John was, until his retirement from ITN, one of the country's best known television newscasters. Before becoming a newscaster John was a reporter for ITN, covering major events around the world. He has been honoured for both roles: Television Journalist of the Year 1986, and Television Newscaster of the Year 1996.
John began his career with Reuters news agency. After a brief spell with BBC TV News, he joined ITN in August 1972, intending to return to the BBC after a year. He stayed at ITN for the rest of his career.
Away from the news, John's great passion is the life and work of Beethoven. He began writing the story of the great composer's life in 1990. It was published in three volumes, as a trilogy.
John spends much of his time travelling around the UK giving talks about Beethoven, accompanied by his own group of musicians. He has performed in more than 100 theatres, as well as Britain's major concert halls. He has also given his talk at an international symposium in Beethoven's home city, Vienna.
Now that he has retired from ITN, John is able to devote more time to his Beethoven talks, as well as further talks on the musical history of Vienna, and his years as a television newsman.
He continues to broadcast regularly on TV and on radio.
In 2000 John was appointed Honorary Doctor of Laws by his old university, the University of Dundee. In 2001 the Royal Academy of Music appointed him Honorary Fellow in recognition of his work on Beethoven, and in 2003 he was elected onto the Academy's Governing Body.
John's interest in Beethoven has led him to take an active role in promoting the welfare of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. He is President of the charity Hearing Concern, and is Patron of STAGETEXT, which captions theatre for people with impaired hearing.