Stapleton is an award winning journalist with more than 40 years experience in newspapers and television. His career began on local newspapers in the North West of England before becoming a staff reporter on the Daily Sketch in Fleet Street. His first job in television was as a researcher and script writer on This is Your Life presented by the late Eamonn Andrews.
He subsequently worked as a reporter on the Thames TV regional news magazine show Today from 1971 until 1975. He joined the BBC Nationwide programme in 1975 as a reporter, and then became one of the main presenters from 1977 until 1980. While on Nationwide he also carried out major investigations into council corruption in South Wales and protection rackets in Northern Ireland. From 1980 until 1983, he was a correspondent on both the BBC Panorama programme and BBC Newsnight reporting from trouble spots such as the Middle East and El Salvador before working for three months as Newsnight’s correspondent in Argentina during the Falklands war. From 1983 to 1985, he worked at TV-am as a reporter and as a presenter of Good Morning Britain. From 1986 until 1993, he presented the BBC1 peak time consumer programme Watchdog alongside his wife Lynn Faulds Wood, as well as the live morning talk show The Time, The Place from 1993 to 1998.
And for four years, he presented the ITV Sunday morning programme My Favourite Hymns in which he interviewed a wide variety of guests about their faith and its impact on their lives. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Earl Spencer, Princess Michael of Kent, the former South African president FW De Klerk, the author Maya Angelou and Coronation Street’s William Roache were amongst his many guests.
In 1994, Stapleton joined the ITV breakfast station GMTV as a presenter of the Newshour. In 1997, Stapleton, along with Sir Trevor McDonald, presented the live and controversial Monarchy debate for ITV in front of three thousand people at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre and at GMTV, he also anchored many major news stories. Among them, the war in Kosovo when he was based on the Albanian border covering the refugee crisis. This was followed by him anchoring for GMTV three American elections, the Tsunami in South East Asia, Pope John Paul’s funeral in Rome and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. In 2004, he was made the Royal Television Society’s News Presenter of the Year – largely for his work on GMTV covering the 2003 war in Iraq and interviews he conducted with political party leaders including the then Prime Minister Tony Blair. He returned to Iraq to front two special programmes for GMTV commeorating the fifth anniversary of the war ending.
In September 2010, after fronting GMTV’s General Election coverage, he became Special Correspondent, for GMTV’s successor Daybreak. Stapleton has over the years also presented many regional news and current affairs programmes including the BBC’s London Plus, Facing South for Meridian, and Central Weekend Live for Central TV.
Stapleton has interviewed every British Prime Minister since James Callaghan in the 1970’s and is one of the contributors to the BBC series Grumpy Old Men. He currently presents two political discussion programmes for ITV Central, The Lobby, transmitted in the Midlands plus Last Orders, for ITV Yorkshire. He also writes a monthly column for the Manchester Evening News and pens holiday features for the Mail on Sunday.
John Stapleton was born in Oldham, Lancashire. His father Frank was secretary of the local Co-op and his mother, June was a part time junior school teacher. Stapleton was educated at Hulme Grammar School, Oldham and St John’s College of Further Education, Manchester where he did “A” levels. He did not go to university starting work instead as a trainee reporter at the age of seventeen on the now defunct Eccles and Patricroft Journal. He was later indentured to the Oldham Evening Chronicle for three years before moving onto the Daily Sketch first in Manchester and then London. He only has one kidney that functions properly. In April 2008, he revealed, in a report for the BBC’s The One Show, that when he was younger he suffered from the eating disorder anorexia nervosa.
John has been a supporter of Manchester City for more than 50 years ever since his father took him to see Stanley Matthews play for Blackpool against City at their old Maine Road ground in the 1950’s.