Heart-stopping TV from 50 years ago


You really HAVE to take 10 minutes out of your busy day to watch this – please!  You’ll love it…unless you’re scared of heights.

A few days ago, Twitter was a-tweet with the news that a man called John Noakes had gone missing – thankfully temporarily –  from his home in Mallorca.  Now, to anyone under about 40 and not British his name probably means little.  But those of us of a certain age ALL know him, for he co-presented “Blue Peter”, a twice-weekly BBC kids’ show that, quite simply, everyone in the playground watched. (It’s still running.  My kids have never watched it.)

shep2It was sad to learn that John is now 81 and suffering from dementia.  Sad not only for his sake, but – selfishly – as a reminder that we’re all getting older.

Yet, in our memories, John Noakes is forever young, forever daft, forever a daredevil, doing incredibly dangerous stunts for the show – like the one in the clip below.  The idea of sending a presenter out on such an assignment would these days be unimaginable.

I’ve seen interviews with John Noakes in which he has bemoaned the recklessness of the assignments: there were no health-and-safety precautions, nor even any insurance.  I don’t doubt that, in hindsight, he was unhappy about it – although I rather wish he had kept his misgivings to himself, the better for us to marvel at his daring.

Incidentally, in 1971 John acquired Shep, a lively border collie which appeared with him on Blue Peter.  The following year, my family also got a border collie, Sheba, inspired by Shep.  And when, four years ago, I decided to become a dog owner again, it was another border, Jess: all thanks to John Noakes and Shep.

Back to blog

When We Got Lost in Dreamland

When 11 year-old Malky and his younger brother Seb become the owners of a “Dreaminator”, they are thrust into worlds beyond their wildest imagination. But impossible dreams come with incredible risks...

More Info

The Kid Who Came From Space

A small village in the wilds of Northumberland is rocked by the disappearance of twelve-year-old Tammy. Only her twin brother, Ethan, knows she is safe – and the extraordinary truth of where she is. It is a secret he must keep, or risk never seeing her again.

More Info

The Dog Who Saved The World

My pet dog is called Mr Mash. We named him that because he's a mishmash. A total mongrel. He smells terrible. He'll eat literally anything. He can't see very well. But I love him more than anything. (Sorry dad.) And without him, the world is going to end...

More Info

The 1,000-year-old Boy

There are stories about people who want to live forever. This is a story about someone who wants to stop.

More Info

What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible

Turning invisible at will: it’s one way of curing your acne. But far more drastic than 13 year-old Ethel Leatherhead intended when she tried a combination of untested medicines and a sunbed.

More Info

Time Travelling With A Hamster

My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty nine, and again four years later when he was twelve.

More Info