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Saturday, 21 October, 2000, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Ferdinand and the Blue Peter scandal
Les Ferdinand and the Blue Peter incident
Ferdinand 'helped people over the wall'
It was the greatest TV mystery since 'Who Shot JR?', but the riddle of the Blue Peter vandalism has been partly solved - thanks to a Premiership footballer.

Tottenham Hotspur striker Les Ferdinand has admitted to being an accessory in the infamous attack on the BBC's Blue Peter Garden in 1983.

Ferdinand, 33, who used to live at the White City estate, near BBC TV Centre, revealed on the BBC Choice programme, 45 Minutes, about his involvement in the incident more than 17 years ago.

"What I will say is I helped a few people over the wall," said the former England, QPR and Newcastle United star.

The BBC's press and publicity unit were keen to stress that Ferdinand did not say he was directly involved with vandalising the garden.

'Casual exchange'

The Sun newspaper, which led with the headline that the "Blue Peter garden was trashed by soccer star Ferdinand's gang", was criticised for the way it had portrayed the footballer's participation.

I helped a few people over the wall
  Spurs striker Les Ferdinand

The BBC said in a statement: "At no point does anyone on the programme admit to what is suggested in The Sun," it read.

"There is no question of any BBC investigation, we have better things to do with our time."

Ferdinand's comment was made, according to the statement, in a "casual exchange" of views.

The vandalism, which occured 17 years ago, hit the headlines and shocked late celebrity gardener Percy Thrower and the presenters at the time, Simon Groom, Peter Duncan and Janet Ellis.

The incident was nominated by Channel 4 as one as the "Greatest TV Moments From Hell" in a recent poll.

Ferdinand was friends with Chelsea star Dennis Wise during their youth in the White City area of west London, near to the BBC's Television Centre.

But he added that he was not prepared to say whether pint-sized England midfielder Wise was involved in the crime.

"I'm not at liberty to say whether Dennis Wise was one of them," said Ferdinand.

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