One off special documentary John Noakes: TV Hero, airing on Saturday 9 December at 5.30pm on BBC Two, pays tribute to one of Britain’s true TV icons, by the people who knew him best.
John Noakes was definitely worthy of the TV Icon title and this doco celebrates some of his finest moments. The film is an appreciation of the extraordinary master of derring-do, featuring often astonishing – and equally often hilarious – archive, both classic and less well-known.
A health and safety officer’s nightmare, John Noakes famously climbed Nelson’s Column without a harness. He also scaled the hideously high mast of the HMS Ganges, achieved a five mile free-fall (earning himself a place in the Guinness World Record Books) and concussed himself on the Cresta Run, after which he revealed his bruises to the viewers… while wearing his wife Vicky’s knickers he had accidentally put on that morning in the dark!
The programme hears from his colleagues and co-workers, both behind and in front of camera, about what a wonderful companion he was in the studio too, making live television feel really live because he clearly loved it as much when things went wrong as when they worked.
His was a can-do quality, a have-a-go enthusiasm that endeared him to the nation. It made him a hero for viewers young and old – and set the bar for all TV presenters who followed him.
Noakes was also an actor and a showman who hid his true personality behind this Blue Peter persona. His madcap escapades were the adventures of his clowning invention – but he considered himself an ordinary bloke in the street.
Contributors include John’s wife of 55 years, Vicky; co-presenters Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves and Lesley Judd; along with Blue Peter bosses Biddy Baxter and Edward Barnes, plus the producers, directors and camera operators who kept up with Noakes’ epic adventures.
Executive Producer: Caroline Wright
Producer/Director: Verity Maidlow Cornwell
A BBC Studios production
John Noakes: TV Hero airs Saturday 9 December 2017 from 5.30pm-6.10pm on BBC Two.