Richard Bacon is a British TV and radio presenter born in Mansfield, England* on November 30th 1975.

After attending the prestigious Worksop College, Bacon chose to follow a tried and tested path into British media and became a teaboy at his local BBC radio station, BBC Radio Nottingham. This developed into a career as a news reporter which lasted for three years. In early '96, Bacon moved on from Radio Nottingham to the then new Live TV cable channel. With a staunchly tabloid sense (lack?) of style, Live TV was always going to be lowbrow dross, but his year there provided Bacon with valuable TV exposure as a reporter-cum-presenter.

His biggest break to date came in February 1997 when Bacon was given the opportunity to escape the doomed cable channel... and take the job of 24th presenter of the BBC's Blue Peter TV show. In the world of British TV, Blue Peter is something of an institution and by far the most famous and longest running children's programme. It must have come as a surprise to the literally dozens of Live TV viewers when Bacon was given a role in such a tightly-scripted, conservative show, given the madcap ad-libs he'd been doing with the News Bunny on cable. Cheery, chirpy 20-something presenters are much of a muchness, but Bacon certainly handled the job of making shite models out of sticky backed plastic pretty adequately and even went in for some of the action-man assignments that Blue Peter throws up, albeit in his characteristic goofy way. Unfortunately, the fun times of barefoot water-skiing were about to come to an abrupt end.

If his employment on Blue Peter was a surprise, his termination was something of a bombshell. In October 1998, a News of the World reporter caught Bacon snorting coke at a party and the tabloids ripped him to shreds. In no time at all the BBC's head of children's programmes, Lorraine Heggessey, was on telly delivering a sober address to the nation's kiddies telling them how Richard had not only let himself down; he'd let his fans down too. Bleh! Bacon took the flak, sat back and waited for the job offers roll in. 15 months later the BBC decided to give him a second chance and took him on for a low-profile teen series called Sussed, dealing with controversial issues, but notably not the issue of shovelling charlie up your nose and getting rumbled by the gutter press.

He followed up this minor success in March of 2000, when he was given the outside broadcast presenting job on Channel 4's The Big Breakfast. This was really a dream match up with the struggling Big Breakfast looking to revive its edgy image and Bacon getting back to a flying-by-the-seat-of-his-pants style of presenting. The job mostly involved running around housing estates at 8am trying to convince people to streak on live television... his alarmingly high success rate probably says more about the British populace's gullibility than Bacon's charm. However, all TV formats reach a point where they become tired and The Big Breakfast was no exception. In 2002, with Bacon at the helm as its main presenter, it was canned. On the last day Richard read a tribute to the show from Prince Charles of all people and the show was no more.

This new setback hasn't put a stop to Bacon's career: he currently presents a Sunday afternoon slot on London's popular XFM radio station and is a regular member of the panel on five's Sunday night discussion show The Vicious Circle. He's also presenting a quiz show called Rent Free (a.k.a. Get Staffed) on BBC Choice, a digital TV channel that nobody watches, and recently (2003-01-24) presented a couple of editions of Top of the Pops (thanks Catchpole).

I think the ongoing career of this cheeky chappy should surely be a lesson to the current crop of sickeningly clean-cut presenters of Blue Peter - Enjoy coke! It's good for your career! I'm sure anyone with a sense of humour would enjoy seeing Liz Barker fucked up on class As.

Footnote: There is a Tory backbench MP for South Norfolk with the same name. I'm hardly going to waste my time noding Conservatives though am I? Anyone?

*(Unless you believe IMDb which has his birthplace as Bishownath, Bangladesh)

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