Aw no! Hot on the heels of Sir Rog so another cultural icon is summoned to the great tv studio in the sky. As Peter Davison's Dr Who once so sagely put it, its as if great chunks of my past are detaching themselves like melting icebergs.
How could the indestructible Noakesy ever die? Noakes, the man who plummetted in freefall from 25,000ft: Noakes who tumbled from a hurtling bobsleigh (and dropped his trousers on live kids tv to display the damage): Noakes, who perched atop Nelson's Column without a harness. Its unthinkable. Absurd. Not Noakes the incredible, Noakes the irrepressible, Noakes the magnificent!
Generally speaking tv celebrity is an ephemeral and pretty ignoble claim to fame. But in Noakes case being a hero and an inspiration to entire generations of children is no insubstantial legacy to be sniffed at.
Thanks for the memories Mr Noakes. And get down Shep!
One of the great man's less celebrated but no less jaw dropping exploits is the climb (almost) to the top of the mast of HMS Ganges. Watch it on YouTube and marvel both at the eccentric pointlessness of the whole escapade and Noakesy's cavalier disregard for his own safety in the service of children's entertainment. He really was the very best of the best. A one of a kind.