'Blue Peter' goes pink in cross-dressing Fringe show

Take one openly gay former Blue Peter presenter, dress him up in drag, add sexually explicit content and light lampooning of his former employers' obsession with their squeaky clean image, and you have a show that is definitely one for after the watershed.

Later this summer Stuart Miles, who fronted the wholesome children's show for five years, will take his experiences to the Edinburgh Fringe.

Entitled The Adventures of Pink Peter, the show features the former Blue Peter frontman appearing as four female characters, one of whom is Vera Singleton, an imaginary estranged sister of Valerie Singleton, one of the programme's longest-serving presenters.

"Vera" believes she is far more talented than her sister and should have won the Blue Peter slot instead. The real Valerie Singleton presented the world's longest-running children's programme between 1962 and 1972 and was the image of piety that the show's producers have always demanded of presenters.

The show, which runs for two weeks, also features a mock version of the kind of charity appeals frequently launched by the programme, and one of his characters making something on stage with sticky-back plastic.

The gentle digs at his former employers will not be lost on fans of Miles, who switched to stand-up comedy and presenting a daily show on the Gaydar radio station after leaving Blue Peter in 1999 amid much controversy.

Alongside fellow presenters Konnie Huq, Katy Hill and Richard Bacon, Miles was part of the wholesome quartet who presented Blue Peter during the late 1990s. That image was shattered when Bacon was fired after being caught taking cocaine. Miles ruffled BBC feathers further by resigning from the show shortly afterwards in protest at the way senior executives had handled Bacon's sacking.

He criticised the programme heavily for no longer being relevant to children, calling it a "comfort blanket for a lot of people".

Miles played down suggestions that he was targeting Blue Peter, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and said his show was simply fun.

"There is a subtle link to Blue Peter but any references are nostalgic and affectionate," he said. "I'm proud of my time at Blue Peter, it gave me a lot of opportunities and I wouldn't be where I am today without it."

Miles admitted it was his time on the show that will draw the Edinburgh crowds: "It is about bums on seats and what people know me for is Blue Peter."

Blue Peter's presenters have a long history of being caught in "scandals" that dented the show's prim and proper image. Anita West was forced to leave in 1962 because she was getting divorced and Christopher Trace, one of the original hosts, was sacked after an affair with a 19-year-old. Michael Sundin was photographed in a gay strip club and Peter Duncan was revealed to have previously appeared naked in a film. Not even Valerie Singleton has escaped scrutiny. Last month she hinted on a celebrity version of The Weakest Link that she may have been romantically involved with her co-host Peter Purves.

Miles hopes to persuade Singleton to see the show. "I'd love it," he said. "I know she has a wicked sense of humour."

Presenters who walked the plank

*Richard Bacon

Sacked in 1998 after a tabloid report of his 12-hour booze and drugs binge. Miles, a friend of Bacon, criticised how the BBC handled the sacking, resigned and called on the show to tackle more child-related issues such as divorce and drugs.

*Michael Sundin

Dismissed in October 1985 after photographs of him stripping in a gay club appeared in a newspaper. A spokesman for the programme said later that Sundin was fired because "children didn't like him ... nothing to do with his sexual proclivities".

*Anita West

The former actress lasted only 16 episodes as a Blue Peter presenter before being sacked in 1962 because of her imminent divorce from the musician Ray Ellington. A decade later her successor, Lesley Judd, survived divorcing her husband.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week