Radio legend's bruising festival

RADIO One DJ John Peel endured a festival to forget at the weekend with a double dose of disaster at Glastonbury.The 63-year-old said he was "battered and bruised" after toppling into a ditch on the showground and then, in a separate incident, being rugby tackled by a stranger.

By Jonathan Barnes

RADIO One DJ John Peel endured a festival to forget at the weekend with a double dose of disaster at Glastonbury.

The 63-year-old said he was "battered and bruised" after toppling into a ditch on the showground and then, in a separate incident, being rugby tackled by a stranger.

By the festival's final night, Mr Peel, who lives in a village near Stowmarket, decided to cut his losses and go home before a third bout of bad luck.


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"My scars have been much admired by people in the community. I have not missed an opportunity to show them off – I'm a mass of scar tissue at the moment," he said.

The music legend's mishaps began on Friday evening as he was hurrying to front a live broadcast on the BBC after watching Kanda Bongo Man perform.

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"I took too long with him and had to hare back across a footbridge which wasn't terribly well lit. I put my right foot on the bridge and when I put my left foot down it wasn't on the bridge," he said.

"I fell about three or four foot into a ditch. I think there was barbed wire in there. I was helped up by security men and went on air with blood pouring down my leg."

The following night Mr Peel was interviewing a cast member from long-running Radio Two show The Archers about one of its character's trip to the festival when a man burst out of the crowd and rugby tackled him to the ground.

"Why he did it I don't know. At my age, if somebody rugby tackles you with great force then bits of you fly off," he said.

"I remember someone saying 'is he still breathing?' but I was lucky not to be really hurt. My wife says it was good thing he wasn't a music lover with a knife or I would have been in real trouble.

"I prefer to think it was a sign of affection. I have no idea who he was – he just disappeared back into the crowd."

The DJ added: "By the time it got to Sunday, I thought 'that's it, I'm going home' and I did. But apart from the things I would rather hadn't have happened, I really enjoyed myself."

Cult hero Mr Peel, who joined Radio One in 1967 and is the only remaining DJ from the original line-up, was fit enough to make the trip to London to front his popular show last night.

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