Blue Peter star John Leslie joins presenters for show's birthday

John Leslie was reunited with former BBC colleagues on the blue carpet to celebrate 60 years of hit children's TV show Blue Peter.

Wednesday, 17th October 2018, 8:37 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th October 2018, 8:42 am
John Leslie attends Blue Peter's Big Birthday, celebrating the show's 60th anniversary, at the BBC Philharmonic Studio at Media City UK, Salford. Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The 53-year-old, who was the first Scottish presenter of the show in 1989, featured alongside Caron Keating, Yvette Fielding, Diane-Louise Jordan, Anthea Turner and Tim Vincent during a five-year stint on the programme.

Mr Leslie was charged with sexual assault in an Edinburgh nightclub in June last year ­during what was the alleged victim’s hen night.

However, he walked free from court after the claims were found not proven due to insufficient evidence.

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Peter Purves and Lesley Judd attend Blue Peter's Big Birthday, celebrating the show's 60th anniversary. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

He was back in the BBC fold yesterday wearing a tweed ­jacket and jeans on the blue carpet ahead of a special one-hour edition broadcast live on the CBBC channel.

Guests included Peter Purves, Valerie Singleton and Lesley Judd; Simon Groom, Sarah Green, Peter Duncan and Janet Ellis; Mark Curry and Yvette Fielding; John Leslie, Diane-Louise Jordan, Anthea Turner and Tim Vincent; Katy Hill, Romana D’Annunzio, Richard Bacon and Stuart Miles; Simon Thomas, Matt Baker, Liz Barker, Konnie Huq, Zoe Salmon and Gethin Jones and Andy Akinwolere, Joel Defries, Helen Skelton and Barney Harwood – along with current presenters Lindsey Russell and Radzi Chinyanganya.

Blue Peter now joins a very select handful of programmes to have been on British television continuously for at least 60 years, including Panorama and The Sky At Night.

Current Blue Peter editor Ewan Vinnicombe said: “Blue Peter is a very special club to be part of and the Big Birthday show is a moment to remember and one to watch for all generations of Blue Peter fans.”

The longest-running children’s TV series in the world first began at 5pm on October 16, 1958 and has broadcast 5,037 episodes.

Mr Leslie is one of 37 official presenters of Blue Peter.

John Noakes is the longest-serving member of the team, clocking up just over 12 years on the show between 1965 and 1978.

During Mr Leslie’s last show in 1993, he was challenged to abseil down BBC Television Centre before completing an obstacle course, a trampoline challenge and to conduct an orchestra in the studio.

Fans who missed Blue Peter’s Big Birthday can catch it on Saturday at 4.30pm on BBC2.