Emily Maitlis - things you didn’t know about the BBC news presenter

Emily Maitlis
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22: Emily Maitlis attends The Spectator Parliamentarian Of The Year Awards at Rosewood London on January 22, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for The Spectator ) (Image credit: Dave Benett/Getty Images for The)

She's confessed to a 3am Amazon shopping habit!

Emily Maitlis is well-known for presenting BBC2’s Newsnight and of course her now infamous interview with Prince Andrew.

The 49-year-old journalist has become famous for interrogating political figures from all over the globe.

But how much do you know about Emily herself?

Most fans of the actress will know that:

  • Emily was born in Canada and brought up in Sheffield
  • She went to Queens’ College, Cambridge
  • She's interviewed some of the world's most famous people

But what else do we know about Emily Maitlis? Here are several things you probably don’t know…

Emily Maitlis has a secret shopping habit!

Emily confessed that she is rather prone to shopping on Amazon in the early hours. Asked by the Guardian once for her most deplorable trait, she replied: “3am Amazon habit. My husband says there’s always a bag in the hallway that has to be given back.”

Emily Maitlis with The Duchess of Cornwall

Emily Maitlis speaking with The Duchess of Cornwall during a reception at Clarence House in London (Picture: PA) (Image credit: PA)

Emily has done some light entertainment

Whisper it quietly because Emily is a very serious news journalist, but she’s actually done some light entertainment. Yep, back in 2005 she was the question-master on The National Lottery: Come And Have A Go gameshow.

MORE: Everything you need to know about Sophie Raworth

Emily has ended up in prison!

Being a reporter can be a dangerous business and Emily revealed that she has been locked up! “I’ve ended up in prison a number of times, once in Cambodia, once in Cuba - for hours rather than days. Hostile-environment courses do prepare you, but when someone is yelling, 'You’re lying!' over and over, it’s destabilising,” she once told the Guardian.

Emily’s family escaped the Nazis

Emily’s family fled from Nazi Germany. And she once told the Telegraph: “My father was three-years-old when he fled Nazi Germany, and my grandmother took a gold bangle which was actually thick and heavy and quite ugly.

“My father had said ‘it is amazing it has lasted all this time, I am going to have it melted down and each of the three girls will get a piece of the gold jewellery made from it.’ I put it on [a gold bracelet] and I have never taken it off.”

Emily was briefly a hairdresser!

Emily’s first job was as a Saturday girl at a hairdressers in Sheffield. “I got paid £6 a day and I was dreadful, but passionate. I spent all my holidays working there until they offered me a full-time position,” she once told the Jewish Chronicle.

Emily Maitlis with Sophie Raworth

BBC presenters Emily Maitlis (left) and Sophie Raworth before the start of a Half Marathon (Image credit: PA)

Emily has written a hit book

A photo posted by on

Emily penned a 2019 book called Airhead, all about her experiences on news television. During her days on television she’s interviewed everyone from Donald Trump to David Attenborough and, yes, that infamous interview with Prince Andrew.

The book received widespread acclaim, with the historian Simon Schama describing it as a “wonderfully sane book for our unhinged times”.

Emily Maitlis Fact File

How old is she?

Emily Maitlis is 49. She was born on 6th September 1970.

Is she in a relationship?

Emily Maitlis is married to investment manager Mark Gwynne.

Does she have children?

Emily Maitlis has two boys.

Where was she born?

Emily Maitlis was born in Canada.

How tall is she?

Emily Maitlis is 5ft 7.

Twitter: @maitlis

Instagram: @officiallymaitlis


Emily Maitlis continues to present Newsnight.

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Main pic credit: Getty

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!