What inspired you to start a career in the media?
In 1979 I'd done my degree in ceramics and I suddenly became very aware I couldn't see the world with a potter's wheel. So I went off travelling with a camera and ended up taking some pictures and placing them with an agency. At the same time showbiz in London was taking off and I got into The Sun and have been there ever since.
When you were 15, what was the family newspaper and did you read it?
We occasionally had the Shropshire Star or the (Powys) County Times and I flicked through, but we didn't have a national daily.
What were your favourite TV and radio programmes?
Blue Peter was one of the greatest influences on me . Christmas never really started until they lit the two coat hangers with the four candles and a bit of tinsel.
What media do you turn to in the morning?
I look at the Getty website first thing every morning, to see what's come in overnight from America. Then you're aware what pictures are fighting for space in the showbiz sections of newspapers.
Do you consult any media sources during the working day?
It's always been the red tops for me but if I'm on a long train journey I'll get all the heavies. I watch Sky News a lot. The BBC website is pretty good as well and Sky online. If there's a breaking story, you'll find there'll be 10 of your pictures on the website.
What's the best thing about your job?
I love observing. I travel all round the world and I get incredible access to people. You're at the best events in the world with an access-all-areas pass and you have a better time than the stars sometimes.
And the worst?
When everybody else is coming home from work, you're just going out. After 25 years of doing that you sometimes think: "We don't lead a normal life."
What is the proudest achievement in your working life?
I was one of the official photographers for Live Aid 20 years ago, spent the past year photographing artists that were involved, did the Band Aid Christmas single and then I ended up being the official photographer for Live 8. I did an exhibition at Getty Images' gallery and all the money from the sale of those pictures went to the Band Aid trust. Every newspaper that used a picture [from Live 8] had to pay a minimum of £500. I think £33,000 was invoiced on one day.
And your most embarrassing moment?
Madonna running me over in 1985. It was front page of most national newspapers and The Sun's headline was "Maimed by Madonna". Kelvin [MacKenzie, former Sun editor] wanted to sue for £1m but I said: "If I sue for £1m I'll never work with Madonna again." I've worked with Madonna so many times since!
At home, what do you tune in to?
My wife's side of the bed is Radio 4 in the morning and my side is Radio 1. I need to know what the trends are for the young pop bands I'm working with but Radio 2 creeps in quite often. I love wildlife documentaries but if I'm not working I love soaps - EastEnders and Corrie. It's that instant switch off.
What is your Sunday paper and do you have a favourite magazine?
Probably the News of the World, then The Sunday Times and The Mail on Sunday. Photography-wise I love Vanity Fair. I think it would be great to do a good old-fashioned photo shoot with no expense spared.
Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire
I'd love a big book of 25 years of my pictures with anecdotes - behind every picture there's a funny story. Hogan's Heroes is the working title; it's slightly egotistical but I'd buy it!
If you didn't work in the media, what would you do?
I've got involved in charity work recently with an Aids orphanage in South Africa and I have that dream of doing a year's sabbatical.
Who in the media do you most admire and why?
I came into Fleet Street without the right training and Kelvin MacKenzie gave me my chance. I've worked with some great Bizarre editors; they've all gone on to very strong powerful positions: Piers Morgan, Andy Coulson, Dominic Mohan and it won't be long before Victoria Newton gets snapped up.
1979: Lands on his feet as the Sun's celebrity photographer, just as the genre is taking off
1985: Snaps Bob Geldof dozing with Paula Yates on his "greatest photographic assignment", the original Live Aid concert
1998: Named Nikon Arts & Entertainment Photographer of the Year and receives a British Picture Editors award
2003: Sells his company Mission Studios to Getty Images, assuring greater worldwide distribution, and photographs the 46664 - Give One Minute of your Life to AIDS concert in Cape Town, which benefited the Nelson Mandela Foundation
2005: Helps make poverty history by selling his iconic images of Live Aid and the Band Aid 20th anniversary recording
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