Journalist / Presenter / Public Speaker

Raphael is best known for his work on the Radio 4 Today programme and as an investigative reporter on the worlds longest running current affairs programme, Panorama on BBC1 Television.  Two of the greatest correspondents jobs in British journalism. However, Raphael’s path to becoming an investigative journalist is unique and remarkable.                           

Raphael is currently a reporter on the BBC1 Sunday Morning Live programme and The One Show, a live topical magazine and chat programme. He also appears live in the studio as a guest. Raphael is one of a cast of celebrities in the BBC2 Pilgrimage: Road to Santiago. He will be presenting a new prison series on Netflix on the 6th July 2018.                            


Raphael is an inspirational and motivational speaker. His incredibly unique and amazing personal story,  combined with his exceptional journey to the forefront of investigative journalism, is unparalleled. His message commands an audience and inspires individuals to believe they can overcome challenges and achieve success. 


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Raphael Rowe is a reporter on Sunday Morning Live and The One Show, BBC1. Raphael joined the BBC in 2001 as a reporter for the Radio 4 News Programme, Today, and went on to report for many years on BBC One’s flagship current affairs television programme, Panorama, before becoming freelance in 2016. Raphael’s path to becoming a reporter and presenter has been unique and remarkable.  

Miscarriage Of Justice

In 1988, aged 20, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for a murder and robbery he did not commit. In July 2000, after 12 years in prison, the Court of Appeal quashed his wrongful convictions and he was freed. 

Raphael was determined to become a reporter. He is self-educated on the criminal justice system and, against the odds, during his years in prison he studied journalism through a correspondence course.


BBC Journalist

Raphael was determined to become a reporter. He is self-educated on the criminal justice system and, against the odds, during his years in prison he studied journalism through a correspondence course.

As the subject of numerous stories by broadcast and print journalists during his long campaign for justice, Raphael has a unique insight into both sides of the reporting coin.

Raphael joined the BBC in 2001 as a reporter for the Radio 4 News Programme, Today.

Born and brought up in south-east London his tone, style and accent was different to that normally heard on the flagship programme and caused an immediate stir amongst the traditional Radio 4 audience.

Two years after joining the BBC he became BBC Three’s launch current affairs undercover reporter on a number of programmes including: Movers, Shakers and Crack Takers, Gangland Manchester and Blood Diamonds, the exploitation, and routes, used by terrorists to smuggle conflict diamonds.

He also presented a number of programmes for BBC Two including ‘This World: Locked in Paradise’ and ‘Who Killed Kelso Cochrane?’. He also conducted a fascinating three-part investigation which revealed the UK’s first criminal underworld rich list. Episode One looked at Smugglers, Episode Two Drug Barons and Episode three Fraudsters.

Raphael joined Panorama in 2006 and reported on a wide range of issues, including Bursting the House Price Bubble, Addiction to Games, Track my Trash, Jailed for a Knife, Smugglers Tales, Orphans of Haiti, Kill at Will: America on trial, Children’s Fight Club, DIY Justice. In Death on Corfu he uncovered crucial information that helped the parents of the two children who died from carbon dioxide poisoning whilst on a Thomas Cook package holiday. 

Raphael’s investigation for Panorama into the murder of Jill Dando cast doubts on firearms forensic evidence used at the trial of Barry George, who was convicted of killing the BBC TV presenter. In August 2008, Barry George was acquitted at a retrial and freed.Raphael has reported from some of the most dangerous and hostile places in the world, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Borneo, Nigeria, Jamaica, Beirut, Colombia, Papua New Guinea and Haiti to name a few.

Raphael is an experienced and skilled investigative journalist and presenter on prime time television and an inspiration to an underserved and diverse audience.

Through his singular background, and as the first person of mixed race with dreadlocks to report for Today, the Six O’Clock News, Panorama and The One Show, Raphael has helped re-write the rules on what makes a BBC reporter.

Raphael is the presenter on a new and original Netflix series “Inside The Worlds Toughest Prisons”. It will be streamed on the Netflix platform starting 6th July 2018. In the series he travels to some of the worlds most dangerous places where he interviews violent and dangerous criminals. 


Netflix logo

Raphael is back behind bars. Immersing himself for a week in each prison, he encounters the inmates banged up in these vicious places as he shares their cells and experiences their daily regime. He also joins the guards to discover the new tactics they are adopting to keep the peace in an increasingly volatile environment.

His journey takes him to Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Ukraine and Belize where he discovers a world of extreme punishment, squalor and murderous gang warfare. He meets one of the world’s worst serial killers, drug gang lords, a witch killer and authoritarian prison governors, whose word is law.

From solitary confinement in pitch darkness to conjugal visits for mass murderers Raphael discovers that each prison has a unique way of dealing with the criminals locked up inside.

‘Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons’ has unique access behind the bars of some of the toughest prisons on Earth. Ruled by convicted murderers in gang-run jails or locked away in total isolation in max security compounds – survival here comes at a price

Watch Trailers

The One Show: BBC1

Sunday Morning Live: BBC1

Panorama: BBC1


Amazonian Ritual

Had I known the prisoner smearing lemon scented mud all over my near naked body was a convicted rapist and murderer I would not have partnered with him.

Amazonian Ritual
Gladiator Photo1

Brazilian Gladiator

The holding cell I was put in, by two heavily armed guards, stank of sweat and urine. Through the iron barred ceiling the sun lit my face and shoulders and gave the graffitied walls a menacing look.

Ukrainian Seriel Killer

Waiting in a caged room inside a prison cell block to meet and interview one of Ukraines most prolific serial killers, Serhiy Tkach, was one of the most uncomfortable moments in my life.

serial killer Ukraine
RR on horseback

Lonesome Cowboy

The Camino de Santiago is made just that little bit more achievable when you do a few kilometres on a horse.

BBC One Show

So what is it like being a guest on the popular BBC topical magazine and chat show.


BBC One Show 15:03:18

Drug Dealers Talent

A major drug dealer from Lithuania serving time in a Norwegian prison was so pleased I complemented his art work   he gave me a painting.


I was an investigative reporter for the BBC Panorama television programme for many years and it is a very challenging and difficult environment to work in.

Raphael Rowe

Award recognition

I was never driven by or interested in winning awards for the journalistic work I have done. Was it the right decision?

Black or White?

I have never been called a white bastard but I have been called a black bastard more than once.


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