John Noakes, who lived near Andratx for many years.


Former Blue Peter presenter John Noakes, who hosted the show in the 1960s and 1970s, died over the weekend in Palma, aged 83. He had lived on the outskirts of Andratx for many years.
He once old me, when I interviewed him, that he had been planning to sail around the world, but when his yacht dropped anchor in Andratx he decided to stay. Years later I would meet him in rather extraordinary circumstances. I had placed an advertisement in this newspaper looking for an allotment in the Andratx area. It was a short classified advert and I remember receiving a call from man who asked me to come down and have a look at the field he owned next to his house. I was obviously exceptionally pleased because I thought that the advertisement wouldn't be too successful; after all, it was quite a large ask.

I headed down to Andratx and to my amazement the man who was prepared to lend me his field was none other than John Noakes. He showed me the large field and grinned at my reaction. It was rather large and my dream of growing tomatoes had come a step closer. John told me to ask the farmer next door for some help because the field had to be ploughed. So, my farming adventure got under way, a newspaper editor who wanted to grow tomatoes on a plot of land owned by a British celebrity.

John would often come by and offer me some advice, but I soon discovered that growing tomatoes was a lot more difficult than I had initially thought. I had a number of chats with John, who in real life was exactly like his screen character. He was an exceptionally nice man, who would often prefer to talk tomatoes than BBC. In the end I had to abandon my tomatoes and his field, which was no real surprise to anyone including John Noakes. I will always remember John and that field.

I can still picture him, dressed in a white jumper, giving me advice. The deal was that I would pay John in tomatoes for the field. Unfortunately, there were no tomatoes. So, like millions of fans of Blue Peter, I will always be in his debt.