Ballymena man Stephen Walker departs BBC Northern Ireland after more than 30 years
Long-standing BBC Northern Ireland journalist Stephen Walker has signed off for the final time as he leaves the broadcaster after 34 years.
Born in England and educated in Northern Ireland, the outgoing political correspondent became a BBC reporter in 1989 with Radio Leeds, before joining BBC NI in 1991. He was soon covering some of the biggest stories to hit the headlines, including the Shankill bombing, the ceasefires, the Good Friday Agreement and the ongoing peace process.
Stephen was an investigative reporter for Spotlight for 12 years and also worked as Assistant Editor. His journalism on the Spotlight documentaries ‘The Black Catch’ and ‘The Life and Death of an IRA Quartermaster’ were recognised with a European Journalism Award in 1995 and Royal Television Society Award in 2001, respectively.
In 2005 he was named the Northern Ireland Journalist of the Year by the CIPR and was also part of the BBC Newsline team that reported on the death of Ian Paisley. The coverage was awarded an Irish Film and Television Award in 2015.
In 2001 Stephen became BBC Northern Ireland’s London Correspondent based at Westminster. He became BBC Northern Ireland Political Reporter in 2009 and was later appointed Political Correspondent.Over the years he has interviewed five Prime Ministers and 15 Secretaries of State and has covered countless elections for Westminster, Stormont and at council level.
An experienced and original story teller he has made numerous television and radio documentaries for BBC NI including True North: First Generation which was the story of people born in 1921 when Northern Ireland was created.
Outside of his work for the BBC, Stephen has also written three books. Forgotten Soldiers: The Irishmen Shot At Dawn was shortlisted for the 2007 Irish Non Fiction Book of the Year, while Hide and Seek: The Irish Priest in the Vatican who Defied the Nazi Command, which was published in 2011, was an Irish Times best seller. His most recent work Ireland's Call: Irish Sporting Heroes Who Fell in the Great War, was published in 2015.
Reflecting on his reporting with the BBC, Stephen Walker said:
“It has been the privilege of my life to work for the BBC. I am grateful to the hundreds of people who trusted me with their stories over the past three decades - thank you. I have been lucky to work with really talented people inside and outside the BBC who have helped me enormously.
"It has been exciting to witness history and help tell the story of the place we all call home. I have reported on the good times and the difficult days. Yet, amidst the sadness and the seriousness, I have had loads of fun. I will continue to write and broadcast and there are many more stories to tell. Here is to the next adventure.”
Kevin Kelly, BBC Northern Ireland Interim Head of News and Current Affairs said:
“Stephen has had a fantastic career at the BBC and is highly respected by his colleagues. Over the years he has delivered outstanding and award-winning journalism, and his passion, professionalism, and sense of humour will be missed around the newsroom. We wish him well for the future.”