Richard Bacon denies snorting cocaine off a ‘Blue Peter’ tortoise

"I got fired for punctuality..."

Former Blue Peter host Richard Bacon has jokingly denied the involvement of tortoises in his notorious sacking from the show.

Speaking to Jimmy Carr and Judi Love on Unforgivable, per the Independent, Bacon joked: “I got fired for punctuality because if you take a lot of coke you’re always late.”

The host was fired in 1998 after taking cocaine during a 12-hour drinking binge, a week after Blue Peter’s 40th anniversary celebrations.


Recalling an urban legend which recently resurfaced on Twitter, Unforgivable host Mel Giedroyc asked Bacon whether he had snorted the drug off one of the show’s tortoises.

“Do you remember Fred and Frieda the tortoises? Big white lines,” she said.

“I didn’t give any tortoises coke,” Bacon responded. “So I got fired for taking drugs.”

At the time of the highly publicised firing, head of the BBC Children’s Programming Lorraine Heggessy had said: “It is sad that such a talented presenter as Richard Bacon has not only let himself and his colleagues down but, most important of all, he has let down the millions of children who watch Blue Peter.”


Richard Bacon was then invited back in to the Blue Peter community 20 years later, where he was awarded a Blue Peter badge at the 60th anniversary celebrations by Peter Purves.

In 2019, Sir Paul McCartney was awarded a prestigious gold Blue Peter badge in honour of his music career. Other gold Blue Peter badge owners include The Queen, Sir David Attenborough, JK Rowling, Steven Spielberg, Mary Berry, David Beckham, Ed Sheeran and Madonna.