It was only very recently that he announced he had just written his last column. I didn’t know about his German connection (I knew his wife was German, but not that he studied German):
Ivan was born in Leeds in 1967 and was educated at comprehensive schools in Luton and Leeds before studying German at the University of Aston in Birmingham.
He lived in East Germany from 1988 until 1990 where he worked as a translator. After graduation he joined the BBC, initially as a translator, then as a sub-editor in Nairobi.