Channel 5’s latest documentary The Rise & Fall Of John Leslie will chart the moment that the Scottish presenter became the centre of a media storm. A prominent face on television throughout the nineties, the former Blue Peter and This Morning presenter faced years of controversy as he was mistakenly connected to an allegation of rape made by fellow presenter Ulrika Jonsson.
In her 2002 autobiography Honest, Jonsson revealed that she had been raped by a TV presenter in 1988. Not providing a name led many to speculate precisely who this man was – including television presenter Matthew Wright. While hosting his chat show The Wright Stuff on Channel 5, Wright mistakenly named Leslie as the perpetrator.
As of 2022, Leslie is leading a relatively private life with his 28-year-old girlfriend Kate Moore. He briefly returned to his former career after moving from London to Edinburgh, hosting a radio show on Edinburgh station Castle FM and DJing at a local nightclub. According to The Guardian, Leslie now works in property development.
Leslie, who was co-hosting an episode of This Morning as the controversy unfolded, found out about Wright’s slip-up after the show ended. “That was it. I was put in a room, there were hundreds of press outside, it all went mental,” Leslie said during a court hearing in 2020. “It was Armageddon. That was a crazy day, and the end of my career, because of what Matthew Wright had said by mistake.”
The Guardian reports that following this revelation, another woman came forward and accused Leslie of indecent assault. The case was dropped in 2003 following “new information,” and the judge presiding told Leslie he could return to his job “without a stain on his character.”
However, the fallout of the initial controversy followed Leslie far beyond the early noughties. Having been dismissed from This Morning, Leslie faced more allegations in 2008. The presenter was accused of rape and indecent assault that reportedly occurred in 1995, but police found “insufficient evidence” and dropped the charges.
In 2017, a woman alleged that Leslie groped her at a Christmas party in 2008. He was charged in June 2019 and faced a jury trial the following year. Describing the allegation as “crazy” and “ludicrous”, Leslie was found not guilty in October 2020.