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Dimbleby: I've tried cocaine but sneezed it all over the place

VETERAN broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby has admitted that he has tried cocaine and called for serious consideration to be given to the issue of decriminalisation.

The host of long-running Radio 4 show Any Questions? criticised middle-class cocaine users for not being aware that they were fuelling a drugs war, which is causing misery for millions.

Dimbleby (67) suggested that he also thought that it was "ridiculous" to attack public figures such as politicians for having taken drugs when they were at university.

He told a British newspaper that he tried cocaine as well as cannabis when he was a young man.

He said: "I had cannabis twice in my early 20s. And once, in America (at around the same age), I did a line of cocaine.

"I sneezed it all over the place much to the dismay of the people around who saw it as this precious substance.

"It tickled my nose, and then it blocked my nose. And I had no experience from it at all."

Dimbleby, the brother of Question Time host David, said that he may have used it again if he had experienced "a tremendous buzz" but that he has not touched the drug since.

The broadcaster said he saw the effects of the cocaine trade while recently filming a BBC2 Sunday-night series, A South American Journey With Jonathan Dimbleby.

Asked whether Britain should decriminalise drugs, he told the newspaper: "Well, I think we should take the matter more seriously."

Dimbleby said he had "a sort of contempt for cocaine sniffers in this country who are intelligent middle-class people, but do not realise that they are fuelling a drugs war that is leading to misery for millions."

He added that it was "ridiculous" to attack adults now in positions of power for what they did while at university.

Dimbleby, who lives for most of his time in Devon, also criticised the UK government's controversial plans to simplify the planning process, saying that "you can't put it (the countryside) back together again" once it has been blighted.

The broadcaster, whose new wife Jessica, the mother of his two young children, is more than 30 years younger than him, also said he wanted to take part in the current series of Strictly Come Dancing, starring Rory Bremner and Lulu.

But he told the newspaper that his two grown-up children, from his first marriage to writer Bel Mooney, intervened, saying that his participation in the show would be too embarrassing.