Quentin Willson, Conference Host
Quentin Willson is one of Britain’s best-known motoring authorities and ardent campaigners. He presented BBC’s Top Gear alongside Jeremy Clarkson for over a decade, wrote and presented BBC2’s the Car’s The Star, started Channel 5’s Fifth Gear, created the Britain’s Worst Driver format (shown in 14 international territories) and both co-presents / executive produces The Classic Car Show on Channel 5.
As a campaigner, Quentin was largely responsible for bringing the once scandalously high prices of new cars in the UK down to the same level as the rest of Europe. Wiping over £3 billion off the car industry’s balance sheets overnight may not have made him very popular with car makers, but he remains a much-loved champion of Britain’s beleaguered motorists.
More recently, Quentin has tirelessly fought the government on fuel prices with his million-signature FairFuelUK petition that’s saved UK motorists £20 billion in fuel duty and VAT. A regular face in Westminster, he lobbies ministers and MPs to get a better deal for Britain’s 40 million licence holders.
A motoring aficionado, Quentin Willson has written weekly newspaper columns for the Mirror and Sunday Mirror for over 15 years, Classic Cars Magazine for nine years and writes for many other magazines and newspapers. He presents an array of consumer programmes and documentaries, is the author of ten books and has appeared on scores of radio and TV shows. He was awarded the Press Association Motoring Writer of the year Award for his work to bring new car prices in the UK to the same level as Europe, and is a campaigner for low emission and electric cars, working with the government and Office of Low Emission Vehicles. He’s a patron of the Hydrogen Trust and judge for the £10 million Future UK EV Battery prize.
Quentin’s father – Professor H. B Willson – was a wartime Bletchley Park code breaker who was recruited from Cambridge University to the famous Hut 4 and became the first person to decode the Haglein encryption machine, the Italian equivalent of Enigma. His achievement is acknowledged to have had a ‘significant outcome’ on WW2.
Quentin Willson is also a BAFTA film judge and still holds the lowest ever recorded score on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing (eight out of 40) during the show’s second series in 2004, which he describes as his ‘proudest television achievement’.