The Travel Media Awards 2016 are pleased to present British journalist and broadcaster Michael Portillo with the Special Contribution Award

Over the past eight years, at the helm of the BBC’s eminently popular Great Railway Journeys series, Portillo has taken viewers along the historic railroads of the United Kingdom and Europe. Great British Railway Journeys and Great Continental Railway Journeys have, combined, run to 12 series – a testament to the importance and popularity of the show’s theme, and to Portillo’s intellectual rigor and boundless enthusiasm as a presenter. Indeed, a reviewer in The Guardian dubbed his latest series, Great American Railroad Journeys, which aired earlier this year, ‘unstoppably watchable.’

Portillo was a prominent Conservative MP from 1984 until 1997, after which time he developed a successful career in writing and broadcasting. As well as being a sought-after radio pundit, Sunday Times columnist and the presenter of numerous historical and social documentaries, Portillo is an avid traveller and celebrated public speaker.

Commenting on his award, Portillo said: “I am delighted and grateful to be recognised with the Special Contribution Award. For eight years, the teams behind Great British Railway Journeys and Great Continental Railway Journeys and I have been producing journeys around the UK and Ireland, across continental Europe and, most recently, in the USA for Great American Railroad Journeys, using a formula of travelling by train with an historic guidebook.”

“The programme hopes to offer beautiful or interesting views of the UK and Europe and to serve up lots of history – washed down with a spoonful of fun! I want to encourage viewers to take to the tracks in our tracks, or if they cannot, to journey vicariously and share my enjoyment of an extraordinary country.”

The Travel Media Awards 2016 looks forward to welcoming Michael Portillo to the stage on Thursday 27 October at ME London hotel on the Strand for this year’s Awards ceremony.