Joint productions nothing new at BBC centre

Presenters of the children’s TV programme Play School went on camera stoned after smoking “the biggest joint you’ve ever seen”, according to a new BBC documentary.

Channel controller Sir David Attenborough even complained about the smell in the corridors of Television Centre in west London after pop groups smoked joints before performing.

Presenter Johnny Ball told a film crew that two of his co-stars filmed a nativity scene for Play School while stoned.

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Speaking for a BBC4 documentary, Lights! Camera! Action! Tales of Television Centre, Ball said: “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. Lionel purposely held his crook so the crook didn’t show.

“They were absolutely stoned out of their minds. So when we recorded, who cocked his lines up? Me.”

Presenter Joan Bakewell also told of complaints about musicians who “didn’t smoke ordinary cigarettes”.

The show features interviews with dozens of BBC staff and on-screen personalities including Sir Terry Wogan and Brian Blessed.

The programme also reveals that Barry Norman narrowly escaped the sack after a Corporation executive thought he wore a wig on screen.

“I wasn’t,” he said. “I was just having a bad hair day.”

The producers also reveal what went on behind closed dressing room doors

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