John McCarthy


John Mccarthy’s tale of overcoming adversity is a harrowing yet inspiring one. While working as a journalist in Lebanon, John was kidnapped by Islamic Jihadists and held captive for 5 years and 4 months, making him the longest held British kidnap victim.

Recounting his terrifying ordeal, John can tap into how he dealt with the day to day of his captivity, a story that displays courage and extreme mental resilience. He can also detail how he readapted to life and work upon his release. Unknowing of when or if he would ever escape, John showed immense bravery throughout his torment.

In April 1986, Beirut had been deemed too dangerous for foreign journalists. While on his way to the airport, at the end of his first foreign assignment and the conclusion of a send off with colleagues, he was intercepted while on the way to the airport. He was thrown into the back of a car by masked Jihadists and kept in captivity.

The next 1,943 days were to prove torturous for John who would endure physical and mental torture. Alongside cell-mate, Brian Keenan who is an Irish philosopher, the duo struck up an enduring friendship, that would in many ways keep them motivated to survive the ordeal. Together they established methods of dealing with the horrifying situation they had found themselves in.

Following his release, John co-wrote bestselling book, Some Other Rainbow with Jill Morell, who had campaigned for his release. He would also write Between Extremes which would see him and fellow hostage, Keenan travel Patagonia and detail their journey. His story would also become the subject of documentaries that include, Out of the Shadows for ITV which saw him return to Beirut to confront the ghosts of his past.

John is able to paint a harrowing picture of his humbling, frightening and inspiring experiences at his presentations, making his keynote speeches sought-after on stages all around the world. His influential speeches offer audiences advice on communication, teamwork, building meaningful relationships, self-motivation and a will to win.

To book John McCarthy as the keynote speaker for your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency using the contact details below:

When at corporate events, John is known to cover the following topics:

  • Communication
  • Mental Resilience
  • Relationships
  • Survival
  • Journalism
  • Teamwork

Take a look at the news report that aired when John was released in 1991, below: