Blue Peter legend dies

Picture: Getty images

Blue Peter's John Noakes died on Sunday morning after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

The 83-year-old, beloved for his stint on the famous children’s TV show, was the longest serving presenter.

He was best known for his daring stunts and his pet dog Shep, who appeared alongside him - one of his well known phrases was "Get down Shep" as he tried to keep the excitable border collie calm.

The TV star was on the show in the 1960s and 70s, joining hosts including Valerie Singleton and Peter Purves.

Famed for carrying out impressive stunts on the show, he later went on to make several series of Go with Noakes.

As news of his death broke fans took to social media to express their grief and shared memories of watching him as children.

Close friend Wendy Downes confirmed the much-loved star's death this morning.

She said: "John Noakes, died peacefully on Sunday morning May 28th.

"He had endured and suffered from Alzheimer's over recent years and whilst he will be greatly missed by his wife, family and many friends his release from continuing ill health must be counted as a blessing.

"His many escapades with his faithful companion Shep, during his time with Blue Peter, will live on in many peoples memories and that is how his family would like him remembered."

In 1982 John and his wife set sail with the aim of travelling the world, but were shipwrecked in a hurricane.

The pair tried again and set sail in 1984 but got no further than Majorca and ended up settling.

Nearly two years ago John went missing while out walking near his home in Majorca.

His disappearance led to a huge search operation when he vanished during a very hot day for ten hours.

He had no water with him and there were fears he could become dangerously dehydrated in the heat.

The TV star was found apparently collapsed in a roadside storm drain less than a mile from his house and he was airlifted to hospital.

He had been living with Alzheimer's for a few years, his wife confirmed at the time, but his illness had only been known to a number of close friends and family.

At the time of his disappearance his former co-presenter Valerie Singleton wrote for the Daily Mail: "Working with John was the most delightfully chaotic experience of my television career. You never knew what he was going to do, or say, or forget to say.

"The John that viewers saw is exactly the same man in person — slightly mad and utterly fearless."

The man who fronted Blue Peter for 12 years and six months was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire and trained as an aircraft engine fitter for the RAF and BOAC before changing course and decided to become an actor.

He trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama before making his stage debut as a dog and a clown in a pantomime.

He later appeared on TV in the military police drama series Redcap and worked with comedian Cyril Fletcher.

He joined Blue Peter on December 30, 1965, alongside co-presenters Christoper Trace and Valerie Singleton.


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