Legendary BBC television presenter
John Noakes' career started when he
was brought in as a third presenter on the top-rating children
. Together with Peter Purves
and Valerie Singleton
created the glory years
of the programme.
John Noakes' blend of slightly desperate daredevil action sequences (nobody
who saw him being thrown out of an aeroplane with the Red Devils can
ever forget it), combined with his irrepressible Yorkshire sense of humour
made him an instant hit.
Whilst Noakes and Purves were unofficially vying for the title of
most popular Blue Peter presenter, the real battle was between the
Blue Peter pets. As well as the obligatory disappearing cats, Purves
had a retriever called Petra but Noakes managed to completely steal the
show with his Collie, Shep. Anybody who lived in Britain through the
1970s will remember John Noakes and Shep traipsing over the moors,
frolicking round the Blue Peter garden or just sitting patiently on the
For John Noakes, as with many ex-Blue Peter presenters, there was
life after the show. "Go With Noakes" was a series in which he and Shep
went wandering around the British Isles, pointing out the wonders and
scenery of this little island. And towards the end of the second series of
this programme, when Shep passed away, the nation mourned the loss of its
best-known dog. John Noakes continues to work for the BBC, and today is most
commonly found presenting the occasional news item on
Countryfile, a half-hour programme each Sunday
devoted to rural issues.
Finally, it is impossible to write about John Noakes without mentioning his
most famous catchphrase, the source of a thousand school playground jokes:
Down Shep, Down!