Questions and answers
HE has reported from crises in many parts of the world from the Ethiopian famine to Kosovo, but Jonathan Dimbleby is now facing his very own battle.
The journalist, author and broadcaster usually enjoys nothing more than spending time with his family at home in Devon, but his peaceful haven is being disturbed by a persistent pest.
It returns and stops him in his tracks when we're in mid-flow conversation about his forthcoming appearance at this month's Chagword Literary Festival.
"Sorry, I've got to scare away a wretched squirrel from a tree," he declares while briefly going off to sort out the furry rodent.
On his return, Jonathan happily reports it has fled and goes on to reveal the extent of his daily battles with the unwanted trespasser.
"There are woods around the house and the squirrel has taken a liking to the bird seed," says the 68-year-old.
"I've hung a thin wire which is 15ft long from the branch of tree and at least 5ft off the ground, but the squirrel has still managed to get across to the feeder. I need to find a way of stopping him before I drive myself mad!"
Jonathan lives in what he calls "the middle of the triangle" between Totnes, Dartmouth and Kingsbridge. Since stepping down from his BBC Radio 4 phone-in show Any Answers? after nearly a quarter of a century, Jonathan has been able to spend more weekends at home, but still craves more.
"I spend a lot of time on the train between here and all over the place," says the father-of-four, who has a five and three-year-old with his second wife Jessica. "I always want to be home and I never want to leave."
Thankfully Jonathan won't have far to travel when it comes to his next public appearance – Chagword Literary Festival in Chagford. He will be there to talk about his latest book Destiny in the Desert: The Story Behind El Alamein.
"This is my sixth book and I've done festivals for each of them, but this is my first time at Chagword," reveals Jonathan, who was made an honorary graduate of Exeter University in 2008.
"When you go to a festival and meet readers and people who like to hear what you have to say, it's very rewarding and I feel very honoured. I also find I have the most wonderful conversations.
"It's a great pleasure to see my latest book so well received. One of the nicest things is people come up to me and say their parents, uncles or grandparents were involved directly, and in some cases even themselves were in the battles of the desert. Meeting them is quite remarkable.
"It is the first time I have written a book entirely of history, and it's been short-listed for a history prize."
It is another achievement to be added to what has been a long and successful career. Jonathan, son of Richard Dimbleby and younger brother of television presenter David Dimbleby, began his career as a television and radio reporter for BBC Bristol in 1969.
Jonathan has chaired BBC Radio 4's Any Questions? since 1987. He presented ITV's flagship weekly political program This Week for more than 10 years, and is president of VSO, chairman of Index on Censorship, and a trustee of Dimbleby Cancer Care.
In 2008 his five-part series on Russia was broadcast by BBC2, accompanied by his book Russia – A Journey to the Heart of a Land and its People. Other he has written include Charles: the Private Man, The Public Face, and the biography of Richard Dimbleby.
Jonathan was 21 when Richard died of cancer in 1965. Ten years later he published his father's biography.
"My father died when he was 52 and he wasn't someone who talked about the war or what he was doing," says Jonathan.
"It was only after he died that I learned a huge amount about his work, life and childhood.
"It is sad I found out when he was dead rather than when he was alive. It was a very important journey for me to explore his life."
Writing books remains one of Jonathan's great passions, but the decision to write about the story behind El Alamein was not actually his idea, he concedes.
It was suggested to Jonathan by his publisher to mark the 70th anniversary of the battle and after careful consideration he glady accepted.
"As my father had been a BBC war correspondent in the desert and I had written his biography a long time before, I was always intrigued by it, but I never thought I would write about it," admits Jonathan, who is currently in discussions about making another TV series.
"There had already been lots written about it, and I decided yes, I could add something different to it.
"Essentially the book is about the war in the desert which was not peripheral but pivotal in understanding the Second World War.
"It was the British victory at the Battle of El Alamein which inspired one of Churchill's most famous aphorisms: 'This is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning,' – and he was right.
"My story is about why, how and who was involved, and the lives and experiences of the people that went through the horrors they did, and the terribly difficult decisions they had to make.
"I find you get so deeply immersed in the past that when you do emerge it feels like you're going into an unreal world and the present becomes a fantasy.
"If I could pick anything to write about it would probably be something about England or even maybe something about the South Hams."
Jonathan will appear at Chagword on Sunday, March 17, and will give a talk re-examining the Battle of El Alamein and offering some controversial conclusions at 4pm in the Church of St Michael the Archangel. Tickets cost £6.50.
For more details about the festival visit the website www.chagword.com or for tickets call 07564 025 303.