Michael Sundin biography: Life of beloved athlete, BBC Blue Peter presenter and performer - told by loved ones

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We're reflecting on the life of Michael Sundin, the English television presenter, award-winning trampolinist and performer.

Shots! TV has produced a moving three-part documentary on the life of Michael Sundin - a Gateshead-born athlete, BBC Blue Peter presenter and performer - who left the hit children's show under controversial circumstances and passed away aged just 28 after being diagnosed with HIV/Aids.

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Michael's life and work

Michael was born and raised in Low Fell, Gateshead, not far from the iconic Angel of the North statue. Described by loved ones as “the life of the party”, Michael was popular at school and often took on the role of "class clown". He was a natural sportsman from a young age and went on to pursue trampolining competitively, reaching world championship level and winning a host of awards. His vibrant personality became drawn to the stage as he began pivoting his career from competing to performing. Before long, Michael became an on-stage heart-throb, securing a number of famous acting gigs and dance shows. He was eventually spotted by Disney and cast as the role of Tik-Tok in Return to Oz in 1985.

Controversy around BBC’s Blue Peter

Michael’s charisma, talent and charming looks soon earned him the role of presenter on the BBC’s children’s programme Blue Peter. However, his time on the show was cut short when his contract was not renewed just a year in. The news came shortly after the media had publicly outed that Michael was gay. Biddy Baxter, the then editor of Blue Peter, claimed Michael left the show due to his lack of popularity with viewers, but controversy surrounded the decision with many believing that it had been influenced by news of his sexuality.

Life after Blue Peter

Michael continued his career as a performer and had his last film appearance in the adventure film “Lionheart” in 1987. Tragically, he fell ill in 1988 and was diagnosed with HIV/Aids before being hospitalised and finally passing away in 1989 at just 28-years-old. Michael’s memory lives on, remembered by fans and loved ones as a “blonde, outgoing, gregarious ball of fun”.

The three-part documentary airs on Shots! Freeview channel 276 at 8.20pm on Wednesday, March 20, and 8.35pm on Thursday, March 21, and Friday, March 22.

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