Why did Richard Bacon leave Blue Peter? Reason GMB host was sacked from children’s TV amid 90s drugs scandal

Bacon has been forced to skirt around the reasons behind his much publicised departure from the children’s TV show - so why did he leave?

Earlier this month, Richard Bacon returned to the Good Morning Britain desk to guest-host the ITV show following the departure of Piers Morgan.

The programme has featured a roster of guest stars since the exit of the controversial broadcaster in March, following his remarks about the Duchess of Sussex.

Former Big Breakfast presenter Bacon, who has previously filled in for Morgan on GMB, was drafted in to host for four days between 18 and 23 August.

That four-date run concluded today (23 August), an appearance during which Bacon sat opposite Ranvir Singh.

But unfortunately for the presenter, it was the second time within days that he was forced to address his infamous stint as a Blue Peter presenter, which ended in controversy in the 90s.

Bacon mostly side-stepped making direct reference to the circumstances around his departure, which left many fans wondering, what exactly happened to force his children’s TV exit?

Here is everything you need to know.

When was Richard Bacon on Blue Peter?

While Blue Peter was Bacon’s big break in media, he had been working as a presenter for a number of years prior to his appointment.

His first job was as a reporter for BBC Radio Nottingham, and just a year before his Blue Peter hiring he made the jump to television as a reporter on the now defunct L!VE TV channel.

In February 1997, he received his big break when he joined the BBC’s flagship children’s television show as a presenter alongside Romana D’Annunzio, Katy Hill, Konnie Huq, and Stuart Miles.

But 18 months later, in October 1998, he became the programme’s first presenter to have their contract terminated mid-series.

Why was he fired?

Bacon was dismissed from the programme after the News of the World newspaper reported he had taken cocaine.

The then Head of BBC children's programmes went on air to explain Bacon's dismissal to CBBC viewers, and the presenter was required to return his Blue Peter badge upon his dismissal.

Fortunately for Bacon, his career managed to escape the scandal relatively unscathed, and he has since gone on to continue presenting, including on TV shows like Good Morning Britain, and radio stations including Capital FM and BBC Radio Five Live.

What has he said about the scandal?

Bacon spoke in depth about the incident earlier this year when he gave an interview to The Sun, and said the experience of being sacked from such a high-profile job would be “more frightening” if it played out on social media.

“My experience on Blue Peter would have been very different if social media had been around. The intensity of the storm is even more fierce and more frightening now,” he said.

“If you’re caught up in a massive scandal there are probably tens of thousands of tweets about you.”

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