I've been away on holiday but now I'm home I just wanted to say a few words about John Noakes, who sadly passed away this week.
John was a TV presenter on the UK television show Blue Peter. He was part of the classic Sixties trio together with Valerie Singleton and Peter Purves.
Of all the passings this year it's John's which has upset me the most.
At a time when there were only two TV channels in the UK in the Sixties Blue Peter, like Thunderbirds, was a real jewel among the many fine gems found on children's television back then. Its magazine format with regular features and exciting stunts was the perfect antidote to a day at school and Noakesy was at its heart.
His Yorkshire accent was a tonic and his boyish personality really made the show. His trademark stunts like jumping from a plane were always a hoot and his relationship with his dog Shep always a pleasure to see and often hilarious. I can hear him saying Get Down Shep now in his earthy Halifax voice even now.
Probably like most kids at the time I watched Blue Peter every week, got to know the presenters well, could spot anything new on the studio displays, saw it progress from black and white to colour and marveled at the editor's name Biddy Baxter! I even got Blue Peter annuals at Christmas.
I ate my tea on my knees watching Blue Peter: steak pudding, chips, peas and gravy. Valerie, Peter and John were right there with us all as we lived our Sixties lives.
Childhood seems like a distant shifting shore right now but in those golden black and white to colour days John Noakes was centre-stage, climbing steeples, leaping from boats and walking elephants. He was our big brother, friend and teacher rolled into one.
Millions of us kids took him into our hearts back then, where I'm sure he stayed all this time, a flicker of more innocent times, a happy memory.
Alas, with John's passing a little bit of our own childhood has sadly died too.
God bless John,
We'll miss you