TERRY CHRISTIAN: broadcaster, journalist and author

Photography by: Demi Sullivan

Words by Harry Potts


Broadcaster, journalist and author Terry Christian was born on the 8th May 1960. Brought up in Brooks Bar, Old Trafford, in an Irish family with six brothers and sisters. Terry was educated at St Bede’s College, Manchester and went on to study Biology at Thames Polytechnic in London.

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Terry Christian outside, St Mary’s Catholic Church – Manchester’s ‘Hidden Gem’

He first appeared on national TV in 1981 with other unemployed youngsters from inner-city areas of Manchester on Devil’s Advocate. As a result of his appearances on the programme, Terry was offered his own radio show, Barbed Wireless on BBC Radio Derby, winning a Sony Award in 1985. He was a contributor to other BBC radio shows around this time and also dabbled in the world of band management and gig promotion in the late 1980s.

In late 1988, he joined Manchester’s Key 103 FM and given a free hand to broadcast and promote what would later be dubbed the Madchester Scene to a mainstream young audience in the Manchester area, playing the Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays, the Inspiral Carpets and 808 State. Terry also wrote “The Word” page in the Manchester Evening News dedicated to the Manchester music scene, and gave the first press to a host of Manchester luminaries including the Charlatans, Oasis and M People.

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Terry gave many of the Madchester band’s their first radio debuts as a DJ on Manchester’s Key 103 radio

Terry-Christian-presentin-006In 1990 Terry was recruited to host the controversial Channel 4 youth entertainment show The Word, named after his column in the Manchester Evening News, and based on the format of his music magazine radio shows. The show was a mixture of pop music and teen attitude, and attracted up to a 49% audience share in its Friday night slot. The Word hosted many groups playing live for the first time on British TV, including Oasis, Nirvana, Snoop Dogg, Public Enemy and Rage Against the Machine. Christian remained its only continuous presenter until it finished its run in 1995.

Terry Christian with fellow Word presenter, Amanda de Cadenet

After the The Word, Terry went on to present and appear in a number of television shows including: The Big City, The Hitmix, The Football Show, MTV Europe and the award winning It’s My Life. In 2009, Terry was runner up in the sixth series of Celebrity Big Brother and has been a guest on a number of TV shows including: Come Dine with Me, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Would I Lie to You?. Terry is a regular guest on a variety of discussion shows on Radio 5 Live, Radio 4, The Culture Show, Good Morning Britain and a regular panelist on topical debate chat show The Wright Stuff and more recently the Jeremy Vine show.

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City Life – front cover, 1991

Terry has been writing articles and columns for newspapers since 1983 having had regular columns in the Sunday People, Daily Sport, Manchester Evening News and the Derby Evening Telegraph and has written articles for newspapers and magazines including the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Observer, The Times, The Sun, Rolling Stone magazine, New York Rocker, The Guardian and the Sunday Times.

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Terry’s combative personality is still very much in demand

He has also written three books: Brothers – from Childhood to Oasis,  Reds in the Hood (1999), about his early life growing up in Old Trafford and being of Irish descent in inner-city Manchester, set to the backdrop of his early days watching Manchester United from 1969 until 1977; and My Word, a look at the world of television in the 1990s, published in June 2007 to favourable reviews.

Terry is noted for his encyclopedic knowledge of the City of Manchester


Student reflection: Demi Sullivan

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Demi and Terry

I was nervous about working with Terry Christian because I had heard that he was quite a controversial and outspoken character – which I was to find out was true – although he was incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining. Posing Terry was quite challenging, I struggle with directing my subjects anyway, and due to status, I was out of my comfort zone. I suspected Terry was a little nervous too, having his photograph taken in the public gaze. The weather was perfect for capturing images, so everything was pretty straight forward from a technical perspective. We shot the images in various locations in the city centre including: Manchester’s Hidden Gem (St Mary’s Church), Albert Square, St Peter’s Square Metrolink Station and outside Central Library. I believe I managed to capture both Terry’s, serious and mischievous sides to his personality.


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Never stuck for words – the irrepressible Terry Christian
© All images – The Manchester College (unless otherwise stated)


Related links:


New Statesman – Terry Christian, most hated man on TV

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