Duncan Campbell (journalist, born 1944)

Duncan Campbell (born 1944)[1] is a British journalist and author who has worked particularly on crime issues. He was a senior reporter/correspondent for The Guardian from 1987 until 2010. He is also the author of several books.

Background and personal life

Campbell was educated at the Edinburgh Academy and at Glenalmond College, Perth and Kinross, Scotland.{Glenalmond Register 1950–1985}

Campbell is married to the British actress Julie Christie; they have lived together since 1979,[2] but the date they married is not clear. In January 2008, several news outlets reported that the couple had quietly married in India in November 2007,[3][4] which Christie called "nonsense", adding: "I have been married for a few years. Don't believe what you read in the papers."[5]


Campbell was a copywriter for advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather before he quit in 1971, aged 26, to visit India, and pursue an ambition to become a journalist. Decades later, he turned the experience of the trip into his first novel, The Paradise Trail.[6]

Prior to joining The Guardian, Campbell worked for the London Daily News and City Limits (both defunct), Time Out and LBC Radio.[7] He has also worked on BBC Radio Five Live's Crime Desk programme.[1]

In June 2009, it was announced by The Guardian that Campbell would take voluntary redundancy[8] and he now works as a freelance writer, including for The Guardian.[7]

Campbell is a former chair of the Crime Reporters' Association, for four years in the 1990s,[9] and winner of the Bar Council Legal Reporting Award for Newspaper Journalist of the Year in 1992.[10][11][12]



Campbell is the author of two novels, the first of which, The Paradise Trail, was published in 2008. Set largely in India in 1971, it is partly a murder mystery and partly an affectionate depiction of life on the "hippie trail": the cheap hotels and eating places, the music, the drug-fuelled conversations. According to the reviewer for the Socialist Review: "One impressive aspect of this book is the almost seamless blending of quite mundane events such as cricket matches with serious issues like imperialism, British and Indian politics, and death. Campbell makes important points through his characters without rendering them ridiculous - no mean feat considering the main characters are permanently stoned hippies and a frustrated hotelier. One of the reviews on the back of the book described it as 'a great beach read', but I'd go further than that - it's a great read whether you're on a beach or not."[13] According to The Independent: "Duncan Campbell skilfully traces how the paradise trail upon which these naive hopefuls stumble leads painfully back to the very selves they had hoped to flee."[14]

Campbell's second novel was If It Bleeds (2009), which one reviewer summed up by saying: "What you've got here is a cracking good yarn, told with verve and humour. Can we have a follow-up?"[15]


Campbell has written several nonfiction books, including a history of British crime from the 1930s to the 1990s (The Underworld, 1994 — based on the BBC television series) and That Was Business, This Is Personal (1990 — a series of interviews with criminals and those who pursue them). A Stranger and Afraid (1997) covers the story of Caroline Beale.[16] Campbell's 2016 book We'll All Be Murdered In Our Beds draws on his many years as a crime correspondent;[17][18][19] about which the Evening Standard wrote: "A strong sense of nostalgia runs throughout this zany catalogue of atrocity and achievement",[20] while The Guardian reviewer called the book "by turns amusing, engaging, horrifying and, yes, thoughtful. It is not merely a catalogue of the goriest and most notorious crimes, but a fascinating description of the often corrupt relationship between Fleet Street's finest and the police."[21]


  • Billy Connolly: The Authorized Version (Pan Books, 1976) - biography of Billy Connolly, ISBN 978-0330247672
  • That Was Business, This Is Personal: The Changing Face of Professional Crime (Secker & Warburg, 1990), ISBN 978-0436199905
  • The Underworld (BBC Books, 1994), ISBN 978-0563367932; revised edition (Penguin Books, 1996) ISBN 978-0140257441
  • A Stranger and Afraid: The story of Caroline Beale (Macmillan, 1997), ISBN 978-0333691465
  • The Paradise Trail (The Headline Review, 2008), ISBN 978-0-7553-4245-7, paperback ISBN 978-0-7553-4247-1
  • If It Bleeds (Headline Publishing Group, 2009), ISBN 978-1-84782-874-3, ISBN 978-0-7553-4248-8
  • We'll All Be Murdered In Our Beds: The Shocking History of Crime Reporting in Britain (Elliott & Thompson, 2016), ISBN 978-1783961337
  • The Underworld: The inside story of Britain’s professional and organised crime (Ebury, 2019)


  1. ^ a b "View from elsewhere", The Guardian accessed 20 May 2012.
  2. ^ "Julie Christie Biography". TV Guide.
  3. ^ "Julie Christie marries love of 28 years in secret Indian nuptials", Hello!, 30 January 2008.
  4. ^ "Julie Christie gets married". The Guardian. London. 30 January 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  5. ^ Dimi Gaidatzi (11 February 2008). "Oscar Nominee Julie Christie: I've Been Married for Years". People.com.
  6. ^ Duncan Campbell, The Guardian, 16 July 2008, "How I found myself in India".
  7. ^ a b "Duncan Campbell Profile". The Guardian. London. 1 October 2007. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  8. ^ Brook, Stephen (19 June 2009). "Duncan Campbell and David Hencke among those leaving Guardian". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  9. ^ Duncan Campbell, "The man in the mac: a life in crime reporting", The Guardian, 5 September 2009.
  10. ^ "Duncan Campbell Biography", Andrew Lownie Literary Agency.
  11. ^ "Guardian writers make it an awards hat-trick". Historical Papers Research Archive.
  12. ^ "Cash writer scoops reporting prize", The Observer, 16 October 2005.
  13. ^ Bence, Charlotte (October 2008). "The Paradise Trail". Socialist Review (329).
  14. ^ Sethi, Anita (23 October 2011). "The Paradise Trail, By Duncan Campbell". The Independent.
  15. ^ Wheeler, Sharon (September 2009). "Reviews: If It Bleeds". Reviewing the Evidence.
  16. ^ United Agents, Duncan Campbell, accessed 20 May 2012.
  17. ^ Chris Mullin, "We’ll All Be Murdered in Our Beds: The Shocking History of Crime Reporting in Britain by Duncan Campbell – review", The Observer, 23 May 2016.
  18. ^ Mark Sanderson, "We'll All Be Murdered in Our Beds! by Duncan Campbell - review: How hacks and cops have shown us the real underworld", Evening Standard, 21 April 2016.
  19. ^ Duncan Campbell, "Doing time: confessions of a crime reporter", The Guardian, 23 April 2016.
  20. ^ Sanderson, Mark (21 April 2016). "We'll All Be Murdered in Our Beds! by Duncan Campbell - review". Evening Standard.
  21. ^ Mullin, Chris (23 May 2016). "We'll All Be Murdered in Our Beds: The Shocking History of Crime Reporting in Britain by Duncan Campbell – review". The Guardian.

External links

Other Languages