Mishal Husain

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Mishal Husain
Husain in 2010
Mishal Husain

(1973-03-12) March 12, 1973 (age 50)
EducationNew Hall, Cambridge
European University Institute
Occupation(s)News presenter, journalist
Notable credit(s)BBC Breakfast
BBC News at Six
BBC News at Ten
BBC Weekend News
The Andrew Marr Show
BBC World News
World News Today
SpouseMeekal Hashmi (m. 2003)

Mishal Husain (born 12 March 1973)[1][2] is a British newsreader and journalist for BBC Television and BBC Radio. She is one of the main presenters of BBC Radio 4's Today, and occasionally appears as a relief presenter on the weekday edition of the BBC News at Ten, and more rarely, the BBC News at Six. She has hosted The Andrew Marr Show, HARDtalk, Impact and BBC Breakfast.

Early life[edit]

Mishal Husain was born on 12 March 1973 in Northampton, England[3][1][4] to Pakistani parents. Her mother was a teacher and former producer for Pakistan Television Corporation, and her father was a urologist.[5] She has a younger brother.[6]

She is the granddaughter of Syed Shahid Hamid,[7] the first Director-General of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence.[8]

Husain attended the British School in Abu Dhabi; the family were also based in Saudi Arabia for a period.[9] Husain returned to England at the age of 12 to continue her education at Cobham Hall School, an independent school in Kent.[3] She read law at New Hall, Cambridge (now Murray Edwards College, Cambridge) followed by a master's degree in International and Comparative Law at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.[10][11]

Journalism career[edit]

Husain gained her first experience in journalism at the age of 18, spending three months as a city reporter in Islamabad, Pakistan, at the English-language newspaper The News. Then, while at university, she did several stints at the BBC as work experience.[11]

Her first job was at Bloomberg Television in London in 1996, where she was a producer and sometime presenter. Two years later, in 1998, she joined the BBC as a junior producer in the newsroom and for the News 24 channel, and then in the Economics and Business Unit. Within a few months, she moved in front of the camera and has since worked in a variety of roles: on the daily Breakfast programme, on Asia Business Report (based in Singapore), and as a presenter of business news on both BBC World News and the BBC News Channel. From September 2002 she was the corporation's Washington correspondent, serving as the main news anchor through the buildup to the invasion of Iraq and during the war. She has interviewed many high-profile figures including Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, Richard Perle, Paul Kagame and Emmerson Mnangagwa.[12]

On 8 May 2010, she published an autobiographical essay in The Independent based on a nostalgia trip to the UAE.[13] In 2011, Husain hosted Impact on BBC World News, but in the spring and summer of 2011 she was engaged in making a documentary on the Arab Spring, for airing in the autumn of 2011. She presents the Sunday evening editions of the BBC Weekend News on BBC One.[10] On 2 December 2011, it was announced that Husain would be part of the BBC's Olympic Presenting team.

On 17 March 2013, she presented the last News at Ten to be broadcast from BBC Television Centre. On 16 July 2013, the BBC's Director-General Lord Hall announced that Husain was to become a presenter of BBC Radio 4's Today programme in the autumn. Husain presented her first edition of Today on 7 October 2013, when her co-presenter was John Humphrys.[14] On 7 November 2013, it was announced that Husain would be part of the BBC's Commonwealth Games Presenting team.[15] Husain is also an occasional relief presenter of the BBC News at Six and the weekday edition of the BBC News at Ten. She has occasionally presented Newsnight on BBC Two.

Husain won the Broadcaster of the Year Award at the London Press Club Awards in 2015.[16]

In 2013, Husain interviewed the Burmese Leader Aung San Suu Kyi. During the intense cross-examination, "Kyi lost her cool following a tense interview". It was claimed Suu Kyi was heard muttering "no one told me I was going to be interviewed by a Muslim".[17]

On 27 November 2017, she recorded an interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.[18]

Other work and awards[edit]

When the first series of Star Spell – a spin-off from Hard Spell that had only appeared before as a one-off episode – aired, Husain appeared as word pronouncer, replacing Nina Hossain. She continued in this role throughout the second series of Hard Spell. Husain appeared in a round of the BBC's Celebrity Mastermind in 2010, coming third out of four. Her specialised subject was the Narnia books of C. S. Lewis.

She is also one of the judges for the Amnesty International Media Awards.[10][19] She featured on a show entitled Gandhi that was broadcast by the BBC in March 2012. She also featured as the morning anchor presenter on BBC One during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.[20]

Husain is an ambassador for the charity Mosaic, which helps young people from deprived communities to realise their talents and potential.[21]

In January 2014, Husain was awarded the Services to Media award at the British Muslim Awards.[22]

Husain has written a book, The Skills, a guide for women on how to achieve their career goals.[23] It was published in 2018, and was described as "the ultimate handbook for women."[24]

Personal life[edit]

Husain married Meekal Hashmi, A COO at an Investment Management Firm in July 2003. They have three children. [11][25][26] and live in Camden, North London.[27]

Amid widespread condemnation of the killing of ISIL hostages in 2014, Husain voiced support for the use of social media to denounce its extremism. In an interview with the Radio Times, she urged Muslim scholars to use social media to condemn its attempt to use horrific videos to draw support in the West, from the leading British Islamic organisations.[28]

Husain, who is the first Muslim presenter of BBC Radio 4's Today programme, said, "I think the Not in My Name campaign is a very positive development because outrage is shared by all right-thinking people. I would really like to see much more of the counterpoint from a theological perspective, with scholars taking to social media to refute the awful arguments we see put forward in those videos."[29][30]


  1. ^ a b "BBC News – Impact – Profile: Mishal Husain". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  2. ^ Yaqoob, Tahira (5 November 2010). "BBC's Mishal Husain: from UAE to US to China". The National. Retrieved 23 April 2023.
  3. ^ a b Alexia Skinitis, "Significant others: Mishal Husain", The Times, 17 October 2009.
  4. ^ Yaqoob, Tahira (5 November 2010). "BBC's Mishal Husain: from UAE to US to China". The National. Retrieved 23 April 2023.
  5. ^ Yaqoob, Tahira (5 November 2010). "BBC's Mishal Husain: from UAE to US to China". The National (Abu Dhabi). Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  6. ^ Taylor, Jeremy. "My career was not what the doctor ordered". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 23 April 2023.
  7. ^ Yaqoob, Tahira (5 November 2010). "BBC's Mishal Husain: from UAE to US to China". The National. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  8. ^ BBC One News At Six feature on then-Indian Army involvement in World War Two. 2 September 2020.
  9. ^ John Plunkett, "Mishal Husain: 'driven' presenter powers way on to BBC Radio 4's Today", The Guardian, 16 July 2013.
  10. ^ a b c Biographies – Mishal Husain. BBC Press Office, April 2009.
  11. ^ a b c Khairi, Umber (5 January 2004). "Top of the World". Newsline. Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
  12. ^ "Mnangagwa: Mugabes 'to be left in peace'". BBC News. 15 March 2018 – via BBC.
  13. ^ "A return to the Emirates: Mishal Husain's journey back to the UAE was a family holiday with a difference", The Independent, 8 May 2010.
  14. ^ Elisabeth Mahoney. "Mishal Husain's debut on the Today programme – radio review". The Guardian.
  15. ^ "BBC announces Olympic presenters". BBC News.
  16. ^ BBC News Entertainments and Arts Retrieved on 8 September 2015.
  17. ^ "Aung San Suu Kyi 'said she had not been told she was going to be interviewed by a Muslim' after tense BBC exchange". The Independent. 25 March 2016. Archived from the original on 15 May 2022.
  18. ^ "Mishal Husain handpicked by Prince Harry for engagement interview". HELLO!. 28 November 2017.
  19. ^ Mishal Husain Archived 5 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine, KBJ Management. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
  20. ^ "BBC announces Glasgow 2014 presenting team", Sport On The Box, 7 November 2013.
  21. ^ Mosaic Charity home page. Accessed 8 September 2015.
  22. ^ "British Muslim Awards 2014 winners". Asian Image. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  23. ^ "From the surgeon to the Spice Girl: how people in high-pressure jobs cope with stress". the Guardian. 4 February 2019.
  24. ^ "First book by Mishal Husain to 4th Estate | The Bookseller". www.thebookseller.com.
  25. ^ Julia Llewellyn Smith, "'Hello, good morning, and here's my news'", Daily Telegraph, 5 February 2006.
  26. ^ "Mishal Husain". Financial Times. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  27. ^ Acharya, Dipal (27 September 2018). "My London: Mishal Husain". www.standard.co.uk.
  28. ^ "BBC Muslim presenter calls for British Muslims to condemn ISIS terror". Al Arabiya. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  29. ^ Gabriella Swerling, "Muslim presenter urges scholars to condemn Isis", The Times, 21 October 2014.
  30. ^ Sherwin, Adam (20 October 2014). "BBC Radio 4 Today presenter Mishal Husain says 'British Muslims should speak out and condemn Islamic State terror'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 15 May 2022. Retrieved 30 March 2018.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by Weekend presenter of BBC Breakfast
Succeeded by
Preceded by Sunday presenter of BBC Weekend News
Preceded by Today presenter
with John Humphrys, James Naughtie, Sarah Montague, Evan Davis, Justin Webb and Nick Robinson