Alistair Campbell first made a name for himself as Fleet Street journalist for the Daily Mirror, the last remaining major national newspaper to support the Labour Party. He overcame alcoholism to work his way up to political editor and later switched newspapers and performed the same role for the now-defunct newspaper Today. When Labour Party leader John Smith died in 1994 he helped to interview the three candidates for the new Labour leader, and shortly after Tony Blair was appointed on the leadership battle he left his newspaper job to work for the Labour Party.
Campbell worked alongside Peter Mandelson to co-ordinate Labour’s successful election campaign for the 1997 general election, playing a key role in developing and implementing the media strategy and acting as Blair’s speechwriter and PR aide. Under his stewardship, he successfully managed to convince several national newspapers which were traditionally Conservative to support the Labour Party in the months which led up to the election. He was subsequently appointed chief Press Secretary in 1997, a role that he performed until 2000 when he became the Prime Minister’s Director of Communications. He resigned in 2003 following an inquiry into the release of the ‘Dodgy Dossier’ which led the UK into the Iraq War, a document he was involved in preparing for release.
Campbell kept diaries throughout his time in Downing Street which were reported to have totalled some 2 million words and a portion of it was published in the book The Blair Years in 2007. This three-part documentary series, The Alistair Campbell Diaries, was aired in 2007 is based on the contents book and is narrated by Campbell himself. He stated at the time that it was his intention to release the diaries in fuller form at a later date and they were later released in three instalments between 2010 and 2012.