Simon David Hoggart (26 May 1946 – 5 January 2014) was an English journalist and broadcaster. He wrote on politics for The Guardian, and on wine for The Spectator. Until 2006 he presented The News Quiz on Radio 4. His journalism sketches have been published in a series of books.
Simon Hoggart was born on 26 May 1946 in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, and educated at Hymers College in Kingston upon Hull, Wyggeston Boys' School in Leicester, and then King's College, Cambridge, where he excelled at history and English. He was the son of the literary scholar and sociologist Richard Hoggart, and Mary Holt Hoggart. His brother is the Times television critic Paul Hoggart. He lived in South London with his wife, Alyson, a clinical psychologist, and their two children, Amy and Richard. He was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in mid-2010 and died of the disease on 5 January 2014.
Hoggart joined The Guardian in 1968, later becoming the American correspondent for The Observer, and occasional guest commentator on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Saturday. Having written on politics for some years in Punch magazine, Hoggart became the Parliamentary sketch writer for The Guardian in 1993. He also wrote a wine column for The Spectator. Hoggart's sketchwriting prowess was still admired into the 2010s – Total Politics note that in 2011 Hoggart had "been a regular tormenter of the prime minister," (David Cameron) "especially on the sensitive issue of the PM's bald patch, which Hoggart compared to "a goujon of plaice" from Marks and Spencer."
In the early 1980s he chaired the radio comedy show The News Quiz, returning to the show in 1996 for another ten years. In March 2006, Hoggart presented his last ion of The News Quiz commenting: "I'm getting a bit clapped out and jaded, and I think that's beginning to show."
In 1998 he was part of BBC Radio 4's 5-part political satire programme Cartoons, Lampoons and Buffoons. He was also a contributor to the Grumpy Old Men and wrote for Punch magazine and an occasional column for New Humanist magazine (last entry May 2005). Hoggart was also an occasional celebrity panellist on BBC2's antiques quiz show Going, Going, Gone.
His published books form an eclectic list, including debunking the supernatural, anecdotes about Parliament, a biography, his thoughts about the United States, a serious political review and collected Christmas round-robin letters. He coined the phrase "the law of the ridiculous reverse", "which states that if the opposite of a statement is plainly absurd, it was not worth making in the first place".
When speculation appeared in the News of the World in December 2004 suggesting he was the "third man" in the Kimberly Quinn affair, Hoggart initially denied any involvement before issuing a statement admitting that he had an extra-marital affair with Quinn before her own marriage. The political sex scandal involving Quinn contributed to the resignation of David Blunkett from the Cabinet.
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