Michael Duncan Buerk (born February 18, 1946) is a BBC journalist and newsreader, most famous for his reporting of the Ethiopian famine on 23 October, 1984, which inspired the Band Aid charity record.
Buerk was born in Solihull
, and was educated at Solihull School
, an Independent school
in the West Midlands.
He currently lives in Guildford with his wife, with whom he has twin sons. One of his sons, Roland, survived the South Asian tsunami on Boxing Day, 2004. Earlier in 2004, he had published his autobiography called The Road Taken.
After working for the Bromsgrove Messenger
, South Wales Echo
(where he shared a house with Sue Lawley
), and the Daily Mail
, he joined Radio Bristol
in 1970 before becoming a reporter for BBC News
During the 2001 Oscars Buerk commented live on air that the BBC's Arts Correspondent Rosie Millard was wearing the 'best supporting dress'.
On the BBC's Children in Need
Buerk has performed several times along with an ensemble of BBC News
presenters. In 2004 he dressed in leather to perform Duran Duran
classics; in 2005 he sung the Queen song Bohemian Rhapsody
. He is sometimes imitated by Jon Culshaw
on Dead Ringers
On July 28
, Buerk appeared on a special celebrity version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
with Jennie Bond
to raise money for NCH
, the children's charity. With a combined effort, they raised £64,000. He is also a supporter of the British Red Cross
and in October 2008 came out in support of an Alternate Reality Game
, Traces of Hope, which the charity developed.
Buerk asserted in a Radio Times
interview in August 2005 that the "shift in the balance of power between the sexes" has gone too far and that men are now little more than "sperm donors". In particular, he objected to the many women now in senior positions within the BBC, echoing the outburst the previous year by sacked former Director General, Alasdair Milne
. This was in anticipation of Buerk's 45-minute TV-essay, 'Michael Buerk on What Are Men For?" as part of Five's six-part "Don't Get Me Started!" series, broadcast on Tuesday 23 August 2005. The reaction to "What Are Men For?" was quite severe, criticising in particular Buerk's choices of sympathetic interview subjects, including "an odious chauvinistic farmer" and "a ridiculous Sloane" according to Guardian journalist Sam Wollaston .
Buerk has also criticised some of his colleagues for being overpaid "lame brains".