Richard Bacon has shut down rumours he snorted cocaine off the two Blue Peter tortoises, 23 years after being fired from the childrens’ TV show.
The presenter, 45, reflected on the past drugs scandal which saw him sacked from the programme in 1998, during an appearance on Dave show Unforgivable.
During his appearance, the topic of why he left the series came up with host Mel Giedroyc probing about the two animals called Fred and Frieda.
It’s not true! Richard Bacon has shut down rumours he snorted cocaine off the two Blue Peter tortoises, 23 years after being fired from the childrens’ TV show (pictured in 1997)
She asked: ‘Do you remember Fred and Frieda the tortoises? Big white lines.’
Guest Judi Love, who hadn’t heard of Richard’s past on Blue Peter, misunderstood what Mel was getting at as she sounded surprised and asked: ‘He gave them coke?’
Quick to put a stop to any more rumours, Richard told her: ‘I didn’t give any tortoises coke. So I got fired for taking drugs.’
Judi had kicked off the conversation when she innocently asked ‘why did you leave, what happened?’ as the guests, which also included comedian Jimmy Carr, chatted about Richard’s former life as a Blue Peter presenter.
Show pets: Mel Giedroyc had asked Richard about the two Blue Peter animals called Fred and Frieda, with him quick to deny that anything had happened with the animals
After the panel all had a good laugh about her being oblivious to the infamous reason, Richard told her that he got ‘fired for punctuality’, adding: ‘Because if you take a lot of coke you’re always late.’
Lightheartedly reflecting on the event 23 years ago some more, Richard teased: ‘They would shout “that’s a wrap” and I would shout “where?”.’
Richard was just 18 months into his dream job at Blue Peter when he was fired at the age of 22 after admitting he took cocaine in a London nightclub.
At the time the BBC issued a statement from Lorraine Heggessey, head of children’s programmes, which said: ‘It is sad that such a talented presenter as Richard Bacon has not only let himself and his colleagues down but, most important of all, he has let down the millions of children who watch Blue Peter.’
All in the past: Richard also joked that he really got ‘fired for punctuality’ because ‘if you take a lot of coke you’re always late’ during his appearance on Dave show Unforgivable
How did she not know? Guest Judi Love didn’t realise Richard was fired amid a drug scandal in the 90s, sparking the celebrities to discuss it (Jimmy Car also pictured far left)
Moving on: Despite leaving Blue Peter in scandal, Richard returned for the show’s 60th anniversary episodes on 2018 (pictured far right with Anthea Turner, John Leslie, Diane-Louise Jordan, Tim Vincent and Katy Hill)
A producer told Bacon him he would never work in television again.
However more than two decades on, Richard’s career has seen him present multiple television programmes for the Corporation, as well as for Channel 4 and ITV.
He also made a return to Blue Peter in October 2018 for the show’s 60th anniversary show, writing: ‘In a day they (and I) said would never come, I’ll be back on Blue Peter.
The star then made light of his shock sacking in a further social media message, writing: ‘I can never hold down a job for long.
‘I’ve hosted a lot of shows in a lot of places. And yet the one I have the most affection for is the one I got fired from. Happy Birthday Blue Peter. I love you.’
Richard also revealed last June that he was given a nasty surprise when his son Arthur, eight, and daughter Ivy, six, asked an Alexa who their father was.
Back then: Richard was just 18 months into his dream job at Blue Peter when he was fired at the age of 22 after admitting he took cocaine in a London nightclub (pictured in 1997)
Speaking on Andy Coulson’s Crisis What Crisis? podcast the TV presenter admitted he had to jump in and tell the electronic device to ‘stop’ when his children, who he shares with wife Rebecca McFarlane, curiously asked about him.
He explained: ‘I am sitting in a room in my house in Los Angeles and there is one of those Amazon Alexas next to me and my kids said, “Oh Alexa, who is Richard Bacon?”
‘And it comes up straight away, “Richard Bacon is an English television presenter. He was fired from Blue Peter in 1998 for taking…”
‘I jumped in and said, “Alexa stop. Stop”. They said, “What are you saying stop for? Why did you get fired?”. And then they asked again.’
Richard then remarked at his surprise that his drug scandal was still ‘at the surface’ on the internet even two decades had passed.
Incident: Richard said his son Arthur and daughter Ivy (pictured with wife Rebecca Ferguson) asked their Alexa who their father was and he ‘jumped in and said, “Alexa stop. Stop”‘