Here's one he did not declare earlier: 'Blue Peter' star sacked

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The Independent Online
THE Blue Peter presenter Richard Bacon will need more than a kitchen- roll tube and some sticky-back plastic to get out of this one.

He has been sacked from the children's television show, which is celebrating its 40th birthday, after admitting in a Sunday newspaper that he took cocaine. The newspaper tracked Bacon, who has been on the show for two years, around three London nightclubs and to a drug dealers' home before confronting him.

The revelation came just hours before the programme won a television achievement award. Bacon was a notable absentee at last night's third British Academy Children's Awards where his colleagues picked up the special award given in recognition of the programme's "outstanding contribution to children's television".

Rapturous applause greeted fellow presenters Stuart Miles and Katy Hill as they stepped on stage at the ceremony at Thorpe Park, Surrey. No mention of the disgraced 22-year-old Bacon was made.

Earlier in the day, he had apologised in a statement, saying: "I fully accept and agree with the decision that has been taken ... I am very grateful to Blue Peter for the opportunity it has given me and am very sorry that I have let everybody down."

Lorraine Heggessey, head of BBC children's programmes, 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.

"For 40 years, Blue Peter has been a force for good, providing positive role models for children to follow and helping them to become responsible and caring adults. It is vital that nothing tarnishes that reputation.

"Richard accepts that he left us no option but to terminate his contract immediately. He regrets his actions and has apologised to the Blue Peter team and to all Blue Peter viewers."

It is not the first time Blue Peter presenters have attracted the wrong sort of attention in the tabloids. In the early Eighties, presenter Peter Duncan's role in a porn film was unearthed and another, Michael Sundin, was filmed dancing with a male stripper in a gay nightclub.

BBC chiefs are figuring out how to break the news to viewers when this afternoon's pre-recorded show is broadcast.