Thursday, June 24, 1999 Published at 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK
Blue Peter names new presenter
Matt Baker: The new face of Blue Peter
Flagship BBC children's programme Blue Peter has chosen a fresh-faced drama graduate as its new presenter.
Matt Baker, 21, from Durham, has landed the plum presenting job, straight from his diploma at Queen Margaret's University College, Edinburgh.
A former champion gymnast and acrobat, who also enjoys restoring classic cars, Baker has all the get-up-and-go traditionally needed by Blue Peter presenters. Nonetheless, it was a film he made about the lambing season on his parents' farm that clinched him the role.
Blue Peter editor Steve Hocking said: "Matt is a fantastic find. His various skills make him incredibly versatile and perfect for the demanding roles a Blue Peter presenter has to undertake."
Baker is taking over from Stuart Miles, who is leaving after five years to work on a new ITV travel show.
When Baker steps into Miles's shoes, alongside new colleagues Katy Hill, Simon Thomas and Konnie Huq, it will be as the 28th presenter in the programme's 40-year history.
Earlier this week, 65-year-old John Noakes, who as an actor turned Blue Peter daredevil appears to have a lot in common with Baker, said: "Given my time again, I would not have done Blue Peter."
He told BBC listings magazine Radio Times that he believed he could have made a career in acting, adding he only left the profession because he was tired from years in repertory.
However, Baker was undaunted by Noakes's pessimistic remarks - saying he was too young to remember who he was. And as far as role models are concerned, he added that 1980s presenter Peter Duncan was his man.
"I just love all the action stuff he used to do. I used to look up to him and think I'd love to do that."
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