Sunday, October 18, 1998 Published at 18:22 GMT 19:22 UK
Blue Peter presenter sacked
Richard Bacon, far right, with presenters past and present
Blue Peter presenter Richard Bacon has been sacked from the popular children's television show after he admitted taking cocaine.
She said: "It is sad that such a talented presenter as Richard Bacon has not only let himself and his colleagues down but, most important of all, he has let down the millions of children who watch Blue Peter."
Presenters Stuart Miles and Katy Hill refused to comment on their ex-colleague's disgrace as they arrived at the award ceremony at Thorpe Park, Surrey.
Mr Bacon, 22, of Chiswick, west London, told the News of the World: "I have been stupid and regret making a silly mistake experimenting with drugs.
"But I have learned the lesson the hard way and I hope it serves as a lesson to lots of other young people. I would also like to apologise to all loyal Blue Peter viewers."
Ms Heggessey added: "For 40 years, Blue Peter has been a force for good, providing positive role models for children to follow and helping them to become responsible and caring adults. It is vital that nothing tarnishes that reputation.
"He regrets his actions and has apologised to the Blue Peter team and to all Blue Peter viewers."
Mr Bacon apologised to viewers in a statement released through the BBC.
He said: "I fully accept and agree with the decision that has been taken.
"I regret what I did but it was in my personal time and I therefore hope that it does not reflect on the show.
"I am very grateful to Blue Peter for the opportunity it has given me and am very sorry that I have let everybody down."
A BBC spokeswoman said management was still deciding how to explain the news to millions of young fans.
"There will be some form of announcement tomorrow [Monday] at the appropriate time, but we haven't decided what or when."
Mr Bacon had not pre-recorded any shows, so would not be appearing on Blue Peter again, she added.
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