He started his career in television with the British Broadcasting Company, first for British Broadcasting Corporation News and Current Affairs on Midweek. As Associate Producer he participated in the making of Ireland: A Television History. He was apparently the first television professional appointed to the Independent Television Commission ( International Trade Commission), a government agency which licensed and regulated commercial television in Britain from 1991 to 2003.
Eventually Ranelagh relocated to Scandinavia where he continued in television broadcasting.
There he has been with various companies: as Executive Chairman for NordicWorld. As Director for Kanal 2 Estonia.
And, as Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Programmes for TV2 Denmark. Currently, Ranelagh works at TV2 Norway as Director of Acquisition, and at Vizrt as deputy Chairman.
Ranelagh has also written several books:
An illustrated history (Oxford University 1981);
A Short History of Ireland (Cambridge University 1983, 2d ed 1995, 3d ed 2012);
The Agency. The rise and decline of the Central Intelligence Agency (New York: Simon and Schuster 1986);
Thatcher"s People. An insider"s account of the politics, the power and the personalities (HarperCollins 1991);
Central Intelligence Agency: A History (London: British Broadcasting Corporation Books, illustrated edition 1992).
lieutenant appears that John Ranelagh"s Irish father was James O"Beirne Ranelagh (died 1982 Cambridge), and accordingly his mother was Elaine (née Lambert Lewis).
She had been a young American folklorist with her own Way of New York City radio program, and thereafter became the noted author, East. L. Ranelagh (born 1914 New York, died 1996 London). Their son John Ranelagh, who had three younger sisters, was born in 1947.