Frank Gardner OBE is the BBC’s fulltime security correspondent who in 2004 was left paralyzed after being shot six times at close range by a gunman in Saudi Arabia. His story is as uplifting as his knowledge of international terrorism is deep.
Frank Gardner is the BBC’s fulltime security correspondent reporting for TV and radio on issues of both domestic and international security, notably on Al Qaeda related terrorism.
In 2004, he survived being shot six times at close range by Al Qaeda terrorists in the Riyadh suburb, Saudi Arabia. His cameraman Simon Cumbers was killed but Frank’s miraculous survival was most likely due to a small Qur’an he was carrying with him, which his attackers found when attempting to rob him.
After many months in hospital he returned to the BBC to resume his job and in June 2005 he was awarded an OBE for services to journalism.
Frank Gardner’s fascination with the Middle East began as a teenager when he had a chance meeting with Wilfrid Thesiger (who extensively travelled and photographed the Middle East). A fluent Arabist with a degree in Arabic and Islamic studies from Exeter University, Frank spent nine years as an investment banker in New York, London and Bahrain before switching to journalism and becoming the BBC’s Middle East correspondent based in Cairo.
Frank Gardner has reported extensively on the so-called ‘War on Terror’ in Guantanamo Bay, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.
In May 2006, Frank’s first book, Blood and Sand, was published by Transworld, reaching number three in the Sunday Times Bestseller List. It is a remarkable snapshot of the Middle East over a number of years and the poignant story of what can happen to your belief system when the culture you have embraced ends up trying to kill you. In 2009 Frank published his second book Far Horizons: Unusual journeys and Strange Encounters from a Travelling Life. In it he draws on the diaries, sketches and photos he kept during his travels and his immaculately observed accounts of these often strange, sometimes daring adventures in many of the worlds most out of the way places.
Throughout his journalist career, Frank has been awarded many accolades some of which include Journalist of the Year 2011 at the European Diversity Awards, UAE Zayed Medal for Journalism, 2008 and winner of BBC Celebrity Mastermind 2010. In 2011 he was elected President of Ski Club of GB and he also supports the charities The BackUp Trust and The Nicholls Foundation.
Franks is in high demand for public speaking engagements. His talks are compelling, personal and inspirational but he also gives an unsentimental account of the myriad adventures that made him the man he was on that fateful day in 2004 and of the journeys he has made since. Truly remarkable.