His footballing career was curtailed at the sadly premature age of 21 by rheumatoid arthritis and was forced to forge a career as a journalist at the Leicester Advertiser. Moving rapidly through a variety of broadcasting and journalistic jobs, Icke achieved national prominence in 1981, when he became co-presenter of the BBC's flagship Saturday afternoon sports show Grandstand. He rapidly became the sports presenter on BBC Breakfast Time and by the end of the 1980s was a household name in Britain.
However he had become disillusioned with the media world and what he saw as its cynical fakery. Flirting with politics, he became involved with the Green Party and was a prominent advocate of resistance to the Community Charge (better known as the 'poll tax'). The BBC began to distance themselves from Icke as he became more outspoken in his views.
As his unorthodox views became more widely known, he appeared as a guest on the Terry Wogan show in 1991, famously dressed in a turquoise shell suit, to promote his new vision of the world. The derision poured upon him following his appearance effectively ended his official media career, but did not deter him from his path and he began to publish a series of books about his own path and what he saw as the secret history of the world to come. He has declared since that while at the time it felt disastrous, it was actually the thing that propelled him to find his real voice.
Among his prime claims is that the Bilderberg Group is related to a New World Order in which a cabal of elite humans conspires with a race of reptilian aliens to enslave humanity.
In more earthbound matters, he claims that the media, big business and governments conspire to delude the public about the real direction of world affairs. Given recent revelations of police cover ups, the creeping spread of mass surveillance and 'regulatory capture' of some arms of government by major corporations, it isn't difficult for some to find commonality with Icke.
See also: conspiracy theories