Why are they famous? John Noakes

MAIN CLAIM: Venerable old man of children's television who influenced a generation as a Blue Peter presenter from 1966 to 1978. He was the Intrepid One: forever climbing up high things and jumping off them - and uninsured, too, unlike the wussy young whippersnappers that are today's BP anchors. Provided first glimpse of naked male bottom for many impressionable young girls, when he displayed his bruises from the Cresta Run (he slipped off the bobsleigh and finished the slide on his backside). Now returning to our screens to front a new series, Mad About Pets, in which he will travel the country to find "the most talented, bravest, craziest and podgiest pets". Hurrah! Because yet more programmes about talented, brave, crazy and podgy pets are just what we all want to see.

APPEARANCE: Then: eager young puppy, scampering about ready for anything. Permanently-sandalled Youth Group Leader, but still dashing enough to appeal to the Brownie pack. Earnest chair of the Students' Union Real Ale and Geology Society. Now: still all the above, but with grey hair. Well, he is 64.

ANIMAL MAGNETISM? In spades. His furry sidekick Shep gave rise to one of the wittiest catchphrases of the small screen, "Get down, Shep!" Famously unruffled when a guest elephant copiously and unexpectedly anointed the studio, to the glee of children up and down the land, and then stepped on his foot.

FAME AND FORTUNE: Kids' telly is a notorious career graveyard (see Johnny Morris, Johnny Ball, etc etc). Noaksey went on to front Go With Noakes and has since attempted various low-key "comebacks". Not helped by the fact that he left the BBC under a cloud - he was allowed to keep Shep, but only on the grounds that the furry one's artistic integrity remain uncompromised: ie no dog food commercials. Subsequent sulk lasted years; he stalked off to live in Majorca and bum round the Med on his yacht. Majorca is lacking in Harry Ramsden's fish and chips. "I wish he'd send me a packet of frozen," says a nostalgic John.

NOT WHAT HE SEEMS: Says that his open persona is naught but a sham: an alter-ego he calls Idiot Noakes. "Idiot Noakes has an extrovert personality, is light-hearted and jokey. A bit of a buffoon who would do anything for a laugh or a few pence." Off-screen, he says, he is about as extrovert as - well, any other native of Halifax. "I switch the personality on when I turn up to do the job, and off when I leave."

FAME PROSPECTS: Dour Yorkshiremen tend not to scale the heights in television. But bring back Idiot Noakes and who knows? Podgy pets could be just the start of a glorious renaissance.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

    £20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

    Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

    £24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

    Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

    Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

    Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

    Day In a Page

    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
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there