit]

Ingrams married Mary Morgan on 24 November 1962;[11] they had three children: a son, Fred, who is an artist; a second son, Arthur, who was disabled and died in childhood; and a daughter, Margaret ("Jubby") a mother of three who died in 2004, aged 39, of a heroin overdose in Brighton.[12]

Ingrams played the organ for many years in his local Anglican church in Aldworth, Berkshire, each Sunday.[13] The Romney Marsh Historic Churches Trust was formed under the patronage of Ingrams and the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie. In 2011 he announced he had converted to Roman Catholicism.[3]

Ingrams currently lives in Berkshire with his wife (who is also his god-daughter) Sara, a medical researcher.[14] Before they married in 2011 he had a "long-term partner, Debbie Bosley, a waitress-turned novelist 27 years his junior".[15]

His sister-in-law (wife of his late brother Rupert, a publisher) was Davina Ingrams, 18th Baroness Darcy de Knayth; his nephew Caspar is the present baron.

A biography, Richard Ingrams: Lord of the Gnomes (ISBN 0-434-77828-1) by Harry Thompson, was published in 1994.

Books by Ingrams[edit]

As author[edit]

As compiler and editor[edit]

  • What the Papers Never Meant to Say: "Private Eye's" Second Book of Boobs 1968
  • The Life and Times of Private Eye 1961–1971 1971
  • Beachcomber: The Works of J. B. Morton 1974
  • Cobbett's Country Book: An Anthology of William Cobbett's Writings on Country Matters 1974
  • "Private Eye's" Book of Pseuds: A Mood Statement 1975
  • "Private Eye's" Second Book of Pseuds 1977
  • The Penguin Book of Private Eye Cartoons 1983
  • Dr Johnson by Mrs Thrale: The "Anecdotes" of Mrs Piozzi in Their Original Form 1984
  • England: An Anthology 1989
  • The Bumper Beachcomber 1991
  • The Oldie Book of Cartoons 1996
  • More Cartoons 1996
  • I Once Met: Fifty Encounters with the Famous 1996
  • Jesus: Authors Take Sides: An Anthology 1999
  • The Oldie Book of Cartoons, 1992–2009 2009
  • The Oldie Book of Cartoons: A New Selection 2013


  1. ^ "Article | Richard Ingrams My music | Page 146 - May 2002 - Gramophone…". Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  2. ^ a b Ben Quinn "Richard Ingrams resigns as editor of the Oldie over dispute with publisher", The Guardian, 31 May 2014
  3. ^ a b Grice, Elizabeth (3 March 2011). "Richard Ingrams in love – is he serious?". The Telegraph. London.
  4. ^ "Ginny Dougary :: Award-winning journalist and writer » Old at heart: Richard Ingrams".
  5. ^ Winning the Peace: The British in Occupied Germany, 1945–1948, Christopher Knowles, 2017, p. 218
  6. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. Lawrence Goldman, 2013, p. 587
  7. ^ Leonard Ingrams by Paul Levy, The Independent, 1 August 2005.
  8. ^ a b c Rob McGibbon "Richard Ingrams interview", Press Gazette 15 December 2005.
  9. ^ Deborah Bosley "Country living stinks", New Statesman, 26 June 2000. Retrieved on 3 August 2008.
  10. ^ William Turvill "Why The Oldie exposed Savile child abuse: 'I just thought it was a good story'", Press Gazette, 2 April 2013
  11. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Daughter of ex-Private Eye editor killed by overdose". Evening Standard. London. 21 July 2004.
  13. ^ Leapman, Michael (11 March 2002). "Profile – Richard Ingrams". New Statesman. London. Archived from the original on 27 December 2006. Retrieved 3 August 2008.
  14. ^ Jeffries, Stuart (8 June 2014). "Richard Ingrams: 'I have lots of enemies, some of them enduring'". The Guardian. London.
  15. ^ 'Richard Ingrams In Love: Is He Serious?', Elizabeth Grice, The Daily Telegraph, 3 March 2011

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by Editor of Private Eye
Succeeded by