Henry Bernard Levin CBE (19 August 1928 – 7 August 2004) was an English journalist, author and broadcaster, described by The Times as “the most famous journalist of his day”. The son of a poor Jewish family in London, he won a scholarship to the independent school Christ’s Hospital and went on to the London School of Economics, graduating in 1952. After a short spell in a lowly job at the BBC selecting press cuttings for use in programmes, he secured a post as a junior member of the editorial staff of a weekly periodical, Truth, in 1953.
Levin reviewed television for the Manchester Guardian and wrote a weekly political column in The Spectator noted for its irreverence and influence on modern parliamentary sketches. During the 1960s he wrote five columns a week for the Daily Mail on any subject that he chose. After a disagreement with the proprietor of the paper over attempted censorship of his column in 1970, Levin moved to The Times where, with one break of just over a year in 1981–82, he remained as resident columnist until his retirement, covering a wide range of topics, both serious and comic.
Levin became a well-known broadcaster, first on the weekly satirical television show That Was The Week That Was in the early 1960s, then as a panellist on a musical quiz, Face the Music, and finally in three series of travel programmes in the 1980s. He began to write books in the 1970s, publishing 17 between 1970 and 1998. From the early 1990s, Levin developed Alzheimer’s disease, which eventually forced him to give up his regular column in 1997, and to stop writing altogether not long afterwards.