Simon Fanshawe was born in Devizes, England . He studied law at the University of Sussex (of which he is now a member of the governing Council) in Brighton, England and now lives in the Kemptown area of Brighton.
He contributes frequently to British newspapers and radio. He first came to public attention as a stand-up comedian (winning the prestigious Perrier Award in 1989) and on the television programme That's Life!.
Since then he has been a very frequent contributor on a variety of subjects from arts to politics in newspapers and on many BBC radio and TV programmes. (His BBC Radio 4 profile lightheartedly describes him as a "media tart".)
He has also been involved in many community/campaigning groups and public bodies - often as a board member. He led the campaign to make Brighton and Hove a city. He was a founding member of Stonewall. He is the chair of the board for the Brighton Festival Fringe.
In 2007 he presented the first programme in the BBC's Building Britain series, concentrating his attentions on three developments in Brighton and praising each of them, whilst pouring scorn on opponents to such developments. The schemes included the Brighton Marina's "Roaring Forties" tower block by Brunswick Developments.
Fanshawe was criticised both locally and nationally when it was revealed in the 6th July 2007 edition of Private Eye magazine that he was chairman of Midnight Communications, the public relations company working on the project.