The media world is in a state of shock today after an Essex pensioner has revealed that one of the nation’s best-loved TV outtakes, the famous shitting elephant on Blue Peter, was nothing more than an elaborate hoax.

Speaking from a care home in Billericay former circus clown Alan Pringle told reporters: ‘Well see, the show’s legendary producer, Biddy Baxter, wanted to zoosh things up a little so she come up wif a plan. She knew my boss, Circus Impresario Billy Smart, and she asked him if he could ‘elp.’

‘Bill got me and my mate Soapy Joe Williams, we was the clown double act at the time, to dress up in an elephant suit and appear live on the show,’ chuckled Alan.

Pausing only to take a few breaths from his oxygen cylinder he went on to explain: ‘Soapy was the trunk, ‘ead and front legs and I was the business end, so to speak. I had a bucket of ‘orse shit and a water pistol inside the suit wif me. We got paid a fiver each and the rest is ‘istory.’

When challenged to confirm or deny the story a clearly angry spokesman for Blue Peter said: ‘Oh yeah, and I suppose Shep wasn’t a real dog but had been made by John Noakes from some Squeezy bottles, sticky-back plastic and a pair of Val’s old knickers.’