Richard Bacon (broadcaster)

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Richard Bacon
Richard bacon shirt.jpg
Born Richard Paul Bacon
(1975-11-30) 30 November 1975 (age 43)
Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England[citation needed]
Occupation television and radio presenter
Years active 1993–present
Spouse(s) Rebecca McFarlane (m. 2008)
Children Arthur (b. 2011)
Ivy (b. 2014)

Richard Paul Bacon (born 30 November 1975)[1] is an English television and radio presenter, best known as a former host of Blue Peter.

Bacon's first high-profile media role was as a presenter of the popular children's show Blue Peter, from which he was fired in 1998 after 18 months. Following Blue Peter, Bacon worked as a reporter or presenter on numerous television shows, including The Big Breakfast, and on radio stations including Capital FM and Xfm London.

Early life and education

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.[2]

Life and career

Bacon's first job before moving into media was working at a branch of McDonald's restaurants.[3]

Bacon's first job in the media was as a reporter for BBC Radio Nottingham, notably on the programme The Beat.[1] In February 1996, Bacon joined L!VE TV as reporter, which 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

Bacon's television break was as a presenter on the children's show Blue Peter, joining on 21 February 1997.[1] Bacon presented with 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 and cannabis. His tenure on the program lasted just over 18 months. After his dismissal, the then Head of BBC children's programmes, Lorraine Heggessey, went on air to explain the situation to CBBC viewers.[1]

TV career since Blue Peter

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".[4]

Since 2006, Bacon has narrated and presented BBC 3's Most Annoying People series.

Bacon guest hosted ITV's This Morning during 2005, Channel 5's The Wright Stuff on several occasions during 2007–08, and BBC Two's Something for the Weekend from 2008 to 2009. He is the narrator for series 1 to 3 of Sky's police documentary Brit Cops.

In late 2010, Bacon presented Richard Bacon's Beer & Pizza Club on ITV4.[5] A second series aired in late 2011.[6] Just before the 2010 World Cup Bacon 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, Bacon 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, where each programme featured ordinary members of the public taking tests in certain fields or skills to identify any previously unidentified talent.[7]

On 25 November 2013, Bacon hosted one series of ITV game show Show Me the Telly. On 8 December 2013, he guest presented an episode of Sunday Scoop.

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

In 2015, Bacon presented The Big Painting Challenge alongside Una Stubbs for BBC One and sports show Eternal Glory for ITV. Bacon also joined Reena Ninan as a substitute co-host of the American Broadcasting Company's World News Now overnight and America This Morning news program.[8]

Radio career

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.

Bacon 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. Bacon also stood in for Simon Mayo in the daytime film review programme on occasion, and stated that his favourite film is The Apartment.

In January 2010, Bacon became the regular presenter of the BBC Radio 5 Live mid-afternoon show (Mondays to Thursdays), where 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 discuss the week's most talked-about news stories. At the same time, he 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."[9] Talksport's complaint "particularly singl[ed] out Bacon's two-hour weekday afternoon show for criticism",[10] 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".[11][12]

In August 2011, Bacon recommended that his listeners should watch a YouTube video of comedian Doug Stanhope, in which he mocks 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."[13]

On 1 July 2014, it was announced that Bacon would be leaving BBC Radio 5 Live later in the year.[14] Bacon's last Radio 5 Live show was broadcast on 24 September 2014.

Personal life

Bacon married Rebecca McFarlane in 2008 and lives in London. On 31 October 2011, his wife gave birth to a son, Arthur, which Bacon revealed on his Twitter account the following day. With almost 1.5m followers, he has one of the most widely followed accounts of any British personality on Twitter.[15] 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 disgraced private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

His wife gave birth to a daughter, Ivy, in 2014.


Bacon is a celebrity supporter of the British Red Cross and is particularly interested in their National Flood Appeal and international messaging services.[16]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Richard Bacon". BBC Online. Retrieved 16 February 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. He discussed this during his appearance on the TV panel show Would I Lie To You? on 27 April 2012
  4. "Rock band's fury at TV 'fat' quip". BBC News. 9 August 2005. Retrieved 22 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Richard Bacon's Beer & Pizza Club".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "ITV4 tucks into Richard Bacon's Beer & Pizza Club again". Broadcast. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Williams, Zoe (24 April 2012). "TV review: Hidden Talent". The Guardian. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Laughlin, Andrew (15 April 2011). "BBC Trust dismisses 5 Live news complaint". Digital Spy. Retrieved 22 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Andrew Laughlin (16 May 2011). "Richard Bacon defends Radio 5 Live output". Digital Spy. Retrieved 22 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Plunkett, John (15 April 2011). "Radio 5 Live to face closer scrutiny after TalkSport complaint". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Plunkett, John (20 April 2011). "TalkSport poll: Radio 5 Live should focus on serious news". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Martin, Roy. "Richard Bacon says sorry for YouTube link". Radio Today. Retrieved 13 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. John Plunkett. "BBC Radio 5 Live stars including Richard Bacon to leave station". the Guardian.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "The full list: The Twitter 100". The Independent. London. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Richard Bacon". British Red Cross. Retrieved 13 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Tim Vincent
Blue Peter Presenter No. 25
Succeeded by
Simon Thomas
Preceded by
XFM Drivetime Presenter
Succeeded by
Paul Tonkinson