Kate Adie

Kate Adie
Adie at the Gibraltar International Literary Festival in 2017
Born (1945-09-19) 19 September 1945
Whitley Bay, Northumberland, England
Alma mater University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Occupation Journalist
Notable credit(s) Chief News Correspondent for BBC News

Richard Dimbleby Award (1990)

Fellowship Award (2018)

Kathryn Adie, CBE, DL (/ˈdi/; born 19 September 1945) is an English journalist. Her most high-profile role was that of chief news correspondent for BBC News, during which time she became well known for reporting from war zones around the world. She currently presents From Our Own Correspondent on BBC Radio 4.


Adie was born in Whitley Bay, Northumberland.[2] She was adopted as a baby by a Sunderland pharmacist and his wife, John and Maud Adie,[3] and grew up there.

She had an independent school education at Sunderland Church High School, and then studied at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, where she obtained a degree in Scandinavian Studies and starred in several Gilbert and Sullivan productions.

Adie is a fan of Sunderland AFC.[4]


Her career with the BBC began as a station assistant at BBC Radio Durham, then she became a producer for Radio Bristol. She then switched to television, directing outside broadcasts. She was a reporter for regional TV News in Plymouth and Southampton, and joined the national news team in 1976.

Her big break was the London Iranian Embassy siege in 1980.[5] As that evening's duty reporter, Adie was first on the scene as the Special Air Service stormed the embassy. The BBC interrupted coverage of the World Snooker Championships and Adie reported live and unscripted to one of the largest news audiences ever whilst crouched behind a car door.

Adie was thereafter regularly dispatched to report on disasters and conflicts throughout the 1980s, including the American bombing of Tripoli in 1986 (her reporting of this was criticised by the Conservative Party Chairman Norman Tebbit), and the Lockerbie bombing of 1988. She was promoted to Chief News Correspondent in 1989 and held the role for fourteen years. One of her first assignments was to report the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Major assignments followed in the Gulf War, the war in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and the war in Sierra Leone in 2000.

In 2003 Adie withdrew from front-line reporting. She currently works as a freelance journalist (among other work she gives regular reports on Radio New Zealand) and also as a public speaker, and presents From Our Own Correspondent on BBC Radio 4. She hosted two five-part series of Found, a Leopard Films production for BBC One, in 2005 and 2006. The series considered the life experiences of adults affected by adoption and what it must be like to start one's life as a foundling.[6] She is of Irish descent.[7]

Her close-to-the-action approach once caused her to be shot at by an "irate Libyan". The shot nicked her collar bone but she did not suffer permanent harm. Indeed, it was this approach that elicited the wry adage that "a good decision is getting on a plane at an airport where Kate Adie is getting off".

While she was in Yugoslavia, her leg was injured in Bosnia, and she also met Radovan Karadžić while there.[8]

Adie is also a best-selling author;

In 2002 she published her autobiography, The Kindness of Strangers.
In 2003 Corsets to Camouflage: Women and War was published.
In 2005 Nobody's Child, which covers the history of foundling children and questions of identity.
In 2008 Into Danger: People Who Risk Their Lives for Work.
In 2013 Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One.

In 2017 Adie was one of the speakers at the Gibraltar International Literary Festival.[9]

Awards and honours

Charitable Associations

In 2017 Adie was appointed as Ambassador for SSAFA, the UK’s oldest military charity.[19] Adie is currently also an ambassador for SkillForce[20] and the non-governmental organisation Farm Africa.[21]


  • The Kindness of Strangers, autobiography published by Headline, ISBN 0-7553-1073-X
  • Corsets to Camouflage: Women and War, published by Coronet, ISBN 0-340-82060-8
  • Nobody's Child, published by Hodder & Stoughton, ISBN 0-340-83800-0
  • Into Danger, published by Hodder & Stoughton, (first ed.), September 2008, ISBN 0-340-93321-6
  • Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One, published by Hodder & Stoughton, September 2013, ISBN 978-1-4447-5967-9


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