'Dawn, and as the sun breaks through the piercing chill of night on the plain outside Korem it lights up a biblical famine, now, in the Twentieth Century.' Those words opened Michael Buerk's first report on the Ethiopian famine for the 6 o'clo 'Dawn, and as the sun breaks through the piercing chill of night on the plain outside Korem it lights up a biblical famine, now, in the Twentieth Century.' Those words opened Michael Buerk's first report on the Ethiopian famine for the 6 o'clock news on October 24th 1984. His reports sent shock waves round the world. Hundreds of millions of pounds were raised and millions of lives were saved. The Live Aid concert, a direct consequence of Bob Geldof watching that broadcast, was watched by half the planet.
Michael Buerk has reported on some of the biggest stories in our lifetime: the Flixborough chemical plant fire, the Birmingham pub bombing, Lockerbie. He was in Buenos Aires at the start of the Falklands War; he reported the death throes of apartheid in South Africa.
He has been the face of the BBC flagship evening news for many years and has fronted everything from the popular BBC1 series 999 to the erudite Radio 4 programme The Moral Maze.
He has won every major award and is universally admired and respected for his intelligent and honest journalism.
He is also loved by his colleagues, not least for his wicked sense of humour. His accounts of his first live radio report as a young reporter competing with the town drunk and his producer's solution to the problem of an uncontrollable panel on the Moral Maze are a joy to read.
He also reveals the private Michael Buerk, his bigamist father, his long and happy marriage to Christine, his delight at fatherhood.