Mansfield-born broadcaster Richard Bacon has shut down rumours he snorted cocaine off the two Blue Peter tortoises.
The 45-year-old presenter, who grew up in the North Nottinghamshire town, was fired from the children’s TV show 23 years ago – sparking rumours of the tortoise incidents.
However, The Mirror reports that the broadcaster has moved to put these 23-year-old rumours to bed.
Appearing on Dave show Unforgivable, where the events surrounding his Blue Peter firing came up, host Mel Giedroyc made reference to the show’s tortoises Fred and Frieda.
She asked: “Do you remember Fred and Frieda the tortoises? Big white lines.”
This shocked guest Judi Love, who didn’t know about Richard’s past on Blue Peter and the reasons for his dismissal.
Not understanding what had happened, Judi queried: “He gave them coke?”
Richard jumped in to put the record straight, saying: “I didn’t give any tortoises coke. So I got fired for taking drugs.”
The firing had come up as Judi asked Richard: “Why did you leave, what happened?”
Fellow guest Jimmy Carr couldn’t believe that she hadn’t heard the details of one of the most infamous sackings in TV history.
Richard revealed he got “fired for punctuality”, before adding: “Because if you take a lot of coke you’re always late.”
He went on to jokingly add: “They would shout “that’s a wrap” and I would shout ‘where?’.”
At the time, when Richard was 22, he was 18 months into the role on Blue Peter when he admitted taking cocaine in a nightclub.
A BBC statement from Lorraine Heggessey at the time was damning of his actions, saying: “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.”
After being told that he would never work in television again, Richard went on to forge a successful career on radio and with the BBC and Channel 4.
In October 2018, he went full circle and returned to the show to mark its 60th anniversary.
He wrote on social media at the time: “In a day they (and I) said would never come, I’ll be back on Blue Peter.”
The Mansfield-born broadcaster has also recently spoken out about the moment his smart speaker almost revealed his drug-laden past, when his son Arthur and daughter Ivy asked Alexa who their dad was.
Richard told Andy Coulson’s Crisis What Crisis? podcast that he had to shout ‘stop’ when the answer was about to be revealed.