CV: JOHN SUCHET Newscaster, ITN

`There i was on the streets of Paris covering one of the great modern revolutions. I could have stayed in the office but i was always out there, so I knew i wanted to be a news reporter'

I did a social science course at St Andrew's University, and in my final year - 1967 - I still didn't know what I was going to do with myself. But I had two passions - for the news, and for speaking foreign languages. I put the two together and thought, "It's got to be journalism."

I applied to Reuters, Scottish TV and the BBC trainee scheme. The BBC turned me down fairly quickly, and STV turned me down after an interview, but Reuters sent me a little test through the mail to do. It was a sheet of A4 with about 20 or 30 sentences on it, describing a fire on Oxford Street, and the sentences were repetitive, badly written, and inaccurate. I had to turn it into a 250-word news story.

I knocked it off in about five minutes, but when I discussed it with a couple of friends, they had their doubts about what I'd written. But I knew I'd got it right, and sent it off, and after calling me for interview, Reuters gave me a job as a graduate trainee. Ten of us got in out of 2,000 applicants. I was in the main newsroom, and worked on the Middle Eastern desk, then the Africa desk and then the World desk.

The following year, I got a posting to Paris at the time of les evenements. There I was on the streets of Paris, covering one of the great modern revolutions - out at the sharp end only having been in journalism for a year. I was always out there with the TV camera crews - though I could easily have stayed back in the office - and it was then that I knew what I really wanted to do was to be a TV news reporter.

So I left Reuters and applied to BBC TV news, getting in as a writer. When I'd been there for a while, I asked to be a reporter, but they said no, and after a year and a half I applied to ITN, where the structure seemed much less rigid. Again, I went in as a writer, in the summer of 1972, but when I told them I wanted to be a reporter, they said no, too. I gave up trying in the end, but when I'd been there three years, word suddenly went round that they were going to appoint a reporter. I applied, and did a studio camera test thinking I stood no chance, but I got the job and for the next 10 years did what I'd always wanted to do - globetrotting, being a "fireman".

Iran was my first really big story - I covered the revolution after the Shah fled, and I flew in to Tehran with Ayatollah Khomeini, who had been in exile in Paris. Tehran was a really happy place to be at that point - it was a joyous revolution - but six months later, the American hostages were taken at the embassy, and I was back again, this time in an Islamic fundamentalist nation.

The other really big one was Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion, and I got into Afghanistan five times to report on it, three times with me and my crew dressed as mujahedin and having to come in over the mountains from Pakistan. It was very exciting, Boys' Own stuff, though we nearly got killed on a number of occasions, and, looking back, I did some very foolish things. Once, in Kabul, I got my crew and myself put in front of a wall after we were captured filming - and we thought we were in front of a firing squad.

The last major story I did was the Philippines revolution, when Ferdinand Marcos was defeated by Cory Aquino, and I got a Royal Television Society gong for that. I was pleased about that, because not long after, in 1987, ITN took me off the road and made me a newscaster. They were making an international nightly half-hour news bulletin for the new Superchannel, which was just launching, and because it would go out to 16 countries across Europe, they wanted a presenter who spoke to clear English without a regional accent and who could pronounce foreign names.

In the first few years after I stopped being a reporter, I began to wish I was still "out there" - during the Gulf war, for instance. My one regret in my reporting career at ITN was that I was Washington correspondent at the time of the Falklands War, and so was covering the diplomatic end of it in the US when all I really wanted to do was be aboard a British warship in the South Atlantic. But newscasting is exciting too: it's live television, and you get a similar adrenaline rush every single time you hear the countdown through your earpiece. And there are no bullets flying around, and I know what time I'm going to get home at night. I miss reporting, but with a smile on my face.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
News
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

Ashdown Group: Analyst Programmer (Filemaker Pro/ SQL) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days, pension, private medical : Ashdown Group: A highly...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'