Where the '90s Blue Peter presenters are now – from a cocaine sacking to messy divorces and sexual assault allegations
BLUE Peter is one of the nation’s most loved children’s TV shows, still going strong over 60 years on from when it started on 16 October 1958.
The BBC show has seen over 40 presenters over the years, and is currently hosted by Lindsey Russell, Richie Driss, Mwaka Mudenda and Adam Beales.
But arguably some of the most well-known faces to come out of the show are from the ‘90s. And they are also the ones who have had the most dramatic lives since leaving the telly institution.
Most recently, Katy Hill – who presented the show from 1995 to 2000 – revealed she almost died in a “horrendous” fall 18 months ago.
Katy, 50, has been left with a huge scar down the middle of her forehead after she tripped over a step, while rushing her daughter to the toilet, and went head first into the lid of the toilet.
"It was horrendous; the doctors were stitching me up for an hour," she told Hello! Magazine.
Katy explained how doctors told her the human skull is really thin just above the eyebrow and to the side.
They told her that people have died simply by a magazine hitting them in that part of the head so admitted how lucky she feels – and it’s fueled her desire to become a personal development coach.
"I realised how life can change in a split second," she continued. "On Blue Peter I encouraged others to play big and face their fears and that's what I do now."
But Katy’s story isn’t the most dramatic one from the ‘90s era of Blue Peter presenters. Here we reveal what happened to the others…
Accused of sexual harassment
John Leslie presented Blue Peter from 1989 to 1994 and went on to present This Morning alongside Fern Britton in 1999.
But the 56-year-old presenter was sacked from the show and replaced with Phillip Schofield in 2002 when he was mistakenly identified on live telly as the unnamed alleged rapist in his former girlfriend Ulrika Jonsson’s autobiography.
Leslie was named as Ulrika's alleged attacker by chat show host Matthew Wright.
She had sparked rumours with an autobiography saying she was raped by a TV presenter in 1988 – around the time she briefly dated John- but did not name the man or report it to police. He has always denied wrongdoing.
John has said how his life changed completely from then on.
In 2003, he was accused of indecent assault by a woman, but those charges were later dropped.
Then, he was rocked by another allegation in 2008, when he was accused of grabbing a woman’s breasts after shaking hands with her at a pre-Christmas party in London.
The presenter was only found not guilty last year – after a jury at the Southwark Crown Court deliberated for just 23 minutes – and he collapsed in his chair when he heard the news.
Following the trial, John shared a picture of himself looking out into the sunset, and wrote: "Thank you to everybody who has supported me through this ordeal.
"I will be spending some time putting my family back together again."
He also went public with his girlfriend, Kate Moore, 28, after the trial – and seems to be happier than ever.
They spent the first lockdown together and as their relationship grew Kate introduced him to both her mum and nan.
A friend of the couple previously told The Sun: “John was particularly worried about the age gap, and how people might interpret his new girl.
“But now the pair has decided to make a go of it publicly.
“They are really into each other, and have decided not to worry about what other people think.
“She is living full-time with John and they are planning their future – including buying a house together.”
Two messy divorces
After leaving Blue Peter in 1994, after two years at the helm, Anthea Turner, now 61, went on to present GMTV alongside Eamonn Holmes.
She was the second-highest-paid female presenter on telly.
But, while her career trajectory was on the up, Anthea’s love life was a little more rocky.
Anthea was married to former DJ Peter Powell in the 90s.
However, in 1998, she met property developer Grant Bovey – who was also married – and they both left their respective partners for each other.
They got married in 2000, but were unable to have children together despite several rounds of IVF treatment.
They ended their marriage in 2013, after he was linked to interior designer Zoe de Mallet Morgan, a woman 26 years his junior.
The presenter later revealed that Grant, who had three kids from his previous marriage, told her they may still be together if they’d been able to have kids.
She told Hello! magazine: "I did once ask [Grant] if he would have stayed if we'd had our own children, to which he replied, 'Possibly'.
"I shall never know, of course, but I can't pretend that wasn't painful to hear.
"It was a double blow, I guess."
Anthea is now set to marry her businessman boyfriend Mark Armstrong, after a very quick engagement in 2019.
They were supposed to wed last year, but COVID put paid to that.
More recently, Anthea – who was back on our screens last year on Channel 4’s Celebrity SAS – has come under fire for breaching lockdown rules by hosting a secret pamper party for at least five friends at her £700,000 apartment.
At the time, lockdown laws banned households from mixing, while mobile hairdressing and beauty treatments were also outlawed.
However, Anthea enjoyed professional hair trims, colouring, eyebrow tints, massages, manicures and pedicures at a boozy event she had called a Secret Supper.
To make matters worse, the gathering came after Anthea shared a cartoon online that appeared to blame the obese for the health crisis.
Anthea later apologised, calling the move “clumsy”.
Sacked for using cocaine
On 19th October, 1998, Richard Bacon became the first ever Blue Peter presenter to have his contract ended halfway through, after reports came out about him taking cocaine.
The then Head of BBC children's programmes Lorraine Heggessey was forced to go on air to explain Richard’s sudden dismissal to the show’s young viewers, and he was required to hand his Blue Peter badge back in.
Despite a short 18 months on Blue Peter, Richard went on to present The Big Breakfast from 2001 to its final episode the following year.
He then presented shows on Radio 5 Live from 2007 until 2014.
But these days, he is a very successful TV producer, living in a £4.3million LA mansion, with a garden overlooked by Ariana Grande.
And, in May last year, following the success of his US game show The Hustler, he signed a major deal with NBC Universal, the makers of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, to create TV formats.
Richard believes he’d never have been able to continue his success if social media had been around in 1998.
“My experience on Blue Peter would have been very different if social media had been around,” he previously told The Sun. “The intensity of the storm is even more fierce and more frightening now.
“If you’re caught up in a massive scandal there are probably tens of thousands of tweets about you.”
Richard moved to LA in 2014, with his wife of 13 years Rebecca, and children, Arthur, 10, and seven-year-old Ivy.
But it hasn’t all been rosy for Richard, as he had a near-fatal double lung infection in 2018.
He became ill on a flight from the US and was put in an induced coma after he failed to respond to treatment for pneumonia.
Richard recalled: “The doctor said to me after I recovered, ‘If you get a critical illness in the next five years you’re 20 per cent more likely to die.
“So don’t get a critical illness in the next five years’. A year and a half after that, the pandemic hits.”
As a vulnerable person, Richard was forced to isolate, but, luckily he had the LA sunshine to distract himself, as well as creating his most recent hit show, This Is My House, for the BBC.
The show, hosted by Stacey Dooley, was met with rave reviews, and Richard is now busy developing memory quiz show I Literally Just Told You for Channel 4 and NBC.
Accused of harassment
Diane-Louise Jordan was the first ever black presenter of Blue Peter, hosting the show from 1990 to 1996.
The 60-year-old later went on to present Songs of Praise, but her life away from the telly hasn’t always been so peaceful.
In 2014, Diane was handed a Police Information Notice after her ex son-in-law’s lover Kayla Thomas complained to police she was harassed by her, something that would later be proved to be false.
Diane has explained how although the PIN didn’t mean she had a criminal record, it did mean she struggled to get work sometimes – especially as she works with children’s charities.
However, three years later, Kayla got an 18-month suspended jail term at Cambridge crown court after she admitted perverting the course of justice.
At the time, Diane said: “There’s a sense of relief that I have been completely exonerated.
"I knew I was innocent, but it’s good a court of law has realised that that’s the case.
“I’m hoping now, as far as the family is concerned there is a line drawn under it.
“Hopefully at some point there will be reconciliation.”
A sudden death
Simon Thomas, 48, was one of the later ‘90s presenters of Blue Peter, having presented the show from 1999 to 2005.
He went on to host the Premier League football on Sky Sports.
But his life was turned upside down in November 2017 when his wife Gemma tragically died just three days after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.
He met his new girlfriend, Derrina Jebb, in late 2018, through his church, and has revealed how much she’s helped heal him and his eight-year-old son, Ethan.
He previously told The Sun: “Where we were two-and-a-half years ago is light years away from where we are now. Derrina has brought so much love, happiness and laughter to my life and Ethan’s."
He also revealed how she’d been a massive help in lockdown with homeschooling Ethan.
“I have loved getting to spend lots of time with Derrina and Ethan and whilst homeschooling has been somewhat challenging at times, we’ve had some good times too, especially Joe Wicks’ PE lessons and expanding our cooking repertoires,” he said.
He even returned to presenting football in November 2020.
Axed from Xtra Factor
Konnie Huq holds the record for the longest-running female host of Blue Peter, having presented the show from 1997 until 2008.
Since her Blue Peter days, she has worked on various television and radio shows including The Xtra Factor.
She also got married to Black Mirror writer Charlie Brooker in 2010, and they have two children, Covey, nine, and Huxley, seven, together.
But Konnie now focuses on writing children’s books.
After being sacked from the X Factor spin-off show in 2010, she even named a villain in one of her children’s books after Simon Cowell.
The character, Simon Scowl, is a petulant judge on telly reality show Kingdom’s Got Talent in her retelling of classic children’s stories, Konnie’s Fearless Fairytales.
Presenter in LA
Tim Vincent presented Blue Peter from 1993 to 1997.
And over 25 years later, he’s still working as a TV presenter, splitting his time between London and Los Angeles.
He even reported on the birth of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son, Archie, for Access Hollywood.
Tim put his skating skills to the test on Dancing on Ice in 2008, and was the fifth contestant to be eliminated.
But, these days, he’s focusing on his two-year-old twin sons, Felix and Jasper, who he shares with his partner, Gemma Charles.
Stuart Miles presented Blue Peter from 1994 to 1999, but has stepped away from the limelight since.
Instead, the 52-year-old has made a skincare, diet and exercise programme to prolong youthfulness, called Miles Younger.
On his website, Stuart explains: “Over the years I saw others looking really amazing for their age, which was great, but I just didn’t want to spend hundreds of pounds on cosmetic facial treatments that might only last 3 months.
“Also, I don’t really like needles and I guess, like most men, I shy away from these kinds of treatments.
“Instead, I have tried to follow a healthy lifestyle regime that covers skin, hair, diet and supplements to help prolong a naturally youthful look for as long as possible.”
It’s safe to say the former Blue Peter presenters are a varied bunch!
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