It’s not nice to pick favourites, but we’d be lying if we said we didn’t have a special soft spot for John Noakes on Blue Peter. He and his beloved dog Shep were true highlights of our childhood, and we were heartbroken to learn of his death earlier this year. This December, the BBC are paying tribute to the presenter with a special documentary.
John Noakes: TV Hero is set to air on December 9 and will look back at many of his finest moments, both classic and less well-known. John was a truly fearless man - he famously climbed Nelson’s Column without a harness, took part in a five mile free-fall and concussed himself on the Cresta Run.
Watch him climbing Nelson's Column here:
Contributers include his wife of 55 years, Vicky, co-presenters Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves and Leslie Judd and many other friends and co-workers.
Former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis spoke to Yours recently about the documentary:
“I felt immense sadness when I heard the news [of John’s death]. I’ve just taken part in a BBC programme that’s a tribute to him as I watched him as a kid. He was the sort of person I wanted to be. He was brave and honest and true to himself and he’s one of the first people with a regional accent on TV- a different sound and a different type of person on the screen. He set the template for us.
“He unwittingly inspired me on Blue Peter. I don’t think you can imitate anyone as a presenter as although you are a version of yourself, it needs to be fairly true and certainly that style of I’ll have a go and if I fail, I’m going to learn from it that was his trump card. Because a lot of it on the films you can’t fake that reaction, you’re doing something too high up or cold to be anything other than honest. He is inimitable. He was a one-off but he definitely showed a way of doing things that was really engaging and funny. And kids love that.”
- John Noakes: TV Hero is set to air on BBC2 on December 9 at 5.30pm
- Other Christmas TV highlights