The MIAT Prize 2019

Jon Bentley

From a very early age Jon showed a love of cars and, after reading Geography at Oriel College, Oxford from 1979 to 1982, he joined the Ford Motor Company as a Graduate Trainee. In practice, this proved rather uninteresting—tasks like counting the number of windscreen wipers required every day in Köln. After a year or so, he left to join the BBC’s Top Gear programme as a researcher.

Jon went on to become Producer and Executive Producer of the show between 1987 and 1999 and was responsible for launching the TV careers of Jeremy Clarkson, Quentin Willson and Vicki Butler-Henderson. He also produced other car programmes for the BBC including the classic car series The Car’s the Star. Though he left the BBC to go freelance in 1999 he later had a corner named after him on the Top Gear test track.

In 2002, after spells as a producer with ITV and The Natural History Unit, Jon launched Fifth Gear for Channel Five and produced the show until 2004 when he joined The Gadget Show as a presenter. This gave him the opportunity to indulge another childhood passion, technology. He is now established as the programme’s main gadget reviewer.

When not presenting he writes for Classic Car Weekly and Amateur Photographer and has also written for, among others, the London Evening Standard, Top Gear Magazine, MSN and CNET. Married with two bilingual daughters, his current interests include the radio, photography, reading about architecture, business and economics and visiting art galleries.

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