BBC presenter held by police in Zimbabwe

 

A BBC classical music presenter has been arrested and detained in Zimbabwe, a human rights group has said.

Petroc Trelawny is believed to have been compering for free at a Bulawayo music festival when he was arrested for not having a work permit.

Zimbabwe Vigil said Mr Trelawny, who presents classical magazine programme Music Matters, Radio 3's evening topical drive-time show In Tune and Radio 3 Live in Concert, was being held in the nation's capital Harare.

He was taken into custody on Thursday evening and the British Ambassador Deborah Bronnert is believed to have visited him.

Rose Benton, co-ordinator of Zimbabwe Vigil, said she was told about the arrest by relatives in the former Rhodesia.

"He was apparently the only musician without a work permit and that is why they arrested him," she said.

"He has been in police custody in Harare: pretty nasty business.

"Yesterday there was a public holiday. Normally it would take a day to get him out but he will be in until Monday probably."

Mr Trelawny, who lives in central London, was raised and educated in Cornwall. He joined Radio 3 in 1998 having begun his career at BBC Radio Devon as a reporter and presenter, and at the age of 19 hosted the station's major news programming.

Soon after he became one of the nation's youngest newsreaders, presenting bulletins for BBC Plymouth's Spotlight.

Having read the news for British Forces Radio during the first Gulf War, he then joined the network as a presenter in Hong Kong and spent a year broadcasting to the military in what was then still a British colony.

Mr Trelawny was invited to return to London and join Classic FM after a board member of the station heard him at work in Hong Kong.

In 1994 he joined London News Radio, hosting a daily three-hour news-talk magazine where guests included cabinet ministers and senior businessmen alongside Dame Edna and Gore Vidal.

In 1997 he co-presented (with Radio 5 Live's Victoria Derbyshire) the BBC GMR Breakfast Show in Manchester, covering the city's recovery from the IRA bombing and its planning for the Commonwealth Games.

While in Manchester he started anchoring live broadcasts of concerts for Radio 3, joining the station full time the following year and returning to London.

The classical music expert has also featured extensively on BBC2 and BBC4 and contributed to The Spectator, The Irish Times, The Catholic Herald and BBC Music Magazine.

Mr Trelawny is chairman of the Lennox Berkeley Society, a charitable trust promoting performance of the English composer's music.

Mr Trelawny was not attending the event, organised by the Zimbabwe Academy of Music, in any BBC capacity.

A spokesman for the corporation said: "We are aware of the situation and hope it will be resolved as quickly as possible."

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm the detention of a British national on May 24 in Zimbabwe.

"We are providing consular assistance."

PA

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