A legend. Peter Purves has been in tons of cult TV shows and a stable of British television in Blue Peter and anchoring the Crufts dog show, but it is his role as the face of Kickstart for its entire 13-series run that we find Mr Purves here as an icon
If you don't remember Kickstart and Junior Kickstart (shame on you, what the bloody hell were you doing between 1979 and 1991?) it involved young, fearless pint-sized trials riders tackling ever-more improbable obstacles to the point where, by the final series, it was next to impossible to walk most of the course, let alone ride a trials bike across it.
But ride across it hordes of eager little tykes did, demonstrating skills that would leave your jaw buried in your toast and Marmite. And who cares if trials wasn't really your bag - this was bikes on telly which back in those days was an even rarer commodity than it is today. By this virtue alone Kickstart was compulsive viewing, alongside ChiPs and Boon.
And throughout it all was Peter. Never mind the weather, never mind how many times young Timmy from Doncaster face-planted trying to negotiate the skip precariously balanced atop a JCB, Peter was there, a stalwart to the last, practically willing the kids to succeed with his remarkably knowledgeable commentary.
Despite never having had a road bike ("I couldn't trust myself to behave"), Peter isn't entirely green when it comes to bikes because it was a stint with the army's White Helmets while on Blue Peter which lead to his being poached for the Kickstart job.
It wasn't all plain sailing with the White Helmets though as by his own admission Peter spent "more time on the floor than anything else", on one occasion riding into a tank trap hidden behind a large hill. "I'd only been there an hour or so and was told to have a ride around just to get a feel for the bike, so I bombed off around the training area and up this hill. What I didn't know was there was a tank trap on the other side of the hill and I flew straight into it. I wasn't badly hurt but it was very embarrassing."
Despite this steep learning curve Peter persevered, displaying grit worthy of John Wayne facing 500 Indians armed with nothing more than a half-empty bottle of bourbon and a swagger, ploughing through it all to emerge with an honorary White Helmet and even logged a couple of working displays under his belt.
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