Former Blue Peter presenter John Noakes has died at the age of 83.
Noakes, who was at the helm of the series in the 1960s and 70s and remains its longest serving presenter of all time, passed away after suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.
“He had endured and suffered from Alzheimer’s over recent years and whilst he will be greatly missed by his wife, family and many friends his release from continuing ill health must be counted as a blessing,” his family said in a statement.
“His many escapades with his faithful companion Shep, during his time with Blue Peter, will live on in many peoples memories. That is how his family would like him remembered.”
Noakes, who was born in the West Yorkshire village of Shelf, became something of an action man during his Blue Peter days, famously climbing Nelson’s Column without a harness in 1977 and holding the British civilian freefall parachuting record (at the time it was 25,000 feet) during his tenure.
He worked alongside numerous presenters but when he joined forces with Peter Purves and Valerie Singleton the trio created what is often dubbed the ‘classic’ Blue Peter presenting line-up.
However, it’s his double act with notoriously disobedient dog Shep that Noakes is probably best remembered for. “Get down Shep” remains one of the presenter’s most famous catchphrases. I
t’s little wonder, then, that the duo landed their own series of adventures during Noakes’ final years on the BBC series. Go With Noakes saw Shep and his master travelling the length and breadth of the country for their own wacky adventures.
BBC Director-General, Tony Hall, said: “John Noakes was one of the BBC’s most loved children’s presenters. He was a warm and engaging presenter who appealed to all ages and provided children’s TV with some of its most memorable moments. He will be missed by his many friends and family.”