As a young schoolmaster Ian taught Tony Blair to read and write. He went on to become one of the most recognisable voices in rugby for over 40 years, and also masqueraded as a racing expert - owning a share of a string of remarkably slow horses. Ian can also boast to ghosting the official biography of Richard Burton.


Although Ian’s first job was to teach a boy called Tony Blair to read and write, he is now better known as the rugby correspondent on Radio 5 Live and the BBC. In summer he’s also masqueraded as an expert on horseracing, and has owned numerous shares in a succession of very slow horses that lacked any sort of ambition.

Ian’s own rugby career ended with a bad knee injury at the age of 25. By that time he had won a blue at Cambridge, played for London Scottish and the Barbarians, and won eight international caps for Scotland - for whom he served as vice captain.

Ian joined the BBC as a commentator and has covered all the biggest tournaments across the world. He was a regular member of the Rugby Special team and presented numerous previews and features for Grandstand. After a 47-year commentary career Ian finally called time on duties at the microphone covering an England v Australia test match at Twickenham.

A prolific writer, as well as enjoying a spell as a correspondent on The Sunday Timea, Ian is the author or co-author of over 30 books, teaming up with the likes of Gareth Edwards, Bill Beaumont and Andy Irvine. He also helped ghost the official biography of Richard Burton, which became a best-seller in over a dozen countries.

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JLA Presents

Event - 30/04/2024 - 9:00 am

Speakers Breakfast

Understanding AI Now

Priya Lakhani and Anne-Marie Imafidon

Please join us in our JLab studio near Oxford Circus at 08:30am on Tuesday 30th April for our next speaker’s breakfast event. Following our sell-out event for IWD back in February, we will be joined by three fantastic speakers for an exploration of the uses, myths and concerns surrounding AI.


JLA, 14 Berners Street, London


Event - 06/02/2024 - 9:00 am

Speakers Breakfast

Looking Ahead to International Women’s Day

Samira Ahmed, Eniola Aluko, and Alex Mahon

We were joined by four fantastic speakers to look ahead at International Women’s Day. With the theme of this year’s event being #InspireInclusion, we were lucky enough to hear from four women who have each blazed a trail in their respective fields: CEO of Channel 4, Alex Mahon; the former Australian Prime Minister and Chair of Kings’ Global Institute of Women’s Leadership, Julia Gillard; one of the leading voices in football, Eniola Aluko MBE; and broadcaster and journalist, Samira Ahmed.


Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 4QH