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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 30 October, 2002, 19:48 GMT
Sacked Leslie contacts police
John Leslie
John Leslie: Joined This Morning in 1999
Television presenter John Leslie, who has been fired from ITV1's flagship daytime programme This Morning, has contacted the police about allegations made against him.

His manager John Noel said Leslie had gone to the police "of his own initiative" to offer any assistance he can about the claims.

Granada Television said Leslie was sacked because he had failed to respond to recent allegations about his private life.


John Leslie is committed to dealing with this matter through the proper channels and not a trial by media

John Noel, John Leslie's manager

In a statement, the company said: "We have given John Leslie every opportunity to give his response to the allegations made against him.

"We have asked him what he intends doing to challenge them, and as yet we've had no response.

"As a result it is no longer possible for him to present This Morning.

"We have therefore formally terminated Granada's contract with him today. ITV agrees with this course of action."

But Mr Noel later released a statement saying he was "disappointed that discussions with Granada had not been more fruitful".

"It should be apparent in the light of the allegations made against John Leslie that it is inappropriate for John to discuss those allegations with any party before first speaking to the police," Mr Noel said in the statement.

"John Leslie has contacted the police of his own initiative and openly offered any assistance that he can give the police."

Allegations

Leslie's sacking follows allegations in the press arising from Ulrika Jonsson's autobiography - although she herself has never named him.

He has also been the subject of sexual allegations by a number of other women, and of claims in last Sunday's newspapers that he took cocaine.

John Leslie and Fern Britton
Leslie with co-host Fern Britton

He has not appeared on the programme since last Thursday, and his place on the show has been filled by Phillip Schofield.

A former boyfriend of actress Catherine Zeta Jones, Leslie joined the programme in 1999.

He took over as a full-time host with Fern Britton in 2001, when original presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan left.

Presenting career

However, ratings suffered after Madeley and Finnigan left, and the duo failed to attract more than one million viewers per day - compared with two million for the previous presenters.

He said of his position on the show: "It's a great job, a career and I love being in it.

"Hopefully I will be in it for a long time but if it finishes tomorrow I will go and do something else."

He presented children's programme Blue Peter in the early 1990s, as well as BBC series Entertainment Express and Style Challenge, and ITV game show Wheel of Fortune.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nick Higham
"Leslie has taken on an experienced publicist and has got new lawyers"
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30 Oct 02 | Entertainment
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