Author | Documentary Producer | Consultant
From very humble origins in his beloved Burnley, Stewart became an earnest and starry-eyed university student.
He became president of his college and pursued the academic heights to become a junior research fellow in behavioural sociology before deciding that a university career was not for him.
Stewart started his professional career with the BBC in their Political Research Department. After two years, he left television altogether to teach. He taught in various inner city comprehensive schools, travelled extensively and wrote articles and copy whenever he could. He also spent time in the army and stood as a local councillor in the London Borough of Havering. However a lucky break gave him the chance to join the BBC again as a junior researcher.
Following his training in Documentary Features and Current Affairs at the BBC, where he worked on Panorama, QED and Sport and Mankind, he spent twenty years at TWI (now known as IMG Media and founded by Mark H. McCormack) as Senior International Vice-President & Director of Special Projects, where he conceived and launched two ground-breaking international series, Trans World Sport and Futbol Mundial. He was Executive Producer of Trans World Sport for ten years during which it achieved a global audience reach of 500 million viewers worldwide and is still in production thirty years later.
Stewart pioneered TWI’s Olympic relationship, especially the establishment of OTAB, the International Olympic Committee’s film and television archive and directed the innovative Camera of Record at each Olympic Games from Lillehammer in 1994 to Athens in 2004. In partnership with the IOC, he created and produced The Olympic Series, over 150 hours of historical programming, including Olympic Century, the IOC’s official centennial history. He became an adviser to the IOC on media, communication and marketing and was made a member of the IOC Marketing Commission.
Renowned for imaginative and creative storytelling, his list of definitive sports programming includes the All England Club’s official history, Wimbledon: A History of The Championships, The People’s Game, FIFA’s official history of world football and Tiger, the official biography of Tiger Woods.
Stewart led TWI’s diversification into factual programming with a range of original productions, including Artworld, Fabulous Fortunes, Inventions, Century, Churchill and the ground-breaking ‘In-Colour’ series of historical documentaries in collaboration with the renowned archive specialist Adrian Wood. Using previously unseen original colour film from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, more than 30 hours of programming over the next five years radically altered the presentation of twentieth century history and bought the reality of WWII to the younger generation who often had previously thought of it only in black and white. The first ‘In-Colour’ series called The Second World War in Colour won a Peabody and was included in the ‘100 Most Influential TV Programmes Ever Made’ by the UK‘s TV critics in 1999. His ‘In-Colour’ genre went on to include other multi-award winning series, notably the BAFTA and Grierson winner, Britain at War in Colour and Japan’s War, Anzacs, D-Day and Canada at War.
In 2004, he moved to Octagon CSI to become Head of Production where he oversaw the re-structuring of its production output. He launched two new international football anthologies, Golazo! and The Football League Show. Stewart also widened Octagon’s content portfolio to include the factual entertainment series, What Price Fame? and Chasing Churchill, the first historical documentary to be produced in High Definition and Surround Sound. During his time at Octagon, he was also a special adviser on bidding strategy to Sebastian Coe, leader of the London bid for the Olympic Games of 2012.
In 2006, Stewart and his wife Lucy formed their own company, Big Ape Media International (www.bigapemedia.com). Big Ape Media is a broad-based media company covering a range of skills and talents in Production, Sales & Distribution, Archive, Client Representation and Consultancy. Its latest productions include Indochine: A People’s War in Colour, Korea: The Forgotten War in Colour, to mark the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the war, Seisen: The Rise & Fall of the Japanese Empire, India: A Visual Homage - a history of modern India and Chuan’s Ocean – a series about the renowned Chinese sailor, Guo Chuan.
He has travelled extensively whilst filming (visiting over 100 countries) and has been lucky enough to interview almost every major global sport’s star – his all-time favourite being Sir Donald Bradman.
Stewart writes both fiction and non-fiction books. His first novel, Conquest - the first in The Making of England series - was published by Penguin in 2011 to critical acclaim and became the best-selling debut historical fiction book of that year. Its sequel, Crusade, was released next and the third book in the series, Anarchy followed with Lionheart completing the quartet.
He then wrote the first two books in The Great War Series namely The Shadow of War (1914) and The Darkness and The Thunder (1915) both published by Penguin.
His novel, Betrayal, about The Troubles in Northern Ireland was published in February 2018 by Penguin.
Stewart’s non-fiction writing credits include :The Greatest: Who is Britain’s Top Sports Star? (Boxtree), The Second World War in Colour (Pavilion), Britain at War in Colour (Carlton), America at War in Colour (Carlton), British Empire in Colour (Carlton) and The Defence of Britain’s Skies (Hattons).
His most recent non-fiction book Barbarossa and the Bloodiest War in History was published by Wildfire (an imprint of Headline Books) in April 2021. It received critical acclaim including an excellent review by The Times Literary Supplement.
He also writes copy across a number of areas including ads, brochures and press articles.
Stewart offers his knowledge and experience as a consultant, specialising in content management and origination, creative thinking and innovation and in building bridges between the former glories of ‘traditional’ media and the wonderful but overwhelming innovations of ‘new’ media.
Recent consultancies have included: Salzburg 2014 Olympic Winter Games Bid, Board of Control of Cricket for India, Powerboat P1, Rio 2016 Olympic Games Bid, Crystal CG China, Mission Hills Group China, Honav China, The Re:fine Group of Companies, Women’s Squash Association, World Squash Federation and Sport England, Bradesco Bank, Volvo Ocean Race.
Stewart has been awarded a BAFTA, four RTS awards, a Grierson and a Peabody among over thirty international television awards. He has been elected a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, conducts seminars at several universities as well as acting as a mentor and is Visiting Professor in Business Affairs at the University of Bedfordshire.
He is often called upon to speak on topics as diverse as programme-making, marketing, communications, brand development, creative writing and archive/content management.
He is a member of the Reform Club, BAFTA, the Royal Television Society, The Special Forces Club, The Artists Rifles Regimental Association, The SAS Regimental Association and the Royal Society of Arts.
Stewart lives in Somerset with his wife Lucy and twin boys Charlie and Jack. His eldest son Adam, and wife Michelle, have two children Sam and Jessica.