Martin Bashir is an awarding-winning journalist who hosts his own show on msnbc weekdays at 4 pm ET. Bashir joined NBC News as an msnbc anchor and a correspondent on NBC’s Dateline program in December 2010. He is best known for conducting a series of exclusive interviews and making ground-breaking, landmark documentaries.
He has lived and worked in New York since 2004, when he joined ABC News as co-anchor of Nightline. He has made a number of critically acclaimed documentaries. His first, which featured evidence of steroid abuse by Olympic athletes and included an exclusive interview with BALCO President Victor Conte, provoked the Senate to investigate the use of performance enhancing substances by baseball players and other American sportsmen and women. The BALCO film won an award at this year’s Chicago TV and Film Festival.
In August 2006, in a two hour primetime special, he told the story of The American Imposter, a bail jumper from Florida who lived for more than 16 years as a fake Lord in the United Kingdom. The film contained the only interview with Buckingham who confessed to being Charles Stopford and explained how he managed to create a web of lives that deceived a wife, two children and the British authorities.
His contributions to Nightline include: the confessions of a soldier in Iraq (exclusively interviewed from his prison cell in Kuwait) who has since been sentenced to life imprisonment for the pre-meditated murder of Iraqi civilians - the most authoritative account of the Queens shooting in New York (including exclusive interviews with a victim and a witness) when police fired 50 shots at three unarmed men, killing Sean Bell who was due to be married the following day – and an exclusive interview with legendary baseball player Jose Conseco, who confessed to supplying performance-enhancing drugs to a number of fellow professionals.
His documentary about ‘Glenn’ who, after suffering with terminal cancer, chose to end his life through physician-assisted suicide in the State of Oregon has been nominated for two awards. Last month (May 2008) his documentary on the Sistine Chapel, which marked 500th years since Michelangelo began painting the ceiling frescos, was the highest rated show on ABC - in the 8pm primetime hour - since December last year.
Prior to joining ABC News, and whilst working for the BBC, he conducted his now historic conversation with the late Diana, Princess of Wales, which remains the only interview television with her. He secured an exclusive interview with Louise Woodward who was found guilty of murder – later reduced to involuntary manslaughter - whilst working as an au pair in Boston.
In 1998 he joined ITV and launched a new current affairs program, ‘Tonight’, with a film made about the five youths suspected of murdering the black teenager Stephen Lawrence. The film won the Royal Television Society’s Programme of the Year Award.
In 1999 he made a series of special documentary films about the serial killer Dr Harold Shipman, a programme about the Soho bomber David Copeland, an interview with former Loyalist terrorist Johnny Adair and a major investigation into Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer who was found guilty of murdering a teenage burglar. He secured the only broadcast interview with Tony Martin upon release from prison.
In June 2001 he presented a special three-part ITV documentary series on the subject of Xeno-Transplantation entitled ‘The Organ Farm’. The series revealed how generations of genetically modified pigs have been bred in secrecy and how experiments are ongoing to see if it might be possible to transplant animal organs into human bodies. The series won two awards at the New York Film and Television Festival.
In the wake of terrorist attacks in the US on 9/11, Martin Bashir reported and presented an ITV special entitled ‘A Day in September’ which comprised a detailed account of the 11th September. The film was given special commendation by the Independent Television Commission which regulates ITV and nominated for a Royal Television Society Award.
In 2002 he reported and produced a special documentary featuring the parents of conjoined twins Jodie and Mary Attard and a follow-up with Jodie herself as she recovered and returned to Malta. This film featured the ethical dilemma of allowing one twin to die so that one could live and included interviews with the medical team which carried out the complex surgery. This documentary was also shown around the world.
He accompanied British backpacker Joanne Lees on her return to Australia for an ITV documentary, which focussed on the abduction and disappearance of Miss Lees’ boyfriend Peter Falconio and was broadcast in March 2002. The Australian authorities charged the prime suspect with Falconio’s murder and he was found guilty in November 2006.
In 2003 his documentary Living with Michael Jackson featured exclusive and extraordinary access to one of the biggest stars of the modern musical world and was broadcast in over 60 international territories. The film was nominated for a BAFTA award (the UK equivalent of an Oscar). This programme was followed by Who Wants to be a Millionaire: A Major Fraud; a film about Major Charles Ingram and his wife Diana who were found guilty of cheating their way to the top prize on the British version of this international quiz show. It achieved the biggest audience for any factual programme in the UK since 1997 and was, again, broadcast around the world.
In addition, he has a won a number of other awards for his work including three BAFTA nominations, five Royal Television Society Awards and two Broadcasting Press Guild awards and has collected a BAFTA award for his interview with the late Princess Diana. He was the Royal Television Society’s Journalist of the Year in 1996. In 1998 he was voted Journalist of the Year by the BBC’s International Awards. In 1999 he was honoured twice at the Houston Film and Television Awards for current affairs documentaries.
In April 2000 his interviews with the five youths suspected of murdering Stephen Lawrence was given the Royal Television Society’s most prestigious accolade – it won Programme of the Year. The same programme also received a BAFTA nomination. His series on Xeno-Transplantation has won a range of awards this year including a Silver World Medal at the New York TV Programming and Promotion Festival and two of the three programmes collected awards at the 49th Columbus International Film and Video Festival in Ohio. In 2003 his work contributed to ITV’s Tonight programme winning Programme of the Year for the second time at the Royal Television Society’s Awards ceremony in London. He has now won the RTS’ Programme of the Year Award an unprecedented three times in four years. And this year, as previously mentioned, his first documentary for ABC, about the BALCO steroids scandal, was honoured at the Chicago TV and Film Festival.
His distinguished career has involved work on a wide range of television and radio programmes including Panorama, Public Eye, The Midnight Hour, the education series Just One Chance, Sunday and Pick of the Week. He has written for a variety of publications including The Financial Times, The Sunday Times, The Standard, The Sunday Express, The Tatler and a sports column in The Observer newspaper.
Outside of his work as a factual programmes reporter, he featured as himself in a British movie called ‘Mike Bassett – England Manager’ released in September 2001. A comedy about the trials and tribulations of a newly appointed England soccer manager, starring Ricky Tomlinson and Amanda Redman, was presented and reported as single documentary in the style of ‘Spinal Tap’.
Born in 1963, he completed a first degree in English and Post-graduate research at Kings College in London before starting work as a journalist in 1986. He is married with three children, has been a keen sportsman and plays the electric bass and will release his first album, ‘Bass Lion’, in December 2010. He supports the work of Charley’s Fund, a charitable organisation which is seeking to find a cure for Muscular Dystrophy (he had a brother who died from the condition).