Simon Reeve (British TV presenter)

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Simon Alan Reeve
Portrait photograph of Simon Reeve; a white male. A BBC publicity photo, taken on location during his travels for the 'Tropic of Cancer with Simon Reeve' television series. Showing his head to his chest to just below shoulder level, Reeve, looking straight at the camera, has an engaging but neutral look on his face. Mouth closed, eyes blue-green topped with thick dark brown eyebrows, head covered in slightly unkempt dark brown hair, his face and top lip covered in very short ginger coloured stubble. He wears a green T-shirt, with an Arabic style head scarf loosely wrapped around his neck.
Simon Reeve in 2009, source BBC.
Born (1972-07-21) 21 July 1972 (age 51)
Occupation(s)Author, documentary filmmaker, television presenter
Known forFirst and only author to document 1993 World Trade Center bombing,
Terrorism and political travel documentary film maker
Televisionsee below
SpouseAnya Reeve (née Courts)
Awardssee below

Simon Alan Reeve[1] (born 21 July 1972) is an English author, journalist, adventurer, documentary filmmaker and television presenter.

Reeve divides his home time between London and Devon.[2][3] He makes global travel and environmental documentaries, and has written books on international terrorism,[4] modern history, and his adventures. Amongst his many television programmes and series for the BBC, Reeve has presented Holidays in the Danger Zone: Places That Don't Exist,[4] Tropic of Cancer with Simon Reeve, Equator and Tropic of Capricorn.

Reeve is the author of The New Jackals (1998), One Day in September (2005) and Tropic of Capricorn (2007). He has received a One World Broadcasting Trust Award[5] and the 2012 Ness Award from the Royal Geographical Society (RGS).[6]

Early life[edit]

Reeve was born and raised in Acton, West London, by his parents, Alan Reeve, who was a teacher, and Cindy Reeve, who was an occupational therapist and worked in restaurants.[7] He has a younger brother called James.[8] He attended the Twyford Church of England High School in Acton.[9]

Reeve had a ‘tense and sometimes violent relationship’ with his father when he was growing up.[10] He said that in his house ‘there was endless shouting, lots of crashing and banging, and a few times it was so violent we or our neighbours called the police to come and break us up’.[11]

From the age of 14, he required counselling due to behavioural problems, such as starting fires, vandalism, and setting off an explosive at the Ealing Broadway Centre.[3] He ended up carrying a knife by the time he was 12 or 13.[12]

He described his final months at school being "a bit of a blur".[3] He left school with one GCSE, living on benefits, and with mental health problems.[3] At the age of 17, Reeve stated he was even a "whisker away" from suicide.[3] He found himself standing on the edge of a bridge, unable to "face existence", but something made him climb back.[13]


After leaving school, he took a series of jobs, including working in a supermarket, a jewellery shop and a charity shop. Eventually, aged 18, he ended up as a post boy at the British newspaper The Sunday Times.[14][15][16]

After starting at The Sunday Times as a post boy, he then worked at the cuttings library, before helping a team of investigative journalists,[3] and by night he was working on investigations into nuclear and weapons smuggling, and terrorism.[14][15] One of his formative roles at 18 was to follow a weapons dealer from Gatwick Airport.[14]

At the age of 21, citing his "fearlessness of youth", Reeve was investigating the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.[3][14][15] He wrote a book The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the Future of Terrorism; eventually published in 1998, it was the first book on Osama bin Laden, Ramzi Yousef, and al-Qaeda;[14][15] this became a New York Times bestseller.[17] Classified documents obtained by the author, with uninhibited access from the likes of the FBI and the CIA, detailed the existence, development, and aims of al-Qaeda,[14][18] yet his book warning of an apocalyptic act by terrorists went unnoticed.[14][15]

After the attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States of America, Reeve became a media expert on terrorism on the basis of his book.[15] The BBC initially wanted him to make a programme involving infiltrating al-Qaeda.[15] He eventually began making travel documentaries. Tom Hall, travel editor for Lonely Planet publications, has described Reeve's travel documentaries as "the best travel television programmes of the past five years".[19]

In January 2013, Reeve appeared in a charity special of The Great British Bake Off.

6 September 2018 saw the release of Reeve's autobiography called Step by Step: The Life in My Journeys; covering his humble beginnings to successful author and television presenter.[16]

After catching malaria on a journey around the Equator, Reeve became an ambassador for the Malaria Awareness Campaign.[20][21] Along with Sir David Attenborough and other conservation specialists, Reeve is a member of the Council of Ambassadors for WWF, one of the world's leading environmental organisations.[22]

In 2020, Reeve was commissioned to present his first UK based travel show Cornwall With Simon Reeve,[23] which was ordered by BBC Two alongside Incredible Journeys With Simon Reeve. The latter show is due to be a 'look back' programme similar to Joanna Lumley's Unseen Adventures or Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime[24] (a show which featured both Reeve and Lumley talking about the ex-Monty Python actor's travels).

Simon Reeve in Libya travelling around the Tropic of Cancer
Simon Reeve on the border in the unrecognised nation of Nagorno-Karabakh


  • 2003 – Holidays in the Danger Zone: Meet the Stans[25]
  • 2004 – House of Saud (also broadcast as: Saudi: The Family in Crisis)[26]
  • 2005 – Holidays in the Danger Zone: Places That Don't Exist[4][27]
  • 2006 – Equator[28] (Silver Award winner, 2007 Wanderlust Travel Awards)
  • 2008 – Tropic of Capricorn[29]
  • 2009 – Explore
  • 2010 – Tropic of Cancer with Simon Reeve[30]
  • 2012 – Indian Ocean with Simon Reeve[31]
  • 2012 – Cuba with Simon Reeve[32]
  • 2013 – Australia with Simon Reeve[33]
  • 2013 – Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve
  • 2014 – Tea Trail/Coffee Trail with Simon Reeve[34]
  • 2014 – Sacred Rivers with Simon Reeve
  • 2015 – Caribbean with Simon Reeve[14]
  • 2015 – Ireland with Simon Reeve
  • 2016 – Greece with Simon Reeve
  • 2017 – Turkey with Simon Reeve[15]
  • 2017 – Colombia with Simon Reeve
  • 2017 – Russia with Simon Reeve[35]
  • 2018 – Burma with Simon Reeve
  • 2018 – Mediterranean with Simon Reeve
  • 2019 – North Americas with Simon Reeve
  • 2020 – Cornwall with Simon Reeve
  • 2021 – Incredible Journeys with Simon Reeve[3]
  • 2021 – The Lakes with Simon Reeve[36]
  • 2022 – Simon Reeve's South America[37]
  • 2023 – Simon Reeve's Return to Cornwall[38]
  • 2024 – Wilderness with Simon Reeve[39]
Simon Reeve in Equator


  • The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the Future of Terrorism. UK: Andre Deutsch, USA: Northeastern University Press. 7 October 1999. ISBN 978-1555534073.
  • One Day in September. Faber & Faber. 1 December 2005. ISBN 978-0571231812.
  • Tropic of Capricorn. BBC Books. 6 February 2008. ISBN 978-1-84607-440-0.
  • Step by Step: The Life in My Journeys. Hodder & Stoughton. 6 September 2018. ISBN 978-1473689107.
  • Journeys to Impossible Places. Hodder & Stoughton. 14 October 2021. ISBN 978-1529364019.

Awards and accolades[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Reeve is married to Anya Reeve[3] (née Courts), a television camerawoman and campaigner who has stood as a Green Party candidate.[40] The couple have a son called Jake.[3][41]


  1. ^ "Index entry – Reeve, Simon Alan". ONS. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  2. ^ "BBC Two announce two new travel series with Simon Reeve". 9 October 2020. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Curtin, April (7 March 2021). "How Simon Reeve went from a life of crime to successful TV journalist". Reach plc. Retrieved 22 August 2021. He used to set off explosive devices and take a rambo knife to school
  4. ^ a b c Wilkinson, Carl (1 May 2005). "On the road to nowhere". The Guardian – Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  5. ^ a b "oneworld media awards 2005". London, England: One World Broadcasting Trust. Archived from the original on 5 March 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  6. ^ a b "2012 medals and awards". Royal Geographical Society. 2 February 2014. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  7. ^ Crampton, Robert. "Simon Reeve interview: on his new book Step by Step and why he's going on tour". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  8. ^ Shute, Joe (25 January 2019). "Simon Reeve: My teen mental health torment drove me to the brink". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  9. ^ "Tales from my travels: Terrorism expert Simon Reeve". the Guardian. 1 May 2005. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  10. ^ "TV adventurer Simon Reeve on how Scotland saved his life". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  11. ^ "Step by Step by Simon Reeve PDF Download". Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  12. ^ Food, Joe (8 October 2019). "Simon Reeve: "We are too connected as people now to ignore the rest of the world"". Exposed Magazine. Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  13. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Simon Reeve, broadcaster and writer". BBC. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Chacksfield, Marc (1 April 2015). "Simon Reeve on guns, drug busts and CIA agents". London, England: ShortList Media Ltd. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h "How Osama bin Laden kick-started Simon Reeve's TV career". New South Wales, Australia: Guide – Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). 10 April 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  16. ^ a b Reeve, Simon (2018). Step By Step The Life In My Journeys. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 9781473689107. "Taking chances is often where the best memories are, and the richest rewards in life come from a bit of risk-taking. We can all benefit from pushing ourselves, our partners, friends or family, out of our respective comfort zones"
  17. ^ "Making memories is where it's at for global adventurer". Henley Standard. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  18. ^ Powers, Thomas (2002). "The Trouble with the CIA - The New York Review of Books". Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  19. ^ Productions, Shootandscribble. "WELCOME".
  20. ^ Deeley, Laura (12 May 2007). "A real globetrotter". The Times. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  21. ^ "Home - GSK UK".
  22. ^ "Simon Reeve - WWF UK". Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  23. ^ (9 October 2020). "BBC2 orders Simon Reeves shows from The Garden, Beagle". Televisual. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  24. ^ "BBC Two - Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime, Series 1, Episode 1". BBC. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  25. ^ Reeve, Simon (29 September 2003). "Meet the Stans". BBC News. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  26. ^ "Saudi: The Family in Crisis". BBC News. 8 July 2004. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  27. ^ Productions, Shootandscribble. "Places That Don't Exist".
  28. ^ Productions, Shootandscribble. "Equator".
  29. ^ "Tropic of Capricorn". BBC News. 10 March 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  30. ^ Productions, Shootandscribble. "Tropic of Cancer".
  31. ^ Productions, Shootandscribble. "Indian Ocean".
  32. ^ Productions, Shootandscribble. "Cuba".
  33. ^ "BBC - Australia With Simon Reeve - Media Centre".
  34. ^ Summers, Chris (25 January 2014). "How Vietnam became a coffee giant". BBC News.
  35. ^ "Russia With Simon Reeve: Episode Two". BBC Two. 5 October 2017. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  36. ^ "The Lakes with Simon Reeve". Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  37. ^ "Simon Reeve returns to BBC Two with brand new South America Series". Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  38. ^ "Simon Reeve's Return to Cornwall". Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  39. ^ "Simon Reeve travels across the world's greatest wilderness for new BBC series". Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  40. ^ "Camden News: Anya Reeve | Larraine Revah | Linda Chung | Stephen Phillips | Hampstead Town by-election".
  41. ^ "Who is Simon Reeve's wife? The Americas tour to family adventures!". 8 October 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2020.

External links[edit]