The Blue Peter lothario (well, Valerie Singleton admitted to a brief affair with him so that makes him a lothario in our books) is now 74 and lives in Suffolk with his second wife, Kathryn. Unlike his co-presenter John Noakes, Purves managed to carve out a successful post BP career and even the dog he was given – Petra – saw him earn a place presenting Crufts (thus scaling the kind of giddy heights that Noakes and his beloved dog Shep could only have dreamed of).
Other work includes presenting shows such as BBC1 motorcycling programme Kick Start and working as a pantomime director (directing more than 30 productions) and appearing as an after dinner speaker.
Describing himself as a “terribly ordinary…. very straightforward and simple sort of person” he has expressed a degree of embarrassment in interviews about his sexually adventurous youth – especially regarding Singleton’s claim that he gave her a BSE – big sexual experience – when they worked on the show.
Avert your eyes and ears children.
On Blue Peter: 30 December 1965 – 26 June 1978
Yorkshireman and pre-Peter Duncan Blue Peter action man, John Noakes is probably the grumpiest BP alumnus, if his many appearances on reminscence shows are anything to go by. Still, he looks back fondly to his work with Purves: “It was a bit like an overgrown schoolboy’s job. I was Peter Pan really. I sometimes think I still am… Peter and me worked so well together, like Laurel and Hardy.” If the tastes of the BP ladies were anything to go by he was probably more Hardy than Laurel as Purves and not Noakes apparently pulled both Valerie Singleton and Lesley Judd.
Never one to shy away from criticising the show, which he said never paid him enough and should have insured him for all those cer-razy stunts of his, Noakes’ career was never quite the same post BP. Yes he remains the longest serving presenter (12 years and 6 months) and made Go With Noakes which he appeared on with his beloved Shep. But who remembers that?
He’s also written a children’s book, The Flight of the Magic Clog, and in 1982 tried (unsuccessfully) to sail around the world. He has more recently appeared on I’m Famous And Frightened and Worst Celebrity Driver and still lives, we believe, in Mallorca.
5 May 1978 to 23 June 1986
This writer’s favouritest ever presenter (I used to watch him walking his gorgeous Golden Retriever dog Goldie near my house in the early 1980’s) Groom was notable for making sexual innuendos; (“what a beautiful pair of knockers”, “as long as you have a good length you can always manage a good lay” etc.). Apparently the trick was to say them and get out of the studio before a furious Biddy Baxter could come down from the gallery above and berate him.
Groom had a cool side – he was spotted by the show when working as a DJ (stage name Neil St John) and enjoyed a stint presenting various TV and radio documentaries and remained the show’s countryside correspondent after he left in 1986.
He now lives in Matlock, Derbyshire where he heads his own television production company and has enjoyed his time presenting Groom’s Gold – “two hours of great music and nostalgia to brighten your weekend” for BBC Radio Sheffield.
23 June 1986 – 26 June 1989
One of the early 1980’s dream team of Curry, Keating and Fielding, this popular presenter has enjoyed a *ahem* quiet life since leaving the show, appearing in panto, satellite TV travel shows, hosting Catchphrase and having a bit part in Last Of The Summer Wine.
He also co-presented Record Breakers for a while, so it is clear that his main interests appear to be outside TV. A qualified tennis coach, he has commentated at Wimbledon for BBC Radio 5, Radio Wimbledon and for Talk Radio Europe and in 2009 married his long-term partner Jeremy Sandle in a civil ceremony.
On Blue Peter: 11 September 1980 to 18 June 1984 9 September 1985 to 27 November 1986
One of the most popular presenters, famed for running marathons and for his daredevil stunts, he was unusual for enjoying two separate stints on the show – between 1980 and 1984 and 1985 to 1986 sandwiching the unhappy career of the late Michael Sundin who was fired by Biddy Baxter (allegedly for not gelling with the audiences).
Daredevilry saw Duncan win many fans and he was given the show Duncan Dares after he left BP for good. Also enjoyed appearances on stage – he was nominated for an Olivier Award for best actor in a musical – and for raising the profile of the Scouts when he worked as Chief Scout between 2004 and 2009.
16 December 1993 – 24 January 1997
One of the most successful BP presenters, this son of the Valleys (by which we mean he’s Welsh) was already a successful actor when he joined the show, and combined his presenting work by playing Marty in two series of the BBC1 drama Dangerfield and as a presenter on The Clothes Show.
He left the show in 1997 and later presented the Saturday show Fully Booked before returning to play vet Adam Forrester in Emmerdale. Vincent also appeared on stage where roles have incdued the priapic gamekeeper Mellors in a stage production of Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
He now lives in LA where he presents NBC’s Access Hollywood, one of America’s most watched shows.
23 June 1995 – 19 June 2000
A popular girl next door-style presenter, Hill left the show to become one of the four presenters hired to replace Zoe Ball and Jamie Theakston on Live and Kicking. Unfortunately, poor ratings saw her quit less than a year later, but she has since managed to land presenting gigs on Top of the Pops, Football Fever and the weekend breakfast show on 95.8 Capital FM.
Hill also came second in Channel 4 reality show The Games. Married to fellow TV presenter Trey Farley she has two children and lives in West London.
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news