Yes, Val Singleton Was My Lover. and Lesley Judd? Well, er, Let's Just Say She Was Gorgeous; Not-So-Innocent: The Blue Peter Team of 1972 U from Left to Right, Peter Purves, Lesley Judd, Valerie Singleton and John Noakes

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Byline: Jan Moir

PETER PURVES is frowning. Now he is blushing. He starts off pink, then deepens into wrinkled scarlet, like a tomato blistering on a spit. Is he furious or embarrassed? It is difficult to tell. Even his wife finds it hard to work out what is going on inside his great, big, shaggy, dog-loving head.

'She says I don't feel things deeply u and I probably don't,' he says. 'Humph. Never been one for much introspection. Am terribly ordinary. A very straightforward and simple sort of person.'

Perhaps he is just fed up of the subject matter. If so, one could hardly blame him. 'Have you never had a one-night stand? Are we going to talk about sex for much longer?' he asks, getting slightly tetchy. It certainly is a sticky moment. A sticky-back plastic moment.

For most British people over the age of 30, Blue Peter holds a very special place in our hearts. Especially the golden era of Blue Peter shows that were presented by Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves, John Noakes and Lesley Judd. Oh, how we loved them!

Over a 15-year period, this cheerful, clean-cut quartet were the guardians of our childhood. They encouraged us to save milk bottle tops for the starving children of Africa, taught us how to make a doll's house from egg cartons and how to properly look after our pets.

It was wholesome and educational; it was also fun. Yet it now transpires that behind the squeaky-clean Blue Peter scenes, there was lots of pure filth, too.

For sitting here before me, in his thick linen suit, lemony tie and sensible Russell & Bromley lace-ups, is the man who single-handedly put the blue into Blue Peter.

Last year, Valerie Singleton revealed she had a stop us being friends. We didn't even fling with Purves when they worked together on the show. 'I like the pirate type. And men who give me what I call BSE u a big sexual experience,' she candidly admitted.

This was a seismic revelation for Blue Peter fans, who imagined the naughtiest thing the presenters did behind the scenes was forget to tidy up the colouring pencils and drawing paper.

'But I went weak at the knees the first time I saw Valerie,' says 70-year-old Purves today. 'I fancied her like mad.

'She is a very pretty girl. Beautiful, beautiful face. Most attractive. I had watched her on the box and thought, phwoar, she's all right.'

Purves adds that although there were 'numerous opportunities to do it before we did it', he dismisses their fruity liaison as 'just a one-night stand' after a few glasses of wine.

'Did I give her a BSE? Well, I can't have been that great or she would have wanted to do it again, wouldn't she?' he says. 'The next morning, we didn't think it was a mistake. It was a very nice experience, but that was it.

'No, I am not being flippant about it. It was totally unimportant but very nice, and it didn't stop us being friends. We didn't even consider that. We just carried on working together.

'Of course, I worked with Lesley for much longer than I worked with Val.'

Did you sleep with her, too?

'No comment!' shrieks Purves.

Well. You so obviously did.

'No. I won't admit to that. I will never admit to a sexual relationship with Lesley,' he cries, pinking up again and mounting what seasoned affair watchers would call a classic Bill Clinton rearguard defence.

'Lesley was a very good friend. I thought she was talented and bright and good fun. She was gorgeous. I mean, did you ever see her? Could you blame me for sleeping with her? Even if I, er, had. But this is an area I don't want to go into.'

Well, this certainly brings a whole new meaning to the show's famous catchphrase, 'Here's one I made earlier'.

In fact, it is beginning to look like the only Blue Peter girl Purves didn't seduce during his 11 years with the programme was Petra, the show's official pet dog. …