Melvyn Bragg

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Melvyn Bragg (born 6 October 1939) is a broadcaster and New Labour peer.

Melvyn Bragg is Controller of Arts at the ITV channel LWT, where he has worked since 1982. [1] He is one of a number of important Labour Party figures who worked at LWT, including Peter Mandelson, Greg Dyke, Trevor Phillips, Gerry Robinson, Charles Leadbetter and Barry Cox (former Chief Executive of the ITV Network Centre).

Barry Cox was Tony Blair's neighbour when he lived in Hackney in the early 1980's. Blair regularly stayed in his house in the South of France before Geoffrey Robinson offered his villa in Tuscany. Barry Cox acted as fundraiser for Blair's campaign for the Leadership of the Labour Party in 1994, raising £79,000. In the previous year LWT executives, including Bragg, Barry Cox and Greg Dyke, made £8.7 million when LWT retained its ITV franchise. Cox and Bragg donated some of this money to Blair's campaign.

Bragg was chairman of Border TV from 1990-95 and is a Governor of the London School of Economics, along with Cherie Blair, Lord Puttnam, Lord Stevenson and Lord Gavron, and where Anthony Giddens (3rd Way guru) is Director and Lord Layard (an adviser to the DfEE, given a peerage in March 2000) is a Professor.

A friend of Tony Blair, the former Labour Prime Minister, in 1998 Bragg was named in a list of the largest private financial donors to the Labour Party.[2]Melvyn Bragg gave £25,000 to the Labour Party in 1997. He was given his peerage in 1998. He gave another £7,500 in 1999. [3]

Career Overview

Profile taken from 'The Guardian' [4]

Born: 6 October 1939 to Stanley and Ethel Bragg, at Wigton, Cumberland
Family: Married French vicomtesse Marie-Elisabeth Roche, 1961 (died 1971), one daughter; and Catherine Mary Haste in 1973, one daughter and one son.
Education: Wigton Primary School and Nelson Thomlinson grammar school, Wigton; Wadham College, Oxford (modern history)
Career: BBC: general traineeship 1961;
  • producer on Monitor 1963, editor BBC 2 1964;
  • presenter and editor, Read All About It (BBC) 1976-77;
  • South Bank Show (ITV) 1978- ;
  • Start the Week (BBC) 1988-1998;
  • Routes of English (BBC) 1999; In Our Time (BBC) 1998- .
  • Head of arts, LWT 1982-1990;
  • deputy chairman, Border Television 1985-90;
  • chairman, Border Television1990-96;
  • Governor LSE 1997-;
  • Chancellor Leeds University 1999-;
  • President MIND 2002-;
  • Occasional contributor: Observer, Sunday Times and Guardian;
  • Weekly column Times 1996-1998


For Want of Nail, 1965;
The Maid of Buttermere, 1987;
Credo, 1996;
The Soldier's Return, 1999;
A Son of War, 2001.


Views on Israel

In November 12, 2000, Bragg stated:

I do not think that ‘need’ is too dramatic a word. The fate of Israel matters beyond its borders. The country has an infinite attraction for those like myself whose childhood was saturated in Christianity and part of whose adolescence was defined in the battle against it. For Christians, Israel is some sort of home.[8]

Bragg also took a prominent position against the proposed academic boycott of Israel in 2007. Bragg was among more than 250 signatories to a national newspaper advert condemning the University and College Union vote to support a boycott of Israeli universities. Bragg, reportedly said:

Like many others who have connections with academics and journalists, I am dismayed by moves for boycotts. The situation in the Middle East is difficult enough without this. It appears that these suggestions come from a very small minority within the associations concerned; that while they take into account the sufferings of Palestinians they fail to understand the legitimate concerns of a democratic Israel and they threaten to annul efforts being made in this country to help resolve a terrible dilemma. Furthermore, they undermine one of the most hard fought for and hard won freedoms in this country - the indivisibility of freedom of speech.[7]

In October 2015, Bragg signed a letter in The Guardian along with more than 150 people drawn from the arts and politics. The letter launched Culture for Coexistence, an organisation that opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.[9]


  1. BBC Radio 4, Presenters: Melvyn Bragg
  2. "Luvvies" for Labour BBC News 30 August 1998
  3. Available through: Red Star Research search function
  4. Steven Morris, The Guardian Profile: Melvyn Bragg, The Guardian, 17 September 2004.
  5. *Friends of the British Library Annual Report 2006/07
  6. Royal society Melvyn Bragg FRS, accessed 10 April 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 Justin Cohen Bragg Joins Boycott Fight, Totally Jewish, Wednesday 13th June 2007.
  8. Melvyn Bragg, The Desert Conscience of Israel, The Guardian, 12 November 2000.
  9. Harriet Sherwood, 'Star authors call for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue rather than boycotts', The Guardian, 22 October 2015, accessed 23 October 2015