Samira Ahmed
Ahmed in 2016
Born (1968-06-15) 15 June 1968 (age 53)
London, England[1]
Alma materSt Edmund Hall, Oxford
City University, London
OccupationJournalist, documentarian and news presenter Edit this at Wikidata

Samira Ahmed (born 15 June 1968)[2] is a British journalist, writer and broadcaster at the BBC, where she has presented Radio 3's Night Waves and Radio 4's PM, The World Tonight, Sunday and Front Row and has presented the Proms for BBC Four.[3]

Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent and for The Spectator magazine's Arts Blog. She was a reporter and presenter on Channel 4 News from 2000 to 2011. She presented Sunday Morning Live, a topical discussion programme on BBC One from 2012 to 2013.

Early life

Ahmed was born in Wandsworth[4] to Athar[5] and Lalita (née Chatterjee, born 1939, Lucknow)[6] Ahmed. Her mother is a TV presenter, actor, chef and writer on Indian cookery[7] who previously worked for the Hindi service of the BBC World Service in Bush House as well as All India Radio in India.[8] Samira attended Wimbledon High School, an independent day school for girls, and edited the school magazine.[9][10]

Ahmed read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, which made her an honorary fellow in 2019.[11] While an undergraduate she edited Isis and the Union magazines, both Oxford University student publications,[12] and won the Philip Geddes Journalism Prize for her work on student newspapers.[13] After graduation she completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Newspaper Journalism at City University, London.[14] She recalls that Lucy Mathen, the first female Asian reporter on BBC television,[15] who worked on John Craven's Newsround, was an inspirational figure for her, as was broadcaster Shyama Perera,[14] who was working in Fleet Street at around the same time.[16]

Journalism career

Ahmed talks with Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Giles Fraser and Adam Rutherford at Conway Hall.

Ahmed became a BBC news trainee in 1990. After two years on attachments, she began to work as a network radio reporter in 1992 on such programmes as Today. Fearful her short BBC contract would not be renewed after a mishap in a difficult situation,[17] Ahmed applied for, and was taken on, by BBC World for work as a presenter, which led to her becoming a reporter for Newsnight.[3][18] She was the BBC's Los Angeles correspondent during 1996–97 and filed reports on the O. J. Simpson civil trial.[3][19]

Ahmed briefly worked for Deutsche Welle in Berlin as an anchor and political correspondent, but then returned for a brief spell with BBC World and as a night shift presenter for BBC News 24 before taking maternity leave.[18]

Ahmed joined Channel 4 News in April 2000, and became a presenter in July 2002. In June 2011 Ahmed left Channel 4, and went freelance.[20]

In 2009 she won Broadcaster of the Year at the annual Stonewall Awards for her special report on "corrective rape" of lesbian women in South Africa.[21] The report was made after ActionAid contacted her about their campaign against homophobic crime.[22] She won the BBC's Celebrity Mastermind, with a specialist round on Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the Little House on the Prairie books, in December 2010. Again, in 2019 Ahmed won the Celebrity Mastermind Champion of Champions, she wore a Space 1999 costume.[22][23]

Since October 2011, she has been a regular newspaper reviewer on Lorraine.[6] From June 2012 to November 2013 she presented the third and fourth series of Sunday Morning Live on BBC One.[12] In October 2012, Ahmed succeeded Ray Snoddy as presenter of Newswatch on the BBC News Channel.[24]

She is a Visiting Professor of Journalism at Kingston University and a regular contributor to The Big Issue.[25]

In September 2019 she interviewed Margaret Atwood about the novelist's new book The Testaments at the National Theatre, which was simulcast to more than 1,000 cinemas around the world as part of National Theatre Live.[26]

In June 2020, BBC Four aired Art of Persia, a three-part study of the history and culture of Iran.[27]

In November 2021, Ahmed interviewed Paul McCartney and poet Paul Muldoon about their book 'The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present' at the Royal Festival Hall.

Equal pay tribunal

Ahmed filed legal proceedings against the BBC under the Equality Act 2010 in October 2019.[28] The London Central Employment Tribunal unanimously found in her favour on 10 January 2020.[29][30] On 24 February 2020 it was announced that a settlement had been reached with the BBC, but no figure for this was made public.[31]

Personal life

Ahmed is married to Brian Millar.[5] The couple live in London and have a son and a daughter.[32]


  1. ^ Cubbin, Sophie (22 January 2019). "Journalist Samira Ahmed awarded honorary doctorate". City, University of London.
  2. ^ Samira Ahmed at IMDb Edit this at Wikidata
  3. ^ a b c "Samira Ahmed". BBC Newswatch. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Birth record"
  5. ^ a b "Ahmed, Samira". Who's Who (UK). Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Lalita Ahmed". IMDb.
  7. ^ "Celebrity Masterchef: Its part in my downfall". Samira Ahmed: Journalist, Writer, Broadcaster. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  8. ^ "Samira Ahmed: My Life in Media". The Independent. 13 August 2007. Archived from the original on 22 May 2009.
  9. ^ "Wimbledon High". Tatler Schools Guide 2020. Condé Nast Publications. 21 December 2019.
  10. ^ "Doing the groundwork". Verve – the Annual Magazine for the GDST Alumnae Network (16/17): 10–11. 7 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Five Honorary Fellows Sworn in at St Edmund Hall". St Edmund Hall, Oxford. 16 October 2019.
  12. ^ a b About Samira Ahmed.
  13. ^ Past Lecturers Archived 4 August 2012 at Philip Geddes Memorial Fund.
  14. ^ a b Rabiah Malik, Samira Ahmed Archived 11 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Chick and Quill, City University alumni website, 23 February 2011.
  15. ^ Samira Ahmed, "Newsround, racism and me", The Guardian, 29 September 2011.
  16. ^ Shyama Perera, "How I have come to love the flag", The Independent, 4 June 2006.
  17. ^ Ahmed, Samira (3 December 2003). "My Greatest Mistake: Samira Ahmed, presenter, Channel 4 News". The Independent. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  18. ^ a b Harris, Rob; Ahmed, Samira (14 March 2005). "How to be... Samira Ahmed". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  19. ^ "Samira Ahmed Biography". Manchester Evening News. 12 January 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  20. ^ Sweney, Mark (6 June 2011). "Samira Ahmed to leave Channel 4". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  21. ^ "2009 winners". Stonewall. Archived from the original on 9 November 2009.
  22. ^ a b Samira Ahmed (30 December 2010). "Celebrity Mastermind: memories of the black leather chair". Channel 4.
  23. ^ Ahmed, Samira (26 November 2010). "Spirit of the frontier". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  24. ^ "Samira Ahmed takes over from Ray Snoddy as Newswatch presenter". Press Gazette. 3 October 2012.
  25. ^ "Presenters". Sunday. BBC Radio 4.
  26. ^ Fraser, Garnet (7 March 2019). "Margaret Atwood interview to air live in cinemas to promote Handmaid's Tale sequel". The Toronto Star. Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  27. ^ "Samira Ahmed - The Art of Persia". BBC Four. 29 June 2020.
  28. ^ "Samira Ahmed takes BBC to court over equal pay". BBC News Online. 21 October 2019. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  29. ^ "Samira second episode in the series reveals how the country has proudly held onto its Persian identity, art and literature to this dayAhmed wins BBC equal pay tribunal". BBC News Online. 10 January 2020. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  30. ^ "Ahmed -v- BBC [pdf]". Courts and Tribunals Judiciary. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  31. ^ "Samira Ahmed reaches settlement with BBC". BBC News Online. 24 February 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  32. ^ Mulley, Laura (18 October 2015). "News presenter Samira Ahmed: As a woman, you'll always be judged on what you wear". The Daily Express. Retrieved 2 August 2019.