Ian is best known as a British journalist, comedian, and editor of the satirical magazine Private Eye, where he is noted for his wit and satire. He has appeared on many radio and television programmes, most notably as a team captain on the BBC current affairs satirical quiz Have I Got News for You.
Ian Hislop was educated at Ardingly College, an independent boarding school, where he became Head Boy, and began his satirical career directing and appearing in revues alongside Nick Newman. Hislop and Newman’s association continued when they attended Oxford University together, later working together at Private Eye and on a number of comedy scriptwriting jobs.
At Oxford he founded and edited the magazine Passing Wind, for which he interviewed Richard Ingrams, who was then editor of Private Eye. Hislop joined the publication immediately after leaving Oxford, and became editor in 1986 upon Ingrams’ departure.
Hislop was also a screenwriter on the 1980s political satire series Spitting Image.
Along with Nick Newman Hislop wrote the BBC Radio 4 series Gush, a satire based on the first Gulf War, in the style of Jeffrey Archer. With Newman he also wrote the family-friendly satirical sitcom My Dad’s the Prime Minister and in the early nineties for the Dawn French vehicle Murder Most Horrid.
He has also presented School Rules, a three-part Channel 4 study on the history of British education; an edition of the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, in which he attempted to trace his genealogy, and Not Forgotten, a four-part series on Channel 4 detailing the impact on British society of the First World War.
Hislop is the only person to have appeared in every episode of Have I Got News for You in its twenty-year history, even filming an episode in the seventh series in spite of suffering from appendicitis.
In 2003 he was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy.
His series on Victorian social reformers, Ian Hislop’s Age of the Do-Gooders, aired on BBC Two beginning on 29 November 2010. His programme on the history of banks, When Bankers were Good, first aired on BBC Two in November 2011, and dealt with famous bankers from history, such as the Rothschilds, the Gurneys and the Lloyds, as well as nineteenth-century philanthropists and reformers such as Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Fry.
Ian is also an Ambassador for The Scout Association.
Ian has developed an excellent reputation on the after dinner circuit with his fascinating speeches and insight into the journalistic industry.