Tim Sebastian

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Tim Sebastian (born 13 March 1952)[1] is a television journalist and novelist. He is the moderator of Conflict Zone[2] and The New Arab Debates,[3] broadcast on Deutsche Welle. He previously worked for the BBC, where he hosted The Doha Debates[4] and was the first presenter of HARDtalk.[5] He also presented Bloomberg TV's The Outsider, an India-focused debating programme.[6][7]

He won the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Richard Dimbleby award in 1981[8] and Britain's prestigious Royal Television Society Interviewer of the Year award in 2000 and 2001.[1]


Sebastian was born London, England. He was educated at Westminster School, a fee-paying independent school in Central London. He holds a BA degree in Modern Languages from New College, Oxford and speaks both German and Russian.[1] He has a Diploma in Journalism Studies from Cardiff University, graduating in 1974.


Sebastian began his journalism career at Reuters in 1974, moving to the BBC as foreign correspondent in Warsaw in 1979.[9] He became BBC's Europe correspondent in 1982, for Moscow in 1984 (until his expulsion from the USSR in 1985[9]) and then for Washington from 1986 to 1989.[10]

Sebastian has worked for The Mail on Sunday, and has contributed to The Sunday Times.


Memorable Hard Talk interviews[11] with world leaders included US Presidents Bill Clinton[12]],[12] Donald Trump[13]] and Jimmy Carter,[14] Archbishop Desmond Tutu,[15] Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew,[16] and the last leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev.[17] He now hosts Conflict Zone, a one-on-one interview show on Deutsche Welle's international English-language channel.

In March 2016, he interviewed the leader of the German party AfD, Frauke Petry.[18]

Debate moderator[edit]

Sebastian is a frequent moderator of major conferences, seminars and forums across the globe.

He was the Chairman of The Doha Debates, a Qatar Foundation programme that was broadcast monthly on BBC World News where it was the highest-rated weekend programme. The Debates were founded by Sebastian in 2004 and their fifth series began in September 2008.

Following the political and social unrest in Egypt and Tunisia in early 2011, Tim Sebastian founded The New Arab Debates,[19] which have been held in Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan and were broadcast on Deutsche Welle English[20] as well as regional television channels. The debates are also held in Arabic and hosted by Egyptian TV presenter Mai El Sherbiny.


In 1982, Sebastian was awarded the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Richard Dimbleby Award and was named Television Journalist of the Year by the Royal Television Society. Additionally he has twice won the Royal Television Society's Interviewer of the Year Award for his HARDtalk interviews.



  • Nice Promises: Tim Sebastian in Poland (1985)
  • I Spy in Russia (1986)


  • The Spy in Question (1988)
  • Spy Shadow (1989)
  • Saviour's Gate (1991)
  • Exit Berlin (1992)
  • The Memory Church (1993)
  • Last Rights (1993)
  • Special Relations (1994)
  • War Dance (1995)
  • Ultra (1997)


  1. ^ a b c "The man with all the questions". BBC. 4 July 2002. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  2. ^ "Political interviews by Tim Sebastian & Michel Friedman | DW". DW.COM.
  3. ^ Medien, Ahmed (21 October 2011), "Tim Sebastian Launches "New Arab Debates"", tunisia-live.net, Tunisia Live, archived from the original on 31 March 2016, retrieved 20 November 2011
  4. ^ Mendenhall, Preston (22 February 2005), Another revolution in the land of Al-Jazeera, NBC News, retrieved 14 September 2011
  5. ^ "A look ahead..." BBC. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  6. ^ Mendenhall, Preston (25 August 2012), The Outsider, MSNBC
  7. ^ "The Outsider website". Archived from the original on 26 December 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Television Nominations 1981". BAFTA. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  9. ^ a b Shivdasani, Menka (17 April 2000), "Behind Those Interviews", Business Line, Madras, archived from the original on 5 October 2012, retrieved 14 September 2011
  10. ^ Church, Michael (31 December 2002), "Tim Sebastian: 'It's not a social event'", The Independent, London, retrieved 14 September 2011[dead link]
  11. ^ "Memorable interviews". Archived from the original on 15 August 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Interview Bill Clinton". Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Donald Trump, 1998 - BBC HARDtalk" – via www.youtube.com.
  14. ^ "Jimmy carter". BBC News. 12 December 2002.
  15. ^ "Interview Archbishop Desmond Tutu". Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Mr Lee Kuan Yew's interview with Mr Tim Sebastian on BBC HARDTalk". YouTube. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Mikhail Gorbachev". BBC News. 30 September 2004.
  18. ^ "Conflict Zone 23.03.16: Interview with Frauke Petry". Archived from the original on 28 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "The New Arab Debates | DW". DW.COM.

External links[edit]