John Patrick McCarthy CBE (born 27 November 1956) is a British journalist, writer and broadcaster, and one of the hostages in the Lebanon hostage crisis. McCarthy was the United Kingdom's longest-held hostage in Lebanon, where he was a prisoner for more than five years.
McCarthy was a journalist working for United Press International Television News at the time of his kidnap by Islamic Jihad terrorists in Lebanon in April 1986, and was held in captivity until his release on 8 August 1991. He shared a cell with the Irish hostage Brian Keenan for several years. While a prisoner, he learned that his girlfriend, Jill Morrell, was actively campaigning for his release, launching a group called "Friends of John McCarthy".
By the time of McCarthy's release, his mother Sheila had died of cancer, unaware of his fate. Following his release, he co-authored, with Jill Morrell, a memoir of his years in captivity, entitled Some Other Rainbow. Their relationship ended four years later, and he later married Anna Ottewill, a photographer, and they have a daughter.
In 1995 John McCarthy sailed around the coast of Britain with Sandi Toksvig, making a BBC documentary TV series and a book of the experience. McCarthy had attended university with Toksvig's brother, Nick. He co-presented the BBC Radio 4 programme Excess Baggage, also with Sandi Toksvig. On 29 March 2014, McCarthy hosted the ceremony for the "I Do To Equal Marriage" event which celebrated the introduction of same-sex marriage in England and Wales. Toksvig renewed her vows to her civil partner at the event.
He is Patron of Freedom from Torture (formerly the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture), and has been awarded an Honorary D.Litt from his alma mater, the University of Hull where a students' union bar (now an ice cream ‘parlour’) is named after him.
He was appointed a CBE in 1992.