Belfast Telegraph

John Noakes dies aged 83 - ex-Blue Peter presenter loses battle with Alzheimer’s

Former Blue Peter presenter John Noakes has died aged 83, his agent has confirmed.

His family said he died "peacefully in his sleep" on Sunday morning after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Family friend, Wendy Downes, said in a statement: "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 many escapades with his faithful companion Shep, during his time with Blue Peter, will live on in many peoples memories and that is how his family would like him remembered."

Northern Ireland's Zoe Salmon, who presented the show between 2004 and 2008, tweeted: "I am deeply saddened to hear about John Noakes, a Blue Peter legend who will live on in our hearts. Privileged to have met him."

Konnie Huq also took to Twitter to express her sorrow, writing: "He was a legend. So sad...", and included a link to a story about Noakes's death.

She later posted: "John Noakes. Best Blue Peter presenter ever. RIP. So sad."

Anthea Turner called the presenter a "Blue Peter favourite".

The Yorkshire-born star was Blue Peter's longest-serving presenter, making his debut on the BBC's children's show in 1965 and staying until 1978.

He developed a reputation as the show's action man, with feats including ascending Nelson's Column without a safety harness using just a rickety wooden ladder - a sound problem meant he had to repeat the climb - a bruising encounter with a bobsleigh and a record-breaking skydive.

As well as being the show's daredevil, Noakes was also known for his partnership with canine stars of the programme, Patch - the first Blue Peter dog Petra's puppy - and the border collie Shep, who inspired Noakes's catchphrase: "Get down, Shep!"

As well as Blue Peter, Noakes made 1970s travelogue spin-off Go With Noakes, where he travelled around the UK with Shep alongside him.

When Noakes left Blue Peter, the BBC had let the presenter keep Shep but he was forbidden from using the dog in adverts.

He wrote a children's book, The Flight Of The Magic Clog, and appeared on reality shows I'm Famous And Frightened and Britain's Worst Celebrity Driver Live.

In 2015, Noakes was found near his home in Majorca after going missing for more than eight hours.

He was discovered in a storm drain, after being spotted by a police helicopter, not far from his home and taken to hospital in the city of Palma.

Police in Andratx on the south west of the Mediterranean island were alerted to his disappearance as temperatures reached almost 36C.

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