Media families: 26. The Dimblebys

Richard Dimbleby (broadcaster) begat David and Jonathan (broadcasters), who begat Kate (Carlton TV), Kitty (Daily Mail) and Daniel (TV researcher)

Between them they have covered almost every major public event that has shaped our lives in the past half-century. They have been the chosen conduits for politicians and princes to reveal their personal thoughts to television audiences of millions. And now a third generation of Dimblebys is continuing the family tradition.

The last general election was an apt showcase for the power and influence of the old firm of Dimbleby & Dimbleby. The most media-conscious of contests, where soundbites took precedence over substance, ended with David and Jonathan fighting it out as the respective anchors of BBC and ITV.

The common perception is that the journalistic lineage of the Dimblebys started with Richard, the father of David and Jonathan, who became the BBC's Voice of the Nation. In fact, it stretches back to Jabez Bunting Dimbleby, born to a staunch Methodist family in Hull in 1827, who became a reporter and moved to London. His son, Fred, was proprietor of the Richmond and Twickenham Times by 1896 - a paper of which David Dimbleby later became chairman.

Richard began working for BBC radio news in l936, where he was the first broadcast journalist to report from the scene of the story; he started outside broadcasts and vox pops. In time he was the reassuring voice at the great ceremonies of state. One of his most enjoyable tasks, he said, was to present Panorama, the first forum for serious documentary and debate on television.

David joined the BBC in l960, rising within the corporation from one prestigious job to another, on to Panorama, Question Time and state occasions. Thanks to his newspaper interests, he is now a millionaire.

Jonathan was a later entrant, first joining BBC Bristol, then Thames TV, TV-am, and then back to the BBC. He hosted On the Record for five years, and has hosted Any Questions since l987. He hit the headlines with his documentary The Prince of Wales: An Intimate Portrait, in which the Prince admitted adultery. Thanks to the serialisation rights, he too is a millionaire.

The Dimbleby brothers' partners are also in the media. Jonathan married the journalist and author Bel Mooney, with whom he has two children. David's marriage to the cookery writer Josceline Dimbleby broke up acrimoniously, with Mrs Dimbleby striking out at her husband in the tabloids. The couple have four children. David's new partner is the television producer Belinda Sykes.

One of David's daughters, 20-year-old Kate, is about to launch her television career on a Carlton cabaret show, The Warehouse. "Nothing", she says, "could be more terrifying than finding yourself profiled by one of the Dimbleby brothers."

Daniel, 23, and Kitty, 17, son and daughter of Jonathan and Bel, are also starting out in the media. Daniel is a researcher for an independent television company, Bazal Productions, while Kitty has been writing pieces on the environment. Over the past three years she has had articles published in the Daily Mail, where she is about to begin a work-experience placement.

Daniel has already been the subject of journalistic investigation. He recently cancelled his wedding to Clare Simmonds, daughter of the cartoonist Posy Simmonds, leaving her, according to a newspaper report, "red-eyed ... shocked ... devastated". The newspaper in question? The Daily Mail. Ms Mooney said: "It was upsetting for Kitty, especially as she is meant to be working there. I had to tell her other papers may have done it in a much worse way. It's one of those lessons one has to learn".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

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...

Charter Selection: Graphic Designer, Guildford

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Charter Selection: This renowned and well establish...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas