'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.

Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Jenny Lee may have left, but Miranda Hart and the rest of the midwives deliver the goods

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams looks concerned as Arya Stark
Arts and Entertainment
photography Incredible images show London's skyline from its highest points
Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Shenaz Treasurywala
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump


Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all