‘Marijuana was like cornflakes’: Man behind Fingermouse admits drug-taking was … – Daily Mail

Posted on: May 5th, 2012 by admin No Comments

By
Daily Mail Reporter

03:08 EST, 5 May 2012

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03:45 EST, 5 May 2012

Smoking marijuana was ‘part of the culture’ at classic children’s TV programme Play School, according to a former presenter.

Rick Jones revealed the scale of drug use at the show, following claims by ex-presenter Johnny Ball that Jones and another presenter, Lionel Morton, were ‘stoned out of their minds’ before filming a nativity scene during the 1970s.

Jones, now 75, who went on to present children’s show Fingerbobs, told The Sun said that the drug was ‘part of the culture, definitely’, adding: ‘Marijuana was like cornflakes.

Way out: Rick Jones shared the cannabis joint with co host Lionel Morton just before going on air at the Play School set in BBC Television Centre, west London

Way out: Rick Jones shared the cannabis joint with co host Lionel Morton just before going on air at the Play School set in BBC Television Centre, west London

‘The BBC was really liberal. Once you were in all laws were forgotten. I had a wonderful time.’

He said around ‘half a dozen’ were doing it – and that toys on the programme, Humpty and Hamble, were even put in sexual poses on the set.

Earlier this week, Ball revealed the use of marijuana behind the scenes of the seemingly-innocent show, when he told a BBC4 documentary: ‘There was
Rick Jones, Lionel Morton and myself. They got stoned on the biggest
joint you’ve ever seen – in the studio.

‘We were in silhouette as the three
shepherds with our crooks. They were absolutely stoned out of their
minds. So when we recorded, who cocked his lines up? Me.’

Ball, 73, father of TV and radio
presenter Zoe, insisted he had not used the drug on air himself as it
would have left him incapable of working – a claim supported by Jones,
who told the newspaper Ball was a ‘good egg, but he was too dull to do
it’.

Play School ran from 1964 until 1988 and its presenters also included Brian Cant, Floella Benjamin and Derek Griffiths.

Revelations: Childrens' television presenter Johnny Ball has told how his co hosts on Play School got stoned before one scene

Revelations: Childrens’ television presenter Johnny Ball has told how his co hosts on Play School got stoned before one scene


Stoned: Johnny Ball said his co presenters on Play School, Rick Jones and Lionel Morton, has just smoked an enormous joint before this scene

Stoned: Johnny Ball said his co presenters on Play School, Rick Jones and Lionel Morton, has just smoked an enormous joint before this scene

On a high: Presenter Lionel Morton smoked a joint before filming one of the scenes from Play School

On a high: Presenter Lionel Morton smoked a joint before filming one of the scenes from Play School

Each episode included a film about the
outside world to which access was gained through one of three windows,
with viewers asked to guess which it would be: round, square, or arched.

The documentary, Lights! Camera!
Action! Tales of Television Centre, lays bare the liberal atmosphere at
the BBC in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Presenter Joan Bakewell is also seen confessing that many of the pop groups of the time were stoned when they appeared on shows.

Nostalgia: Millions of children who grew up in the 60s and 70s will have fond memories of Play School

Nostalgia: Millions of children who grew up in the 60s and 70s will have fond memories of Play School

She says: ‘Of course they smoked and they didn’t smoke ordinary cigarettes.’

At times the aroma was so strong in
the corridors of the BBC’s West London studios that Sir David
Attenborough, who was controller of the BBC2 at the time, complained
about it.

He recalls on the programme how he
told staff: ‘Look, please don’t smoke that stuff openly so we can all
smell it. Just be sensible.’

There are also revelations about the
rampant antics of stars who used dressing rooms and green rooms for sex
because ‘nobody cared if you did’.

Former Doctor Who actress Katy
Manning, who played Jo Grant, says: ‘People were bonking all over the
BBC. Everybody was doing it on the premises.’

Former Blue Peter and Going Live
presenter  Sarah Greene confesses that she enjoyed such trysts with
Radio 1 DJ Mike Smith, whom she went on to marry.

The show features interviews with BBC
staff and personalities including Sir Terry Wogan, Jeremy Paxman and
Penelope Keith along with archive clips from hit shows such as Till
Death Us Do Part, Top of the Pops and Doctor Who.

Barry Norman also gives an interview
for the programme in which he reveals he was almost fired because a
corporation executive thought he was wearing a wig on screen and took a
dislike to it.

He said: ‘I wasn’t actually wearing a
wig, I was just having a bad hair day.’  Lights! Camera! Action! Tales
of Television Centre will air on BBC4 on May 17.

See the article here: ‘Marijuana was like cornflakes’: Man behind Fingermouse admits drug-taking was … – Daily Mail

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