Richard Paul Bacon (born 30 November 1975) is a British television and radio presenter, best known for formerly hosting Blue Peter for 18 months until 1998.
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. Following Blue Peter, Richard worked as a reporter or presenter on numerous television shows, including The Big Breakfast, and on radio stations including Capital FM, and Xfm London.
In January 2010, he started presenting the mid-afternoon programme on BBC Radio 5 Live, having previously presented the station's late-night show. In the same year, Bacon began fronting his own late-night ITV4 comedy show Beer & Pizza Club. The show ended in December 2011.
Since 2013, he has been hosting the ITV daytime game show Show Me the Telly, in which Chris Tarrant is the team captain.
Early Life and EducationEdit
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: at Wellow House School, a preparatory school on Newark Road, in the village of Wellow in Nottinghamshire and then at Worksop College, a boarding school on Windmill Lane, in the town of Worksop (also in Nottinghamshire). He studied Business Studies with Electronics at Nottingham Trent University, but dropped out after a year
Life and careerEdit
Bacon's first job before moving into media was working at a branch of McDonald's restaurants.
Bacon's first job in the media was as a reporter for BBC Radio Nottingham, notably on the programme The Beat, for which he interviewed Nicole Kidman. 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.
Bacon's television break was as a presenter on the children's show Blue Peter, joining on 21 February 1997. Bacon presented with Romana D'Annunzio, Katy Hill, Konnie Huq and Stuart Miles. He was the programme's first ever presenter to have his contract terminated in mid-season, on 19 October 1998, after the tabloid newspaper News of the World published a report of Bacon taking cocaine and cannabis. By this time his tenure had 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.
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 the 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 perceived 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".
Since 2006, Bacon has narrated and presented BBC 3's Most Annoying People series.
He 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 during 2008-09. He is the narrator for series 1-3 of Sky's police documentary Brit Cops.
In June 2009 he recorded a pilot chat show for BBC Three with Chris Underwood. However this was not commissioned for a full series.
In late 2010 Bacon presented Richard Bacon's Beer & Pizza Club on ITV4. A second series aired in late 2011. 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 playing "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 live which was 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 take tests in certain fields or skills to identify any previously unidentified talent.
Since 2013, Richard has been hosting the ITV daytime game show Show Me the Telly. It is aired at 4pm on weekday afternoons. Also that year, he guest presented Sunday Scoop, on 8 December 2013.
On 17 February 2014, Richard hosted one-off show Benefits Britain: The Debate for Channel 4.
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. Bacon also stood in for Simon Mayo in the daytime film review programme on occasion, and stated that his favourite film is The Apartment.
Since January 2010 he has been the regular presenter of the BBC Radio 5 Live mid-afternoon show (Mondays to Thursdays), where he replaced the departing Simon Mayo. The show covers news, sport, celebrity interviews and special features. On Tuesday there is 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 can share their moans and receive marks out of 10 from Bacon and a guest, often Dave Vitty. On Thursdays the feature is 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 has since attracted criticism in terms of its content, which is 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." Talksport's complaint "particularly singl[ed] out Bacon's two-hour weekday afternoon show for criticism", 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".
In August 2011, Bacon recommended 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."
Bacon married Rebecca McFarlane in 2008 and lives in London, commuting daily to Manchester to present his radio show. 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. In October 2011, Richard 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.
The 38-year-old presenter surprised fans by posting the monochrome shot of Ivy – his second child with wife Rebecca McFarlane – on Tuesday 11 February 2014, five days after her birth.
Bacon is a "celebrity supporter" of the British Red Cross and is particularly interested in their National Flood Appeal and international messaging services.