Zeb Soanes is a familiar and trusted voice across the BBC.
He joined BBC Television in 1998 as an announcer on BBC ONE and TWO and was chosen as the first voice to welcome viewers to the digital channel BBC FOUR when it launched in March 2002. He moved to Radio 4 to put the nation to bed with The Shipping Forecast and is an established Newsreader across every programme from Today, PM and the Six O’Clock News to the satirical comedy The News Quiz. He was asked to read the Shipping Forecast to a worldwide audience at the Olympics, has broadcast it from the top of a lighthouse and been sampled into a dance mix.
Sunday Times readers recently voted him their favourite male voice on UK radio and the children’s author and creator of Horrid Henry, Francesca Simon featured Zeb as the newsreader in her book, The Lost Gods.
On television he has presented The Proms live on BBC FOUR and made films for The Culture Show, Newsnight and Songs of Praise.
He voices TV documentaries and promos - including a behind-the-scenes series marking 50 years of Dr Who for BBC Worldwide and Unlocking Sherlock for PBS in the United States. He is the brand voice of the BBC Store.
As a reporter he covers intriguing subjects ranging from Urban Planning in Los Angeles to a close-shave with Cary Grant’s barber for the long-running BBC Radio series From Our Own Correspondent. In the UK he has written for The Observer newspaper.
He is an experienced live events host for large public events and conferences and has presented opera and ballet for the Royal Opera House to audiences of 8,000 in Trafalgar Square relayed to 24,000 more open-air viewers at cities around the UK and introduces live concerts on stage at London’s Southbank Centre, Royal Albert Hall, King's Place and venues around the UK.
He trained as an actor and has performed in radio dramas with Simon Russell-Beale and Toby Jones. In the short film Mayday, starring Juliet Stevenson, he relays the unfolding chaos of an earthquake in London. This year he played Derek Nimmo in a Radio 4 drama about the making of the classic BBC comedy series All Gas and Gaiters and is the sinister librarian in a Doctor Who audio adventure with David Warner.
He is the narrator for the choral ensemble Opus Anglicanum, touring the UK with sequences of texts and original music commissioned from Britain's leading contemporary composers. He was the Voice of God in the Aldeburgh Festival production of Noye’s Fludde to conclude the Benjamin Britten Centenary (broadcast live on BBC Radio 3) and has made a new recording of William Walton's Façade, conducted by John Wilson and his orchestra, to be released in April 2017. In November he will narrate Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf for the Wimbledon International Music Festival.
Zeb is a patron of the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine and Awards for Young Musicians for which he presented an evening with Miloš Karadaglić in which the classical guitarist and fellow patron of AYM talked emotionally about his early career and music; in November he hosted a gala fundraiser at the Goldsmith's Hall.
He is from Lowestoft, Britain's most easterly town and is named after the biblical fisherman Zebedee. He lives in North London.
Recording Façade with John Wilson and Carole Boyd at the Henry Wood Hall, October 2015