FORMER TV star John Leslie has revealed he pestered his DJ brother for presenting tips ahead of his return to the airwaves.
The 47-year-old admitted he quizzed “little brother” and Radio Forth DJ Grant Stott, 45, about how to wow radio audiences before taking to the mic as a drivetime presenter for Castle FM yesterday.
Leslie – who fell from grace after being linked to sex charges – opnened the show with the 1983 ZZ Top classic Gimme All Your Lovin’.
The surprise move to Castle FM marked Leslie’s return to presenting after nearly a decade in the wildernes – and must have left listeners wondering if his song choice was a thinly-veiled reference to his past trials and tribulations, or a broader, genuine appeal to the public ahead of a move back to the mainstream.
Speaking about his jitters, he admitted panto star Grant was very helpful helping him prepare. He said: “I’ve never tried radio before but something feels right about it even if it is a bit of leap into the unknown. I’ve been pestering my brother for tips. Grant needn’t worry though, I’ve no plans on moving to the morning slot.”
In a candid, exclusive interview he also spoke of his “regret” for not speaking out and suing certain people when drug and sex allegations began circling around him ten years ago. The one-time host of This Morning and Family Fortunes has spent a decade in the entertainment wilderness after facing two charges of indecently assaulting a woman in 1997 – the case was eventually dropped by prosecutors at Southwark Crown Court in London in 2003.
Leslie was also forced to deny he was the mystery TV presenter who raped Ulrika Jonsson, 45, early in her career after being outed by Channel 5 host Matthew Wright on air.
He said: “I regret not speaking out and defending myself and I most certainly regret not suing certain people. The whole episode became a feeding frenzy and I was basically tried in a kangaroo court. I should have done more publicly to prove my innocence and was badly advised throughout.
“My innocence was eventually proved but my reputation and career was in tatters. I was a young guy who was making money and was well known off the TV and yes I made mistakes but what I went through was incredible. I’ve never been convicted of a single thing. There was a load of nonsense and hearsay following me.”
After returning to his hometown “to heal” ten years ago Leslie, from Morningside, has carved out a career in property development and marketing even trying his hand at songwriting, even if he’s “yet to find someone to sing them”.
Last year he completed his hometown return by taking up the post of creative director at Cav nightclub.
He said: “It’s weird but I’ve gone full circle in a way as my first job was in Cav as a 16-year-old DJ. This job got me back into the music scene and Donny Hughes from Castle had been on at me for ages to give the radio a go so I relented and it’s all led on from there.
“It might be a complete disaster but I’m grateful for the opportunity. To be honest I have long given up on getting back to where I once was. I was fairly bruised and battered by it all, there was a lot of repairing that went on over the last ten years for something I didn’t do.”