Simon Reeve (British TV presenter)

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Simon Reeve
Simon Reeve DSC01134 2.JPG
Simon Reeve 2009
Born (1972-07-21) 21 July 1972 (age 47)
OccupationAuthor, television presenter

Simon Alan Reeve (born 21 July 1972)[citation needed] is a British author and television presenter, currently based in London. He makes travel documentaries and has written books on international terrorism, modern history and his adventures. He has presented the BBC television series Tropic of Cancer, Equator and Tropic of Capricorn.

Reeve is the New York Times' best-selling author of The New Jackals (1998), One Day in September (2000) and Tropic of Capricorn (2007). He has received a One World Broadcasting Trust Award and the 2012 Ness Award from the Royal Geographical Society.[1][2]

Life and career[edit]

Reeve was born in Hammersmith[3] and brought up in west London, attending Twyford Church of England High School. He rarely went abroad until he started working.[4] After leaving school, he took a series of jobs, including working in a supermarket, a jewellery shop and a charity shop, before he started researching and writing in his spare time while working as a postboy at the British newspaper The Sunday Times.

After the attacks of 11 September 2001, Reeve began making travel documentaries for the BBC. 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".[5]

After catching malaria on a journey around the Equator, Reeve became an ambassador for the Malaria Awareness Campaign.[6][7] 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.[8]

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


Meet the Stans (2003)[edit]

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

Meet the Stans is a four-part BBC Two and BBC World series on Central Asia, written and presented by Reeve. In the series Reeve travelled from the far north-west of Kazakhstan, by the Russian border, east to the Chinese border, south through Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the edge of Afghanistan and west to Uzbekistan and the legendary Silk Road cities of Samarkand and Bukhara. It was broadcast on the BBC in 2003, and internationally during 2004 and 2005.[9][10][11]

House of Saud (also broadcast as: Saudi: The Family in Crisis) (2004)[edit]

A one-off BBC Two and BBC World documentary filmed inside Saudi Arabia, written and presented by Reeve. The journey took Reeve across Saudi Arabia, from the cities of Jeddah and Riyadh to the vast Empty Quarter desert. Participants ranged from Saudi princes and Islamic militants, to teenage girls and Osama bin Laden's former best friend. It was broadcast in 2004.[12][13]

Places That Don't Exist (2005)[edit]

Places That Don't Exist was Reeve's 2005 award-winning five-part series on breakaway states and unrecognised nations, broadcast on BBC Two and broadcasters internationally. Among the countries Reeve visited for this series were Somaliland, Transnistria (where Reeve was detained for 'spying' by the FSB[14]), Nagorno-Karabakh, Ajaria, South Ossetia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Somalia, Moldova and Taiwan. He also visited Mogadishu, one of the most dangerous cities in the world.[15]

Equator (2006)[edit]

Equator is a three-part BBC documentary first broadcast in September 2006 in which Reeve followed the Equator around the world. Among the places he visited were some of the most dangerous regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Colombia. The series was the Silver Award winner at the 2007 Wanderlust Travel Awards.[16] Reeve contracted malaria while filming this series.[17]

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Simon Reeve in Equator

Tropic of Capricorn (2008)[edit]

Tropic of Capricorn is a four-part 2008 BBC documentary series in which Reeve tracked the southern edge of the tropics region around the world. The series, and the accompanying book, also written by Reeve, outlined his journey through Southern Africa, Madagascar, Australia and across South America. Reeve crossed the Andes Mountains, the Namib, Kalahari and Atacama deserts.[18]

Explore (2009)[edit]

A four-part series for BBC Two broadcast from 25 January to 15 February 2009 in the UK. Leading a team of reporters in journeys of discovery to some of the most colourful and intense locations on earth, Explore blended travel with current affairs. The tag line for the series was "Don't just visit... Explore!" Programmes include: Patagonia to the Pampas, Africa's Great Rift Valley, Istanbul to Anatolia and Manila to Mindanao. Issues covered in the series range from forced farming to global fashion retailers, World Heritage rice terraces to dwindling honey industries, extreme hunger to extreme football. The visit to Manila included a special interview with Imelda Marcos in which she unwittingly shared a document with Reeve which showed that her late husband, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, had holdings worth $US937 billion deposited with a bank in Brussels. Imelda immediately tried to salvage the gaffe but it was already caught on camera.

Tropic of Cancer (2010)[edit]

A six-part television series in which Reeve travelled around the Tropic of Cancer, the northern border of the Earth's tropical region. After travelling around the Tropic of Capricorn and Equator, this series completed Reeve's trilogy of journeys exploring the tropics.[19] Starting on the Pacific coast of Mexico, Reeve followed the Tropic of Cancer almost 37,000 kilometres. The journey took him through 18 countries, ranging from Mexico and Mauritania, to Bangladesh and the Bahamas.[19][20] The first episode aired on 14 March 2010. The series was broadcast on BBC TV in the UK, by broadcasters in more than 40 countries and by BBC World News globally.

Indian Ocean (2012)[edit]

In this six-part BBC TV series – broadcast during 2012 – Reeve travelled around the edge of the Indian Ocean.[21]

Australia with Simon Reeve (2013)[edit]

In the first episode of this three-part BBC Two TV adventure series Reeve travelled from the 'Red Centre' of Australia south to the wine region, then west to Perth. In the second, he travelled across the remote and wild north to the Great Barrier Reef, and the third took him down the east coast to the cities of Sydney and Melbourne.[22][23]

Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve (2013)[edit]

The series was broadcast in three parts on BBC Two in December 2013. In three episodes Reeve travelled through Europe to the Holy Land in Israel. He retraced the route of ancient pilgrims.

Tea Trail/Coffee Trail with Simon Reeve (2014)[edit]

In The Tea Trail, Reeve travels from Mombasa, Kenya, and a tea auction, before taking the train to Nairobi and on into western Kenya visiting colonial plantations before crossing into Uganda, heading to Toro exploring the issue of child labour.

On The Coffee Trail in Vietnam, Reeve heads south from Hanoi on the Reunification Express to Huế, where he visits the Khe Sanh Combat Base, before driving through coffee plantations to Buon Ma Thuot, meeting a coffee billionaire (Dang Le Nguyen Vu). He then also meets up with Dave D'Haeze discussing the many problems of the growing of coffee in Vietnam, especially deforestation, and bad agricultural methods (monoculture plantations, overuse of fertiliser, overuse of water, additional problems due to climate change). He then travels to the Yok Don National Park and the rainforest, before finally arriving at a container port in Ho Chi Minh City, via Bangkok where he meets some human rights activists. Here, he meets Will Frith who discusses the future of growing coffee in Vietnam.[24]

Sacred Rivers with Simon Reeve (2014)[edit]

This series was broadcast in three parts in October on BBC Two. In the first episode, Reeve heads to the River Nile. In the second episode, he visits the River Ganges in India, and explores its cultural values and what it means to the people of India. The third episode is based on the River Yangtze in China. The series has been released as a region 2 DVD, simply called Sacred Rivers.

Caribbean with Simon Reeve (2015)[edit]

This three-part series was broadcast in spring 2015 on BBC Two. In the first, Reeve explores Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the United States' territory of Puerto Rico, while in the second, he visits Barbados, St Vincent and the Caribbean coastlines of Venezuela and Colombia. His final leg sees him travel up the Caribbean coast of Central America, including Honduras, before ending in Jamaica.

Ireland with Simon Reeve (2015)[edit]

In a two-part series broadcast on BBC Two in November 2015, Reeve explores the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, examining the island's rich history, culture and beliefs, but also its complex and troubled past.

Greece with Simon Reeve (2016)[edit]

In this two-part series broadcast on BBC Two in February 2016, Reeve visits the islands of Kos, Lesbos and Crete, and the capital city of Athens, while also travelling from the Peloponnese peninsula in the south to the mountainous northern regions of Greece.

Turkey with Simon Reeve (2017)[edit]

In this two-part series broadcast on BBC Two in March and April 2017, Reeve visits Turkey, with highlights including Ankara, Istanbul, the Taurus Mountains and the Black Sea.

Colombia with Simon Reeve (2017)[edit]

Simon Reeve travels to Cartagena, Bogotá, Medellin and the jungles of the west coast.

Russia with Simon Reeve (2017)[edit]

This three-part series was first broadcast in September and October 2017 on BBC Two. It sees Simon Reeve travel across Russia, starting in Kamchatka and ending in Saint Petersburg. In the first episode Reeve finds out about indigenous cultures, the influence exerted by China in Vladivostok, conservation and climate change. He also finds himself being watched by the police.[25] The second episode begins at Lake Baikal, followed by a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Over the course of the episode, Reeve meets Cossacks, a man claiming to be the re-incarnated Christ, tightrope walkers and Tuvan throat singers, among others.[26] Episode three sees Reeve finish his journey in the west of the country, investigating the repercussions of the Russian annexation of Crimea and visiting Moscow, Saint Petersburg and villages in between.[27]

Burma with Simon Reeve (2018)[edit]

Simon Reeve visits Burma, or Myanmar as it is now officially called, in this two-part series. Cut off for decades under military rule, the country now has a democratically elected government led by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mediterranean with Simon Reeve (2018)[edit]

Simon's travels start in Malta where he follows the dirty trail of money laundering and the murder of outspoken anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Then on to Sicily to meet policemen investigating the 'Ndrangheta. He visits Matera and meets a boy, the victim of a blood feud in Shkodra. He visits the Lebanon-Israel border as well as Gaza, Libya and Tunisia. He meets Moroccan women trading across the Morocco-Spain border in Ceuta, meets migrants in the Rif Mountains and in Almeria. His trip finishes in Monte Carlo.

The Americas with Simon Reeve (2019)[edit]

Simon travels the length of the American continent. In the first part he journeys from Alaska to Costa Rica in a five-part BBC documentary series.


Reeve's books have been translated into over 20 languages.[28]

The New Jackals[edit]

While working as an investigative writer, Reeve began studying the 1993 World Trade Center bombing just days after the attack. His research formed the basis for a book, The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the future of terrorism, published in the UK and USA in 1998. The New Jackals was the first book on bin Laden.[29]

As he researched the book, Reeve traced and interviewed bin Laden supporters and senior FBI, CIA and Asian intelligence officials and also had clandestine meetings with spies and militants.[30]

Classified information cited by Reeve detailed the existence, development and aims of the terrorist group al-Qaeda. The book warned that al-Qaeda was planning huge attacks on the West, and concluded that an apocalyptic terrorist strike by the group was almost inevitable. It has been a New York Times and international best-seller,[31] and in the three months after the 9/11 attacks it was one of the top three best-selling books in the United States.[32] The book has been translated into several languages.[30]

After the September 11 attacks, Reeve became a regular commentator and reference source on the emerging terror threat. He has been quoted in The New York Times' warning that al-Qaeda was moving "far beyond being a terrorist organisation to being almost a state of mind. That's terribly significant because it gives the movement a scope and longevity it didn't have before 9/11."[33]

One Day in September[edit]

One Day in September was published in 2000 and deals with the Munich massacre and subsequent events like the hijacking of Lufthansa Flight 615 and the covert Israeli retaliation operation dubbed Wrath of God. The book outlines the siege and the massacre during the 1972 Summer Olympics, in which 11 Israeli athletes and officials were murdered by Palestinian group Black September, and also focuses on the aftermath.[34] The accompanying documentary film of the same name, directed by Kevin Macdonald, won the Academy Award for Documentary Feature in 2000 and was screened in cinemas around the world.

Tropic of Capricorn[edit]

Tropic of Capricorn: circling the world on a southern adventure was written to accompany the television series of the same name.

Outlook on life and existence[edit]

Reeve, after his extensive travels, declares himself a member of the “Human Being Fan Club" and has said "There is much more light in the world than darkness."[35]

Personal life[edit]

Reeve is married to Anya Reeve (née Courts), a TV camerawoman and campaigner who has stood as a Green party candidate.[36] Anya's father is David Courts, a prominent jeweller,[37]

In his early life Reeve experienced anger issues and disagreements in his family. He suffered from depression in his early teens, coming close to a suicide attempt. As a result, he is seeking to develop and maintain good communication with his own son.[38]

Reeve is 6 feet 3 inches tall.[39][40]


  • The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the future of terrorism. The book was published in the US and UK in 1998 and 1999.
  • One Day in September: the full story of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre and the Israeli revenge operation 'Wrath of God',
  • Tropic of Capricorn. BBC Books. 6 February 2008. ISBN 978-1-84607-440-0.
  • Step by Step: The Life in My Journeys. Hodder & Stoughton. 2018.


  1. ^ "". Archived from the original on 11 March 2007.
  2. ^ "2012 medals and awards". 2 February 2014. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  4. ^ Wilkinson, Carl (1 May 2005). "On the road to nowhere". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  5. ^ Productions, Shootandscribble. "WELCOME".
  6. ^ Deeley, Laura (12 May 2007). "A real globetrotter". The Times. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  7. ^ "Home - GSK UK".
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Reeve, Simon (29 September 2003). "Meet the Stans". BBC News. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  10. ^ Productions, Shootandscribble. "Guardian Article".
  11. ^ "CBC: Correspondent – December 20, 2004". Archived from the original on 7 August 2007.
  12. ^ Productions, Shootandscribble. "House of Saud".
  13. ^ "Saudi: The Family in Crisis". BBC News. 8 July 2004. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  14. ^ Tryhorn, Chris (7 September 2004). "BBC journalists held by Russians". The Guardian. London.
  15. ^ Productions, Shootandscribble. "Places That Don't Exist".
  16. ^ Productions, Shootandscribble. "Equator".
  17. ^ "Home - GSK UK".
  18. ^ "Tropic of Capricorn". BBC News. 10 March 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  19. ^ a b "BBC - Error 404 : Not Found".[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ Productions, Shootandscribble. "Tropic of Cancer".
  21. ^ Productions, Shootandscribble. "Indian Ocean".
  22. ^ "BBC - Australia With Simon Reeve - Media Centre".
  23. ^ "Australia".
  24. ^ Summers, Chris (25 January 2014). "How Vietnam became a coffee giant" – via
  25. ^ "Russia With Simon Reeve". BBC Media Centre. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  26. ^ "Russia With Simon Reeve: Episode Two". BBC Two. British Broadcasting Corporation. 5 October 2017. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  27. ^ Catterall, Ali (12 October 2017). "Thursday's best TV: An Hour to Catch a Killer; Russia with Simon Reeve". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  28. ^ Official website
  29. ^ "Australia with Simon Reeve - Simon Reeve - BBC Two".
  30. ^ a b Productions, Shootandscribble. "The New Jackals".
  31. ^ "BEST SELLERS: November 18, 2001". 18 November 2001 – via
  32. ^ Productions, Shootandscribble. "ABOUT SIMON".
  33. ^ Shane, Scott (11 August 2006). "Scale and Detail of Plane Scheme Recall Al Qaeda". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  34. ^ "Interview with Simon Reeve". 22 August 2000. Archived from the original on 28 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  35. ^ "Simon Reeve interview: 'There is much more light in the world than darkness'". The Independent. 7 May 2018.
  36. ^ "Camden News: Anya Reeve | Larraine Revah | Linda Chung | Stephen Phillips | Hampstead Town by-election".
  37. ^ David Courts created, with his business partner Bill Hackett, the famous skull ring worn by Keith Richards since the 1970s, among other iconic pieces."Courts and Hackett - Makers of the Keith Richards skull ring". Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  38. ^ Shute, Joe (25 January 2019). "Simon Reeve: My teen mental health torment drove me to the brink" – via
  39. ^ "Simon Reeve". IMDb.
  40. ^ "The World According to Simon Reeve". Wanderlust.

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