Kate Adie, the BBC's chief news reporter for 14 years, became one of the most recognisable faces on television as she reported from war zones around the globe. Her reports included coverage of the Iranian Embassy siege in London in 1980, the Gulf War and varying other conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, Albania, Rwanda, China and Sierra Leone.
Adie grew up in Sunderland and, after a degree in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Newcastle, began working with the BBC in 1968 as a studio technician for BBC Radio Durham and then BBC Radio Brighton. She soon moved to BBC Radio Bristol and began producing programmes on farming and the arts. She then moved on again to direct outside television broadcasts for sport and religious programmes.
She took up a post with BBC TV News in London in 1979. At around this point she began covering some overseas stories, but also spent two years as a court correspondent.
The Iranian Embassy siege in London in 1980 changed everything. Adie was the first journalist on the scene and the Special Air Service soon stormed the building. Interrupting coverage of the World Snooker Championships, Adie reported live and unscripted to one of the largest news audiences ever, all while crouching behind a car door for minimal protection.
The story brought her to prominence as one of very few women reporting on difficult and dangerous news events. But this change in career was never sought after. "I never desired to go into war zones," says Adie. "It sort of just happened as part of the job."
In 1989, Adie became the BBC's chief news correspondent and returned to the fore again when informing her audience of the violent suppression of the student uprising in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Major assignments followed in the Gulf War, the former Yugoslavia, the 1994 Rwandan genocide and the British evacuation of foreign nationals from Sierra Leone in 2000.
Along the way Adie won a number of distinguished awards, including three RTS awards, the BAFTA Richard Dimbleby Award and the Broadcasting Press Guild's Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting. She also has honorary degrees from ten universities. She was awarded an OBE in 1993.
Kate Adie is the author of:
- Into Danger: Risking Your Life for Work
- The Kindness of Strangers: The Autobiography
- Nobody's Child
- Corsets to Camouflage: Women and War
- From Our Own Correspondent