Brent Sadler

"The news behind the news can often reveal some really interesting stories with sincere human interest angles to them."

Backstories about


Sir Elton John – a story from way back

One of the earliest newspaper articles written about Sir Elton John appeared in the "Youth Page" of the Harrow Observer newspaper, Middlesex in the UK back in 1970 when cub reporter Brent Sadler featured a story about the rock legend performing in a local pub.

When world-famous Sir Elton later appeared for his first concert in the Middle East at the Beiteddine Festival in Lebanon some 40 years later, Brent met up with the legendary musician who recalled that before his rise to stardom, the story that Brent organised had been published in the Harrow Observer and he had not forgotten about it.

View CNN report Sir Elton John in Beirut

Sadler story inspired Sade's hit song "Pearls"

Sade, the British Nigerian songwriter, told Brent that the lyrics of her hit song "Pearls" were inspired by a news story of his that appeared on CNN during the 1992 famine in Somalia. The report showed starving women scraping in the dirt for granules of rice that had fallen from a truck during a delivery of food aid.

Opening lyrics to "Pearls":

There is a woman in Somalia
Scraping for pearls on the roadside
There's a force stronger than nature
Keeps her will alive

Wounded in Lebanon

Brent Sadler was hit in the right wrist by a splinter fragment from a burst of .50 calibre machine gun fire during Israel's occupation of Lebanon in 1983. His ITN cameraman, Ted Henley, was wounded in the arm during the incident at Damour, south of Beirut. Both newsmen were rescued by Druze militiamen and evacuated to the American amphibious assault ship USS Guam for surgery. Brent still bears the scar.

Brent Sadler in Hollywood movies

2001 "Spy Game" starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt

2001 Spy Game starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt

The movie contains a voiceover clip of Brent Sadler reporting from Lebanon for ITN during the civil war in the 1980s.


2011 "The Devil's Double"

2011 The Devil's Double

The movie features a BAFTA award-winning video clip of Brent Sadler reporting during a cruise missile attack on Baghdad in 1991.


British hostages in Lebanon during the 1980s

Terry Waite CBE

On the eve of his kidnapping in Lebanon on January 20, 1987, the former Anglican church envoy, Terry Waite CBE, warned his friend, Brent Sadler, who was in Cyprus preparing to travel to the Lebanese capital for ITN, not to make the journey because it was too hazardous to follow him.

1,760 days after his abduction, Waite was released in Damascus on November 18, 1991. Brent Sadler was the first journalist he saw behind the scenes at the Foreign Ministry.

British hostages in Lebanon during the 1980s

Jackie Mann

Brent was also a friend of the late Sunnie Mann, the wife of World War Two British Spitfire pilot Jackie, throughout his more than two-year hostage ordeal in Lebanon. Brent accompanied Sunnie to Syria when she was eventually reunited with her husband at the British Embassy in Damascus on September 24, 1991.

Brent was closely involved in the research and compilation of two books about the lives of Sunnie and Jackie Mann before and after he was released. They were published under the titles of "Holding On" (Bloomsbury 1991) and "Yours Till The End" (William Heinemann Ltd. 1992).

View ITN report Mann's return to UK
View ITN report Mann in the UK

Long-Lost Brother

Brent knew from an early age that he had a half-brother called Clive Sadler who emigrated to the United States with his mother after her divorce from their father, Philip Sadler, soon after the Second World War. Clive on the other hand had no idea that he had a long-lost relative.

It was not until 1996 when Brent’s mother died that he found a snapshot in his mother’s personal possessions of Clive outside his home in America. Brent had previously tried to find Clive but failed.

At that time in the late 1990s, Brent's CNN reporting was seen worldwide and reached a home in Dover, Delaware in the United States where Joyce Sadler, an avid follower of news, noticed an uncanny resemblance between her husband, Clive, and war reporter, Brent. The two men shared the same name so perhaps they were related?

Clive was unaware of his wife's curiosity when Joyce contacted CNN to check on Brent's background. Her inquiry was sent to Brent who was CNN's Beirut Bureau Chief at that time. In 2010, the long-lost brothers were finally united for the first time when Brent flew to Dover, Delaware.

Under the Sea – behind the wheel of a nuclear-powered sub

While reporting for CNN, Brent Sadler was given rare media access to life on board an active American nuclear submarine, USS Archerfish. The Sturgeon class sub, now decommissioned, was operating in the Mediterranean Sea in 1996.

During the filming Brent was given the opportunity to steer the vessel for a short time, thus fulfilling a boyhood dream.

A Lebanese Boy Named Brent

Towards the end of the Lebanese Civil War in 1989, a phosphorus shell exploded in the Christian East Beirut apartment of Edgar Broumana and his pregnant wife Ursula.

Edgar was seriously wounded with multiple shrapnel wounds in his legs and body. He was also blinded by the artillery shell with no hope of being able to undergo sight-saving surgery in war-torn Beirut.

Brent was filming for ITN in the grounds of a hospital called Hôtel-Dieu de France when he caught a glimpse of Edgar on a stretcher being loaded into an ambulance with Ursula by his side as there was nothing further surgeons could do for him.

On the spur of the moment, Brent decided to follow the ambulance wherever it went. The Broumanas had no idea they were being tailed for more than an hour by the newsman before they came to a stop on high ground 1,300 metres above sea level and 38 kilometres from Beirut, an area well known for crystal clear waters and an optimistic outlook on life.

Subsequently, Brent's report about Edgar's tragic plight and the certainty he would never see his soon-to-be-born son was broadcast on ITN. The story tugged at the heartstrings of British viewers who raised enough money to fly Edgar to the UK from Lebanon for critical eye surgery. It was performed free of charge by Dr Richard Packard who was famous for operating on the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's detached retina six years earlier.

The surgery saved one of Edgar's eyes and he was able to see his son soon after the birth. The baby was named Kristan Brent Broumana.

Edgar and Ursula Broumana now live in Sweden and have two children, Kristan Brent and Andrew. Edgar is ordained as a Pastor.

View ITN report on Edgar in Beirut
View ITN report on Edgar’s successful operation in UK

Spitfire Flight – Reporting on "The Few"

Brent got to fulfil another childhood dream during an ITN assignment to report on a former Battle of Britain pilot, Group Captain Brian Kingcome, who was making a nostalgic return to the cockpit of a two-seater Spitfire at Biggin Hill in Kent.

Brent also flew in the Spitfire operated by Nick Grace, who sadly died in a subsequent car crash.

View ITN report

Catwalk Caper

As a young reporter in the early 1970s for the Evening Post in Reading, Berkshire, UK, Brent modelled clothes during a fashion show compèred by a well-known British DJ and radio host, "Diddy" David Hamilton.

Brent's one and only catwalk adventure saw him modelling a range of men's fashion including rain and sportswear.

35 years later when Elie Saab, the famous dress designer from Lebanon, was on a feature for CNN, Brent showed Elie photographs of his one-time catwalk experience. On camera, Elie said, "Not bad. You looked good."

View clip of CNN report

First TV appearance

Brent's first appearance on TV was during an episode of "The Family", a 1974 BBC television fly-on-the-wall documentary series, seen by many as the precursor to reality television.

It followed the Wilkins family of six in Reading through their daily lives. Brent was recorded on camera having a difficult doorstep conversation with the family who refused his request for an interview for the Evening Post, Reading. It would be three more years before Brent achieved his ambition to be an on-screen TV journalist.