Bacon to return to BBC five years after cocaine expose

LONDON - Richard Bacon is to make a return to the BBC as full-time host of the 'Late Night Live' discussion show on BBC Radio Five Live, five years after being sacked by the corporation when he was exposed by tabloids for snorting cocaine in a nightclub.

Bacon will replace former MP Edwina Currie in the weekend slot after impressing bosses during a stand-in stint over Christmas.

Bacon was fired from the corporation in October 1998 after tabloid newspapers exposed him for taking cocaine in a nightclub. At the time, Bacon was a presenter on 'Blue Peter', the corporation's flagship children's TV programme and the BBC did not hestiate in sacking him.

Bacon has since revitalised his career with stints on Channel 4's 'Big Breakfast' and a well-regarded Sunday show on London radio station Xfm. He has been contracted for 12 months and will take the programme into a crucial period for Radio Five Live with the Euro 2004 football tournament and the Olympics coming up.

"There's a real intimacy about late night shows and I'm delighted to be given this opportunity," Bacon said.

Controller of Radio Five Live Bob Shennan said: "'Late Night Live' is a great vehicle for Richard's talents. His youth and energy will develop what is already a cult late night programme."

Bacon is also contracted to remain on Xfm for at least another year. Xfm's managing director Graham Bryce said: "Richard Bacon is under an exlusive contract with Xfm until at least the end of the year. He remains an Xfm presenter but is currently away filming 'Back to Reality' for a few weeks."

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