Richard Bacon (broadcaster)

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Richard Bacon
Richard bacon shirt.jpg
Richard Bacon in 2010
Richard Paul Bacon

(1975-11-30) 30 November 1975 (age 45)
Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England[citation needed]
EducationWorksop College, Nottinghamshire
(independent boarding school)
Alma materNottingham Trent University
Occupationtelevision and radio presenter
Years active1993–present
Spouse(s)Rebecca McFarlane (m. 2008)
ChildrenRoland Bacon

Richard Paul Bacon (born 30 November 1975)[1] is an English television and radio presenter. He is best known for being sacked as presenter of the children's show Blue Peter because of his illicit drug use. [2] He has since worked as a reporter or presenter on numerous television shows, including The Big Breakfast, and on ITV's Good Morning Britain as a stand-in presenter, and on radio stations including Capital FM, Xfm London and BBC Radio Five Live. In 2016, Bacon became the presenter of The National Geographic Channel's reboot of its documentary/panel discussion TV series, Explorer.

Early life and education[edit]

Bacon grew up in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, and was educated at St Peter's Church of England Primary School on Bellamy Road, followed by two independent schools, also in Nottinghamshire: at Wellow House School, a preparatory school on Newark Road in the village of Wellow, and then at Worksop College, a boarding school on Windmill Lane in the town of Worksop. He studied Business Studies with Electronics at Nottingham Trent University, but dropped out after a year.[3]

Life and career[edit]

His first job in the media was as a reporter for BBC Radio Nottingham, notably on the programme The Beat.[1] In February 1996, he joined L!VE TV as a reporter; this saw him being banned from the State Opening of Parliament, and having a beer thrown at him by Damon Albarn as he tried to interview him leaving a nightclub.[1]

Blue Peter[edit]

Bacon's television break was as a presenter on the children's show Blue Peter, which he joined on 21 February 1997.[1] He presented alongside Romana D'Annunzio, Katy Hill, Konnie Huq and Stuart Miles.[1] On 19 October 1998, he was the programme's first-ever presenter to have his contract terminated in mid-season,[1] after the tabloid newspaper News of the World published a report of Bacon taking cocaine. His tenure on the programme lasted just over 18 months. The then Head of BBC children's programmes Lorraine Heggessey went on air to explain Bacon's dismissal to CBBC viewers.[1] Bacon was required to return his Blue Peter badge upon his dismissal.[4]

TV career since Blue Peter[edit]

Bacon's television career survived the setback, and he has since presented such shows as The Big Breakfast, Top of the Pops, and reality TV shows Back To Reality and Castaway Exposed.

In August 2005, the band The Magic Numbers walked out of Top of the Pops, after Bacon made a remark that was widely thought to be about the body shape of members of the band; during rehearsals he referred to the band as a "big, fat melting pot of talent".[5]

Since 2006, he has narrated and presented BBC Three's series Most Annoying People.

Bacon guest-hosted ITV's This Morning during 2005, Channel 5's The Wright Stuff on several occasions during 2007 and 2008, and BBC Two's Something for the Weekend from 2008 to 2009. He was the narrator for series 1 to 3 of Sky's police documentary Brit Cops.

In late 2010, he presented Richard Bacon's Beer & Pizza Club on ITV4.[6] A second series aired in late 2011.[7] Just before the 2010 World Cup he hosted a show called World Cup's Most Shocking Moments, with Peter Crouch.

Bacon presented editions of BBC Three's Young Voters' Question Time. He has made several TV cameo appearances as himself, including Hotel Babylon in 2007 (in which his character hires escort girls to play Scrabble with him all night), the episode "Video Killed the Radio Star" of the TV series FM, an episode of The Thick of It (both in 2009) and an episode of Psychoville in 2011. In October 2011, he hosted BBC Three's Up for Hire, an interactive series over the course of five nights tackling one of Britain's biggest issues – youth unemployment.

In April 2012, he presented the Channel 4 television series Hidden Talent, each programme of which featured ordinary members of the public taking tests in certain fields or skills to identify any previously unidentified talent.[8]

On 13 January 2013, Bacon appeared on All Star Family Fortunes with his family playing against Louie Spence. On 25 November 2013, Bacon hosted one series of ITV's game show Show Me the Telly. On 8 December 2013, he guest-presented an episode of Sunday Scoop.

On 17 February 2014, he hosted a one-off show, Benefits Britain: The Debate, for Channel 4. In the same year he presented the live Channel 4 programme How Rich Are You?, about the UK economy.

In 2015, Bacon co-presented the first series of The Big Painting Challenge alongside Una Stubbs for BBC One, and sports show Eternal Glory for ITV. He also joined Reena Ninan as a substitute co-host of ABC's World News Now overnight and America This Morning news program.[9]

Beginning on 14 November 2016, the U.S. worldwide educational cable network National Geographic Channel debuted its "global" overhaul and rebranding of the channel with its entirely new primetime lineup that night: the much anticipated, multi-million-dollar docudrama miniseries Mars, followed by the reboot of Explorer, and then Star Talk, a lighthearted panel discussion series loosely centered around astrophysics and astronomy, hosted by astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Bacon became the presenter for the Explorer programme, which comprises several (usually three) short films, introduced by Bacon and shot from all over the world, involving matters of social, political, environmental, and/or humanitarian significance. Each film is then discussed before a live studio audience with Bacon moderating and usually includes the filmmaker or another representative of the film. Then, at least one expert on either side of the issue also joins the discussion. The live-audience segments of each episode of Explorer are filmed at CBS Studios in New York City. For the debut show, Bacon hiked through Yosemite National Park with President Barack Obama.[10]

In June 2017, he began hosting a daily half-hour newsmagazine show called Top 30.[11] It originally aired on Fox affiliates for four weeks before being picked up as a regular series, broadcast nationally across America in September 2017. On 13 September 2017, it was renewed through 2019.[12]

In July 2019, he became one of the guest presenters to fill in for Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain.

In October 2019, the American TV network ABC commissioned his original "whodunnit" game show format The Hustler for an eight-part series, hosted by Craig Ferguson. Production began in the fall, with Bacon serving as one of its executive producers.[13]

Radio career[edit]

Bacon joined BBC Radio 5 Live to present the late-night show on Saturdays and Sundays. After this, he worked as an announcer for BBC 7 and then a DJ for Capital FM followed by Xfm London.

He returned to 5 Live, and from November 2007 until December 2009 presented the late-night programme, in which his sign-off ("Goodnight Great Britain, wherever you are") copied that of Jack Killian, the main character in the NBC television series Midnight Caller. He also on occasion stood in for Simon Mayo in the daytime film review programme, and stated that his favourite film is The Apartment.

In January 2010, Bacon became the regular presenter of the 5 Live mid-afternoon show from Mondays to Thursdays, in which he replaced the departing Simon Mayo. The show covered news, sport, celebrity interviews and special features. On Tuesdays there was a TV review with Boyd Hilton and another guest, looking back over the week's television and previewing future programmes. In the Moan-In on Wednesdays, listeners could share their moans and receive marks out of 10 from Bacon and a guest, often Dave Vitty. On Thursdays the feature was Chart The Week, where two guests would discuss the week's most talked-about news stories. At the same time, Bacon started to present a regular Saturday afternoon show on BBC Radio 6 Music; he later left to concentrate on other commitments. He returned to 6 Music in January 2012 for six weeks to present a Saturday morning programme.

Bacon's afternoon show attracted criticism for its content, which was classified by the BBC Trust as "news". Rival broadcaster Talksport made a general complaint in 2010 to the BBC Trust, claiming the BBC Radio 5 Live station was not providing its mandatory 75% news output, "with many items falling outside of the remit, such as 'entertainment-based interviews' and listener-generated features."[14] Talksport's complaint "particularly singl[ed] out Bacon's two-hour weekday afternoon show for criticism",[15] finding in a poll that only 20% of listeners considered Bacon's show to comprise "news". In their response, the BBC Trust rejected Talksport's complaints, but admitted that a review was required to develop "'a more nuanced method of monitoring the proportion of news output' on 5 Live compared to the current system, which counts the whole of Richard Bacon's afternoon show as news".[16][17]

In August 2011, Bacon recommended that his listeners should watch a YouTube video of comedian Doug Stanhope, in which he mocked Sarah Palin's disabled son Trig. The Down's Syndrome Association complained to the BBC about the broadcast, stating "the association is shocked that a BBC employee has publicised the work of a comedian which is nothing more than a vile offensive rant." Both Bacon and the BBC apologised for the broadcast, with Bacon writing "I full well understand my responsibilities as a broadcaster and such a reference fell below the standards I set myself personally in my broadcasting."[18]

On 1 July 2014, it was announced that Bacon would be leaving BBC Radio 5 Live later in the year.[19] Bacon's last Radio 5 Live show was broadcast on 24 September 2014.

Bacon also has covered for Simon Mayo on his BBC Radio 2 Drivetime show, when Mayo was on holiday in August 2015, and more recently in April 2016.

Bacon covered for Ian Payne on his LBC afternoon shows on 6 and 7 July 2019.

Personal life[edit]

Bacon married Rebecca McFarlane in 2008. They live in Los Angeles, where Bacon works in U.S. television.[20] They have two children.[21] His father-in-law is John McFarlane, who served as chairman of Barclays from 2015 to 2019.[22][23]

In October 2011, Bacon announced on his podcast that he had been contacted by the Metropolitan Police, who advised him that his phone had been hacked by the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

On 28 March 2018, Bacon explained to Nicky Campbell in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live that at the age of 42 he was diagnosed with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), about which he said "I like having it a lot, it is who I am. It's just learning to work with it and manage it means that life gets less chaotic and painful for my wife and children."[24]

In July 2018, he was placed in an induced coma after becoming ill with pneumonia.[25][26]

In October 2019, he discussed his alcohol addiction.[27]


Bacon is a celebrity supporter of the British Red Cross and is particularly interested in their National Flood Appeal and international messaging services.[28]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Richard Bacon". BBC Online. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
  2. ^ Controversy, Blue Peter.
  3. ^ Bacon, Richard (11 May 2012). "Hello Oxford. Good to be back in the city where I got my 1st. Was either that or Notts Trent (for a year before dropping out). Can't recall" (Tweet). Twitter. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  4. ^ Carter, Claire (24 May 2013). "Richard Bacon tells of being forced to hand back Blue Peter badge". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  5. ^ "Rock band's fury at TV 'fat' quip". BBC News. 9 August 2005. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Richard Bacon's Beer & Pizza Club".
  7. ^ "ITV4 tucks into Richard Bacon's Beer & Pizza Club again". Broadcast. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  8. ^ Williams, Zoe (24 April 2012). "TV review: Hidden Talent". The Guardian. London.
  9. ^ "richard bacon on Twitter".
  10. ^ "Exclusive: Obama on Threats to Nature, Power of National Parks". 18 June 2016.
  11. ^ "Top30 Website". Fox Top30.
  12. ^ "Top 30: News TV Show Renewed Through 2019 on FOX Stations". 20 December 2016.
  13. ^ Petski, Denise (14 October 2019). "Craig Ferguson-Hosted Game Show 'The Hustler' Lands Series Order At ABC". Deadline. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  14. ^ Laughlin, Andrew (15 April 2011). "BBC Trust dismisses 5 Live news complaint". Digital Spy. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  15. ^ Andrew Laughlin (16 May 2011). "Richard Bacon defends Radio 5 Live output". Digital Spy. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  16. ^ Plunkett, John (15 April 2011). "Radio 5 Live to face closer scrutiny after TalkSport complaint". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  17. ^ Plunkett, John (20 April 2011). "TalkSport poll: Radio 5 Live should focus on serious news". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  18. ^ Martin, Roy (9 August 2011). "Richard Bacon says sorry for YouTube link". Radio Today. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  19. ^ John Plunkett (July 2014). "BBC Radio 5 Live stars including Richard Bacon to leave station". The Guardian.
  20. ^ John Plunkett (19 April 2015). "Richard Bacon: 'My ambition is to be an unsuccessful David Frost'". The Guardian.
  21. ^ "Richard Bacon mortified after Alexa outs cocaine past to children". 22 June 2020.
  22. ^ Music man John McFarlane is calling the tune at the House of the Rising Funds Aviva Evening Standard. 1 November 2013.
  23. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Cite uses generic title (help)
  24. ^ "Richard Bacon: 'I wouldn't change my ADHD for the world'". BBC Radio 5. BBC. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  25. ^ "Richard Bacon in induced coma after infection". BBC News. 13 July 2018. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  26. ^ "Richard Bacon: Bug left me close to death for two days". BBC News. 22 July 2018. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  27. ^ "Richard Bacon: 'I think I am an addict'". BBC News. 23 October 2019 – via
  28. ^ "Richard Bacon". British Red Cross. Archived from the original on 8 February 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by Blue Peter Presenter No. 25
Succeeded by
Preceded by
XFM Drivetime Presenter
Succeeded by