Blue Peter is a British children's television programme, currently
shown live on the
CBBC television channel. A significant part of
British culture, it first aired in 1958 and is the longest-running
children's TV show in the world. Although the show has a nautical
title and theme, it is a magazine/entertainment show containing viewer
and presenter challenges, as well as the famous arts and crafts
During its history there have been many presenters, currently Lindsey
Russell and Radzi Chinyanganya. The show is produced mainly in a
television studio, but there is also a garden, often referred to as
Blue Peter Garden, used during the summer and for outdoor
activities. The programme has always featured a number of pets,
including a tortoise called Shelly, and a dog named Iggy, who is now
helping blind people.
3.1 Early years
3.6 New Diamond Badge, 5000th Episode and 60th Anniversary (2018)
4 Presenters and contributors
Blue Peter Garden
7 Main Badges
8 Limited Edition Badges
9 Annual events
9.1 Shrove Tuesday
9.2 Mothering Sunday
Guy Fawkes Night
9.6 Book awards
11 Broadcast history
BBC One (1958–2012)
CBBC Channel (2012–)
11.3 Repeats and spin-off shows
Signature tune and motif
12.1 Signature tune
12.2 Opening titles
12.3 Closing credits
13.1 Presenters sacked
13.2 Fake phone competition winner
13.3 Political partiality
14 Tributes, honours and awards
15 See also
18 External links
Main article: List of
Blue Peter Episodes
Blue Peter's content is wide-ranging. Most programmes are broadcast
live, but usually include at least one filmed report. There will also
often be a demonstration of an activity in the studio, or a music or
dance performance. Between the 1960s and 2011 the programme was made
BBC Television Centre, and often came from Studio 1, the
fourth-largest TV studio in Britain and one of the largest in Europe.
Blue Peter to include large-scale demonstrations and
performances within the live programme. From the September 2007
series, the programme was broadcast from a small fixed set in Studio
2. However, from 2009 the series began to use the larger studios once
more; also more programmes were broadcast in their entirety from the
Blue Peter Garden. The show is also famous for its "makes", which are
demonstrations of how to construct a useful object or prepare food.
These have given rise to the oft-used phrase "Here's one I made
earlier", as presenters bring out a perfect and completed version of
the object they are making – a phrase credited to Christopher
Marguerite Patten is another possibility. Trace also
used the line "And now for something completely different", which was
later taken up by Monty Python. Time is also often given over to
reading letters and showing pictures sent in by viewers.
Over 5,000 editions have been produced since 1958, and almost every
episode from 1964 onwards still exists in the
BBC archives. This is
extremely unusual for programmes of that era. Editor Biddy Baxter
personally ensured that telerecordings and, from 1970, video recording
were kept of each episode.
Many items from
Blue Peter's history have become embedded in British
popular culture, especially moments when things have gone wrong, such
as the much-repeated clip of Lulu the elephant (from a 1969
edition) who urinated and defecated on the studio floor, appeared
to tread on the foot of presenter
John Noakes and then proceeded to
attempt an exit, dragging her keeper along behind her. Although it is
often assumed to have been broadcast live, the edition featuring Lulu
was one of the rare occasions when the programme was pre-recorded, as
the presenters were en route to Ceylon for the summer expedition at
the time of transmission. Other well-remembered and much-repeated
items from this era include the Girl Guides' campfire that got out of
hand on the 1970
Christmas edition, John Noakes's report on the
cleaning of Nelson's Column, and
Simon Groom referring to a
previous item on the production of a facsimile door knocker for Durham
Cathedral which was displayed alongside the original, with the words
'what a beautiful pair of knockers'.
Blue Peter maritime signal flag
Blue Peter was first aired on 16 October 1958. It had been
commissioned to producer
John Hunter Blair by Owen Reed, the head of
children's programmes at the BBC, as there were no programmes in
existence that catered for children aged between five and eight. Reed
got his inspiration after watching Children's Television Club, the
brainchild of former radio producer, Trevor Hill, who created the
latter show as a successor to his programme Out of School, broadcast
BBC Radio's Children's Hour; Hill networked the programme from BBC
Manchester and launched it aboard the Royal Iris paddle steamer on
Merseyside with presenter
Judith Chalmers welcoming everyone aboard at
the bottom of the gangplank.
It was subsequently televised about once a month Hill relates how
Reed came to stay with him and his wife, Margaret Potter, in Cheshire,
and was so taken with the "
Blue Peter" flag on the side of the ship
and the programme in general, that he asked to rename it and take it
to London to be broadcast on a weekly basis (see Reed's obituary). The
Blue Peter" is used as a maritime signal, indicating that the vessel
flying it is about to leave, and Reed chose the name to represent 'a
voyage of adventure' on which the programme would set out. Hunter
Blair also pointed out that blue was a child's favourite colour, and
Peter was the common name of a typical child's friend.
The first two presenters were Christopher Trace, an actor, and Leila
Williams, winner of
Miss Great Britain
Miss Great Britain in 1957. The two presenters
were responsible for activities which matched the traditional gender
roles. As broadcasting historian
Asa Briggs expressed it in 1995:
"Leila played with dolls; Chris played with trains". They were
supported on occasion by Tony Hart, an artist who later designed
the ship logo, who told stories about an elephant called Packi (or
Packie). It was broadcast every Friday for fifteen minutes
BBC TV (which later became
BBC One). Over the
first few months more features were added, including competitions,
documentaries, cartoons, and stories. Early programmes were almost
entirely studio-based, with very few filmed inserts being made.
From Monday 10 October 1960,
Blue Peter was switched from every Friday
to every Monday and extended from 15 minutes to 20 minutes
(17.00–17.20). In 1961, Hunter Blair became ill, and was often
absent. After he produced his last edition on 12 June 1961, a
series of temporary producers took up the post. Hunter Blair was
replaced the following September by Clive Parkhurst. He did not get
along with Leila Williams, who recalled "he could not find anything
for me to do", and in October, Williams did not appear for six
editions, and was eventually fired, leaving
Christopher Trace on his
own or with one-off presenters. Parkhurst was replaced by John
Anita West joined Trace on 7 May 1962. She
featured in just 16 editions, making her the shortest-serving
presenter, and was replaced by Valerie Singleton, who presented
regularly until 1972, and on special assignments until 1981.
Following the departure of Furness, a new producer who was committed
Blue Peter was required, so
Biddy Baxter was appointed. At the
time she was contracted to schools' programmes on the radio, and
therefore unable to take up her new post immediately.
It was suggested that Edward Barnes, a production assistant,
would temporarily produce the show until Baxter arrived, at which
point he would become her assistant. This suggestion was turned down,
and a more experienced producer, Leonard Chase, was appointed, with
Barnes as his assistant. Baxter eventually joined
Blue Peter at
the end of October 1962.
During this period, many iconic features of
Blue Peter were
introduced. The first appeal took place in December 1962, replacing
the practice of reviewing toys that children would ask for
Blue Peter's first pet, a brown and white mongrel dog
named Petra, was introduced on 17 December 1962. The puppy soon
died of distemper, and having decided against upsetting young viewers
over the news, Barnes and Baxter had to search London pet shops for a
convincing clandestine replacement. Features such as "makes"
(normally involving creating something such as an advent crown, out of
household junk) and cooking became regular instalments on
and continue to be used today. The
Blue Peter badge was
introduced in 1963, along with the programme's new logo designed by
Tony Hart. Baxter introduced a system that ensured replies sent to
viewers' letters were personal; as a girl, she had written to Enid
Blyton and twice received a standard reply, which had upset her.
The next year, from 28 September 1964,
Blue Peter began to be
broadcast twice weekly, with Baxter becoming the editor in 1965, and
Rosemary Gill (an assistant producer who had joined as a
temporary producer while Baxter was doing jury service) becoming the
programme's producers. The first
Blue Peter book, an annual in all
but name, was published that year, and one has been produced nearly
every year since. A third presenter, John Noakes, was
introduced at the end of 1965 and became the longest-serving
presenter. A complete contrast to Trace, Noakes set the scene for
"daredevil" presenters that has continued through the generations of
presenters. Trace left
Blue Peter in July 1967, and was
Peter Purves in November. The trio of Valerie Singleton,
John Noakes and
Peter Purves lasted five years, and according to
Richard Marson were 'the most famous presenting team in the show's
history'. In 1965, the first Summer Expedition (a filming trip
abroad) was held in Norway, and continued every year (except 1986 and
2011) until 2012, all over the world.
The first colour edition of
Blue Peter aired on 14 September 1970, and
the last black and white edition on 24 June 1974. A regular
feature of the 1970s were the
Special Assignments, which were
essentially reports on interesting topics, filmed on location.
Singleton took this role, and in effect became the programme's "roving
Blue Peter also offered breaking news on occasion, such
as the 1971 eruption of Mount Etna, as well as unique items such as
the first appearance of
Uri Geller on British television. In May 1976,
Lesley Judd interviewed Otto Frank, father of Anne Frank,
after he had agreed to bring his daughter's diaries to Britain.
From 1971, the summer expedition from the previous year was edited
into special programmes broadcast under the title
Blue Peter Flies The
World, televised during the summer break when the team were recording
the latest expedition. The first was shown in July 1971 and featured
the expedition to Jamaica
In 1974, the
Blue Peter Garden was officially opened in a green space
outside the Television Centre restaurant block. By this time, Blue
Peter had become an established children's programme, with regular
features which have since become traditions. In 1978, the show
celebrated its twentieth anniversary with a nationwide balloon launch
from five regional cities during a special edition of the programme
when Christopher Trace, Leila Williams,
Valerie Singleton and Peter
John Noakes contributed a message pre-recorded on
film. At this time, Trace introduced the
Blue Peter Outstanding
Endeavour Award. Its theme music was updated by
Mike Oldfield in
1979, and at the end of the decade a new presenting team was brought
in, consisting of Simon Groom,
Tina Heath and Christopher Wenner. They
were overshadowed by the success of the previous two decades, and
failed to make an impact. Heath decided to leave after a year when
she discovered she was pregnant, but agreed to have a live scan of her
baby, something which had never been done on television before. Blue
Peter was praised for this by the
National Childbirth Trust
National Childbirth Trust who told
BBC that in 'five minutes,
Blue Peter had done more to educate
children about birth than they'd achieved in ten years of sending out
leaflets'. Wenner was unpopular with viewers, so left along with
Heath on 23 June 1980.
Sarah Greene and Peter Duncan both joined in 1980, and a new producer,
Lewis Bronze, joined in 1982. The 1980s saw the
Blue Peter studio
become more colourful and bright, with the presenters gradually
wearing more fashionable outfits, in contrast to the more formal
appearance of previous decades. Several videos of
Blue Peter were
released from 1982, the first being
Blue Peter Makes, and an omnibus
comprising the two weekly editions appeared in 1986 on Sunday
mornings. Ahead of the show's 25th anniversary in October 1983, BBC1
ran a series
Blue Peter Goes Silver, revisiting previous summer
expeditions. The 25th anniversary itself was commemorated by a
documentary presented by
Valerie Singleton shown on
BBC1 on Sunday,
October 16 1983. This was followed the next day by a special
edition of the programme when
Christopher Trace presented the annual
Outstanding Endeavour Award and Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves,
Tina Heath and
Sarah Greene returned to celebrate
the show's birthday with the current presenting trio of Simon Groom,
Peter Duncan and
Janet Ellis who launched a national balloon treasure
hunt. On 27 June 1988, Baxter took part in her final show, after
nearly 26 years of involvement, and Bronze took her place as
editor. Around this time,
Blue Peter became distinctively
environmentally aware, and introduced a green badge in November 1988
for achievements related to the environment. Shortly before, in
October 1988, the show celebrated its thirtieth anniversary with a
competition to design the cover of a commemorative issue of the 'Radio
Valerie Singleton presented the Outstanding Endeavour Award
on the birthday show itself.
In 1989 (and again in 1992 and 1994), new arrangements of the theme
tune was used. Due to falling ratings in
BBC children's programming,
Alan Yentob suggested airing a third edition of Blue
Peter each week from 1995. This meant that it was sometimes
pre-recorded; Joe Godwin, the director, suggested that the Friday
edition should be a lighter version of
Blue Peter, which would
concentrate on music, celebrities and games. Helen Lederer
presented a documentary on
BBC2 to celebrate the show's 35th
anniversary Here's One I Made Earlier, with a special edition of
the regular programme featuring the returns of Leila Williams, John
Lesley Judd amongst many other presenters. Neither Noakes
or Judd had appeared in the studio since leaving the programme and
Williams was returning for the first time in 15 years. A fourth
presenter, Katy Hill, was introduced in 1995, but unlike earlier
decades, there was little stability in the line-up, with resignations
and new additions made almost every year of the decade. The 1990s also
saw many more live broadcasts on location, with many shot entirely
away from the studio.
Blue Peter was also one of the first
television series to launch a website. Oliver Macfarlane replaced
Bronze as editor in 1996.
1998 marked the 40th anniversary of the TV show. Apart from two summer
proms concerts, the most talked about event to celebrate the milestone
was a trip behind LNER Peppercorn Class A2 60532
Blue Peter on an
Edinburgh to London railtour. The special train in question was Days
out Limited's "Heart of Midlothian" from London Kings Cross to
Edinburgh Waverley on Sun 19 Apr 1998, with 60532 working the train
from Edinburgh. Due to safety rules, none of the presenters were
supposed to ride on board the footplate during the trip. Peter Kirk,
who was in charge on board the train and who was presenting from the
footplate, however, allowed
Stuart Miles to travel on board the
Newark-on-Trent and Peterborough. This was the
stretch of track which, on 3 July 1938, saw the world speed record for
steam locomotives of 126 mph (203 km/h) set by LNER A4
Locomotive no. 4468 Mallard.
In October 1998, Richard Bacon was sacked, following reports in News
of the World that he had taken cocaine. This incident followed
shortly after the show's 40th anniversary, when previous presenters
returned for the programme on 16th October. Those returning included
Leila Williams, Valerie Singleton, John Noakes, Peter Purves, Diane
Louise Jordan, Anthea Turner, John Leslie, Tim Vincent, Yvette
Fielding, Caron Keating, Mark Curry, Janet Ellis, Peter Duncan, Sarah
Greene, Tina Heath, Simon Groome and
Christopher Wenner . Steve
Hocking then replaced Macfarlane as editor, at a time that was
believed to be a difficult period for the programme. He introduced
a further re-arrangement of the theme tune and a new graphics package
in September 1999.
The 2000s started off when two time capsules that had been buried on
Blue Peter were opened up. The former presenters were invited back to
assist, and the rest of the programme looked at life in the 1970s when
the first capsule was buried. With Hill's departure and
Liz Barker in 2000, the new team of Konnie Huq, Simon
Thomas, Matt Baker and herself made the programme strong and
consistent for the next five years, which had been somewhat lacking in
the 1990s. The Friday edition, as in the previous decade, featured
games and competitions, but additionally there was a drama series, The
Quest, which featured cameos from many former presenters.
Basil Brush also made several appearances on Fridays. It was at this
time that the new Head of the
BBC Children's Department, Nigel
Pickard, asked for
Blue Peter to be broadcast all year round. This was
achieved by having two editions per week instead of three during the
summer months, and using pre-recorded material. The early 2000s
Christmas productions, in which the presenters took
part. In 2003,
Richard Marson became the new editor, and one of
his first tasks was changing the output of
Blue Peter on the digital
CBBC, which for the first year of the channel's launch consisted of
repeated editions, plus spin-off series
Blue Peter Unleashed and Blue
Peter Flies the World. This new arrangement involved a complex
schedule of live programmes and pre-recorded material, being broadcast
BBC One and CBBC. Marson also introduced a new set, graphics and
In September 2007, a new editor, Tim Levell, took over. At the same
time, budget cuts meant that the programme came from a smaller studio.
In February 2008 the
BBC One programme was moved from 5 pm to
4.35 pm to accommodate The Weakest Link, and as a result, Blue
Peter's ratings dropped to as low as 100,000 viewers in the age 6–12
bracket but have since steadily improved.
The specially painted
Boeing 757 landing at
London Heathrow Airport.
On 16 October 2008
Blue Peter celebrated the 50th Anniversary with a
reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by Queen Elizabeth II and
featuring several former presenters. There was a special live
edition of the show broadcast to celebrate the anniversary with many
returning presenters and a 60-minute documentary on
interviews with many previous presenters and production staff,
including Edward Barnes,
Biddy Baxter and Rosemary Gill.
Writing in the BBC's in-house magazine, Ariel, in 2009,
Richard Deverell announced plans to re-invent the show to
be more like the BBC's motoring programme Top Gear. Deverell hopes
that by adding "danger and excitement",
Blue Peter will achieve the
same "playground buzz" among children as Top Gear.
On 29 March 2011,
Blue Peter became the first programme in the UK to
broadcast an entire show in 360 degrees on the web. Viewers were able
to watch the programme via their TVs and simultaneously interact with
the television studio in front and behind the cameras on the
website. Viewers were also challenged to play a game where they
had to find particular crew members and staff dressed up in
The final edition of
Blue Peter to broadcast from the BBC's Television
Centre in London, was broadcast on 28 June 2011, before a move to the
BBC's new facilities at
MediaCityUK in Salford. The set left
BBC Television Centre
BBC Television Centre was subsequently purchased and
installed at Sunderland University's David Puttnam Media Centre in
When the new series started on 26 September 2011, after the usual
Barney Harwood and
Helen Skelton revealed the new look
Blue Peter studio along with the new music and title sequence.
Blue Peter presenter
Andy Akinwolere was not initially
replaced, and for the first time in 50 years only two presenters
remained on the programme until
Lindsey Russell joined the team in
From 12 January 2012,
Blue Peter has been broadcast all year round
(with no break for summer) once a week, its original premiere being on
CBBC on Thursdays at 5.45pm, changed to 5.30pm from April 2013 then
5:00 pm from March 2015. It was usually repeated on Fridays on BBC
One, although this ceased in December 2012. A repeat airs at 9.00am on
Sundays. At this time, Levell left to work at
BBC Radio 5 Live; he was
replaced (initially in an acting capacity) as editor by Ewan
Vinnicombe, who had worked on the programme as a producer since 2007.
Blue Peter occasionally also included specials and
spin-offs such as "Helen's Polar Adventure" or the Stargazing Live
special on other days of the week. From April 2017, the show reverted
to 5:30 pm.
The 2013 team consisted of Barney, Lindsey and Radzi up to September
2017 Barney left, leaving just two presenters again. The format
adapted with slightly different branding and a more classic take on
the show, as well as beginning '
Blue Peter Bites', five minute clips
CBBC showing just one challenge or video from episodes. Blue
Peter pup Iggy accompanied the team until 2016 whilst Shelley the
Tortoise continues to make occasional appearances. The
garden is maintained by child gardener George who appears throughout
the year. The team made more use of the website with more quizzes and
videos such as '
Blue Peter VS...' and 'Ultimate Challenges' as well as
holding a fan club hour after the show where fans could leave comments
as to the answers of riddles or headline suggestions and ask guests
questions. A popular game on the show is 'Spot Shelley', where, in
most episodes, an animated version of Shelley the tortoise is hiding
somewhere/on something and viewers must leave a comment on the website
during the show, the first person to spot her wins a shout-out (or
some more expensive or weird prizes as Barney would often joke, such
as a house in Spain or a unicorn called Eric).
In the summer
Blue Peter challenges its viewers to earn all of their
Blue Peter badges (with the exception of orange and gold) through five
weeks, where the team look at each individual badge for a week,
finishing with the limited time Sports badge which appears every
summer with a different design. In the show before these weeks, the
team show viewers how to make something to keep their badges in/on and
continue the theme through the weeks which so far have been the
2016: Badge Baton Relay (Badges stored within a baton tube)
2017: Big Badge Boat Bonanza (Badges displayed on the iconic BP ship,
a 2D model that can be made from paper). In August Lindsey went to
LNWR Heritage in
Crewe to help out with the overhaul of 60532 Blue
Peter, the locomotive in question was being overhauled for a return to
service on both heritage railways and also to haul enthusiast trains
on the national network (This engine was even used in a 1998 episode
to mark the TV show's 40th anniversary).
Ahead of their Jubilee celebrations,
Blue Peter introduced their first
ever Guest Editor to the show on 19 October 2017 which was children's
author Dame Jaqueline Wilson. Guest Editors have control for the day
and plan what they what to show on their edition, taking control
behind the scenes as well.
New Diamond Badge, 5000th Episode and 60th Anniversary (2018)
The 1st of February 2018 marked
Blue Peter's 5000th edition. In this
special show the brand new Diamond badge was revealed for the first
time, designed by Henry Holland, which is a special badge that will be
awarded within the special 60th year. Magician Issy Simpson helped
reveal the badge from 'the safe' in a special magic act with the help
of studio guests;
Harry Potter illustrator, Jonny Duddle, drew the
first Diamond badge on Harry Potter,
New Hope Club performed live and
Lindsey fired one the guns of
HMS Belfast to mark the 5000 episode.
On 12 October 2017 it was revealed that at the studios where the show
is filmed, a Hollywood style walk of fame has been created with all
the names of people who have received their Gold
Blue Peter badge. The
walk way will lead up to the front of the studios. This is to mark 60
Blue Peter. In October 2018 the show will celebrate their
60th anniversary. It was confirmed that from January 2018 the show
will build up with big challenges and much more all leading up to the
big show in October 2018 to celebrate the shows 60th Birthday.
Presenters and contributors
Further information: List of
Blue Peter presenters
Christopher Trace and
Leila Williams were the first presenters of Blue
Peter in October 1958, and since then, there have been 35 subsequent
presenters. The current presenting team comprises Radzi Chinyanganya
Helen Skelton in October 2013) and Lindsey Russell.
Russell is the first presenter to be chosen by viewers following a
contest to find a new presenter, entitled '
Blue Peter! You Decide.'
Helen Skelton left
Blue Peter in September 2013, after 5 and a half
years on the show, with Barney the red-setter dachshund going with
Barney Harwood departed 4 years later. Prior to this, in the
first two years of the programme's new home at Salford, guest
presenters occasionally covered for Helen and Barney in the studio or
in some film reports.
Other people who have played roles on the show include the zoologist
George Cansdale, who was the programme's first on-screen veterinarian,
Percy Thrower who was the show's gardening expert from 21 March
1974 to 23 November 1987 and was presented with a Gold
badge shortly before he died in 1988. He was followed from 1988–91
by Chris Crowder and from 1991–2000 by Clare Bradley. From 2004–
2013 by Chris Collins. From 2014 – present, The Skinny Jean
Gardeners Lee & Dale Connelly and child gardener George Hassal the
RHS Ambassador, who makes appearances throughout the year.
Another contributor, though rarely seen on screen, was Margaret
Parnell, who created almost all of the show's "makes" from 1963 until
her retirement in 2001. Her role was then filled by Gillian Shearing,
though Parnell's name still appeared in the credits from time to time
when a classic "make" was re-used.
Director/producer Alex Leger who joined the show in 1975 as a
production assistant finally retired in 2011, making him
longest serving staff member ever. Presenter
Anthea Turner said of
Leger: "Alex was the director we feared and loved in the same
sentence; he would push you to your limits of endurance and in my case
made me face my fear of water by taking me to Crystal Palace to shoot
a film about high board diving. Never have my knees knocked so
much." Writing on
The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post in November 2012, Leger
admitted the "piles of clippings, strange souvenirs from overseas
trips, half-finished 'makes' from the show and half-dead pot plants
disguised the fact something ground-breaking was happening in the
Blue Peter offices". Leger published his book,
Behind the Badge, on 5 November 2012, in collaboration with many of
his former colleagues.
Blue Peter pets
Blue Peter pets are the animals who regularly appear on the
programme. These include dogs, cats, parrots and tortoises. Among the
Blue Peter Pets are: a dog, a red setter-dachshund called
Barney; two cats, one called Socks and one called Cookie; and one
tortoise called Shelley. Mabel retired on 30 March 2010 after 14 years
on the show. The latest pet to join is 2-year-old Barney, a red
setter-dachshund, who made his TV debut on Tuesday 22 September 2009,
but left four years later at the same time as presenter Helen Skelton.
Lucy, a golden retriever, died aged 13 in late March 2011. In July
2013, Socks and Cookie made their final appearance in the studio in
Salford, as (like Shelley the tortoise) they live in London, but they
are still regarded as part of the programme team. The trained Guide
Dog Iggy appears regularly.
Blue Peter Garden
Blue Peter garden at
BBC Television Centre
The presenters also maintain the
Blue Peter Garden. The original
garden, adjacent to Television Centre, was designed by Percy Thrower
in 1974. Its features include an Italian sunken garden with a pond,
which contains goldfish, a vegetable patch, greenhouse and viewing
platform. George the
Tortoise was interred in the garden following his
death in 2004, and there is also a bust of the dog Petra, sculptures
of Mabel and the
Blue Peter ship, and a plaque in honour of Percy
Thrower. The 2000
Blue Peter time capsule was buried in the Garden and
later relocated to the current location, where it is due to be opened
in 2029. The garden is also available to other programmes for
outside broadcasts, and is often used for the links between children's
programmes during the summer months and for
BBC Breakfast's weather
On the Monday 21 November 1983 edition,
Janet Ellis reported that over
the weekend the garden had been vandalised. The report contained an
on-air appeal for viewers to come forward with information—which now
often appears on clip shows. The garden had been
vandalised previously in 1978. A rumour circulated in the early 1990s
that the vandalism had been carried out by a gang including the
Dennis Wise and
Les Ferdinand when they were
teenagers. Both men have denied direct involvement in the actual
vandalism, although Ferdinand did later appear to confess to "helping
a few people over the wall." Later still, however, Ferdinand
claimed that his admission of involvement had merely been a joke, and
that he had not been involved at all.
When the programme's production base moved to Salford
September 2011, sections of the garden, including the sculptures and
the sunken pond, were carefully relocated to the piazza of the new
studio facility. It was officially opened on Thursday 23 February 2012
by HRH The Princess Royal and continues to be used throughout the
year for events and live shows.
Blue Peter badge
Children (and adults) who appear on the show or achieve something
notable may be awarded the coveted
Blue Peter badge. The
badge allows holders free entry into a number of visitor attractions
across the UK. In March 2006, this privilege was temporarily suspended
after a number of badges were discovered for sale on the auction site
eBay. This suspension was lifted in June 2006, when a new "
Badge Card" was introduced to combat the problem, which is issued to
each badge winner to prove that they are the rightful owners.
The presenters almost always wear their badge; the only exception
being when their apparel is incompatible (for example, a life jacket),
in which case a sticker with the ship emblem is normally used instead.
In addition, large prints or stickers of the ship are attached to
vehicles driven by the presenters during filming assignments.
In addition to the standard "blue" badge, several variations of the
badge exist, for various achievements, including:
Silver badges, For sending in a letter or poem to the show when you
already have the blue badge
Green badges, for contributions with a conservation, nature or
Gold badges, the most rarely awarded, for exceptional achievement the
second highest awarded badge
Competition winners orange badges, for competition winners or runners
up (replacing the previous circular "competition winner's badge")
Purple badges, awarded for completing a review of the show by
completing the form on the
Blue Peter website
Limited Edition Badges
The Diamond badge, for the 60th anniversary year (Feb 1-Dec 31st
2018), awarded for filling in a form which includes writing about 7 BP
values and a picture of a favourite memory
50th anniversary badge, awarded for sending a picture, poem or letter
on the subject of the programme's 50th birthday
Factbyte factory badge, Awarded to people who completed up to V.I.P.
level 7 on the Factbyte factory online game on the official
Website in 2009.
Sport badge, awarded to people from July – September 2013 (and again
each summer since) for inspiring a friend or family member to try a
Diamond Badge, The diamond badge is to mark the shows 60th birthday,
viewers can apply for a diamond badge if they have already got a blue
peter badge. The badge will only be available for 2018.
The programme also marks annual events, including Chinese New Year, St
David's Day, Shrove Tuesday, Mothering Sunday,
Guy Fawkes Night
Guy Fawkes Night and
Christmas. The latter, in particular, is a special occasion with a
traditional format repeated year on year.
See also: Shrove Tuesday
Usually shows one of the presenters making a pancake. It is usually
the newest presenter who makes the pancake and attempts to toss it
See also: Mothering Sunday
Usually shows the viewers how to make their own Mother's Day card or
Guy Fawkes Night
Guy Fawkes Night
Usually tells the history of
Guy Fawkes and the
Gunpowder Plot whilst
the presenters tell viewers about the firework code and tips for a
safe bonfire and fireworks night.
See also: Christmas
Christmas programme usually opens with the signature
tune being replaced with a brass band arrangement of the carol "Good
King Wenceslas" juxtaposed with shots of viewers' home-made Christmas
cards and followed by the lighting of the final candle on the Advent
Crown. The programme's
Christmas manger figures are featured,
reminding viewers of the Nativity story, a last-minute
either a song and dance or filming assignment and the grand finale;
Chalk Farm Salvation Army Band and children from various schools,
assisted by members of the
BBC Symphony Chorus, marching "up the hill"
and into the studio from the cold outside (lanterns in hand) singing a
Christmas carol (alternating years between either "Hark the Herald
Angels Sing" or "O! Come All Ye Faithful") around the
Christmas tree. In some years there was a
Christmas play, either
spoofing hit movies like Grease, popular songs or a Pantomime. Much of
the script has been repeated year after year for this special
programme. However, for the 2007
Christmas programme, none of these
traditions were featured (although the crib had been glimpsed in the
previous edition), ending a format repeated annually since the 1960s.
Apart from presents for the presenters and pets and a brief look at
the programme's Nativity crib, the traditional elements remained
largely absent in 2008 and 2009. From 2010 the closing carol was
reinstated, with the
Chalk Farm Salvation Army Band being replaced by
the Salford band from 2011 onwards, as the programme had moved to
MediaCity by then. In 2014, the full traditional content was revived,
including the viewers' home-made cards accompanied by the Good King
Wenceslas arrangement, the Advent Crown (although now using electric
candles for safety reasons) and (after an absence in the previous two
years) the sparkling ship logo appearing by the shot of the crib in
the studio at the end of the closing carol. These elements have been
retained in the subsequent two years, apart from the Good King
Wenceslas sequence being dropped in 2016.
Blue Peter III an RNLI D class lifeboat, one of 25 lifeboats funded by
the programme, now part of the Royal National Lifeboat Collection on
display at the Historic Dockyard, Chatham.
An enduring feature of the programme is the annual charity appeal,
which asks viewers to collect items that can be recycled or sold to
raise money for the chosen cause. This is always a charity project in
the UK in odd-numbered years, and abroad in even-numbered. The appeal
is usually launched in late November and runs through to February or
March of the following year. Until 1979, only waste products were ever
collected, such as stamps, linens, coins, scrap metal etc. In 1979,
one of the most popular forms of raising appeal money was introduced;
encouraging viewers to hold "
Blue Peter Bring And Buy Sales" at which
buyers are also encouraged to bring their own bric-a-brac or produce
to sell. The Great Bring And Buy Sale was used every few years or so
as a means of adding variety to the collecting theme during other
Between 2001 and 2003 a series of "Bring And Buy Appeals" led many
viewers and the media to voice their concern that the traditional
method of collecting scrap items to recycle was being abandoned in
favour of the "easier revenue" generated by the sales. This led to an
on-air explanation by presenter
Konnie Huq during the 2003 Get
Together Appeal that this particular appeal required the sort of
funding that only Bring And Buy Sales could raise. The 2004 and 2005
appeals saw a return to the collecting theme: the first being to
collect old clothes that Oxfam could sell in its stores to raise funds
for a family-searching service in third world countries ravaged by
war, and the second being the collection of old mobile telephones and
coins that could be recycled to raise money for ChildLine. Continuing
the return to collecting unwanted items,
Blue Peter launched its Shoe
Biz Appeal campaign in 2006. In partnership with UNICEF, its aim was
to collect unwanted pairs of shoes or other footwear in order to raise
money for children orphaned by AIDS and HIV in Malawi. The 2007 appeal
was the "Disc Drive" – working with
Barnardo's to sell unwanted
CDs and DVDs.
During appeals, the sum of money or objects collected is presented on
the totaliser – a display that lights to show the amount
collected. With some appeals, a second totaliser has often been
introduced immediately after the original target has been met, with
the aim of providing an incentive to keep on donating.
The 2007 Disc Drive Appeal was, controversially, handled in a
different editorial style, and it was not featured in each programme
since its launch as in previous years. Also the totaliser, previously
a part of the studio set, was relegated to an on-screen
The 2008 appeal was called Mission Nutrition, an attempt to provide
children in the UK, Bangladesh and South Africa with better food. As
part of this appeal, the
Blue Peter presenters held the world's
biggest bring and buy sale on 18 February 2009, which was attended by
several celebrities as well as regular people. Since the 2008
appeal there has been a return to regular features on the Appeal's
progress in each edition, and the reinstatement of a physical studio
The 2009 Appeal was "Send a Smile Appeal" which was symbolic as being
the first Appeal in the history of the programme to blend a collecting
theme with the
Blue Peter "make" methodology. Children were encouraged
to collect unwanted T-shirts to be donated to Operation Smile, a
charity providing free reconstructive surgery to children in the
developing world, where they were to be used as surgical gowns for
their operations. Appeal contributors were encouraged to customise
their gowns in a variety of creative ways, as well as following
instructions given on the programme for how to include eyelets and
ties to the backs of the gowns. In subsequent years, the traditional
Appeal has been dropped in favour of general fundraising and
BBC Children in Need.
As part of the 50th year a
BBC estimate was that since the first
Blue Peter has raised over £100 million (inflation
adjusted figure to 2008 value) by appeals.
Blue Peter promotes the
Blue Peter Book Awards, a series of literary
prizes for children's literature awarded annually, and inaugurated in
In 1964, the first
Blue Peter book was published. Although an annual
in all but name, the books are rarely referred to as such. Each book
(published in time for Christmas) features highlights from the
previous twelve months of
Blue Peter features, and chronicles major
guests who visit the studio, the Summer expedition, the annual appeal,
and the pets. The style of the books' contents has changed very little
over the years, with the only noticeable difference between a 1960s
book and the current formula being the increase in colour photography
and digital artwork; otherwise, the principle is the same. There was,
in 1986 and 1990, and between 1992 and 1997, a break in the
publication of the books. Since Pedigree took over the books in 2004,
there has been an increase in quality. The books are now bigger than
before, with a greater number of pages. The
Blue Peter editor and
members of the production team write the book, and choose its content,
though the book is written from the presenters' point of view. As for
the 'book or annual' debate, it is interesting to note that, as of
Book 34 in 2004, the cover makes reference to it as "Annual XXXX" and
the spine marking it as "Book XX". This is probably because The Beano
and The Dandy books were renamed as annuals in 2003, leaving Blue
Peter the only one still using the name book on its annuals.
A collectors' market has developed, with "Book One" being especially
rare and commanding triple figures on online auction websites. Books
from the late 1960s and 1970s are more common, and often turn up for
less than a pound in second hand bookshops or charity stores. Books
from the 1980s and 1990s tend to be more expensive and rarer, as
people realised the value of keeping hold of them.
In the early 1970s a set of
Blue Peter mini books were produced,
covering specific topics that had been featured in the TV series. A
set of these were buried in 1971 in the time capsule for the year
2000. The spin-off series
Special Assignment also had
In 2011 it was announced that due to falling sales, the annuals would
be scrapped. However, programme editor Tim Levell indicated that
the book could return in the future.
BBC One (1958–2012)
Blue Peter first aired once a week on Mondays on the
BBC One, for a duration of 15 minutes. From 28
September 1964 until 1995 it was shown twice a week on Mondays and
Thursdays, extending its duration to 25 minutes. A third show was
added in 1995, broadcasting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and
from 2000 the show began airing at 5pm, due to
Newsround moving to a
From 2006 the show's output began to be reduced, first by dropping the
Friday edition, and initially moving the programme schedule to Monday
to Wednesday, before moving again to Tuesday to Thursday. In May 2007,
it was announced the show would lose a show a week and return to
broadcasting twice weekly, leaving Tuesday and Wednesday the only
days on which
Blue Peter was broadcast on
BBC One. At the time the BBC
claimed that the purpose of returning to two shows a week was to
increase the quality of the programme's content rather than simply a
means of reducing production costs.
The show's schedule was changed again in February 2008 when
was moved to the 4.35 pm slot on
BBC One, due to The Weakest
Link moving from
BBC Two to replace
Neighbours which had transferred
to Five. However, this timing change led to a decrease in viewing
figures for the weekday afternoon C
BBC One slot, with
receiving fewer than 100,000 viewers, down from around 335,000 in
BBC Trust recommended that the
BBC produce plans, detailing
how they intended to increase viewership, by mid-2009.
In September 2010, the show was moved from Wednesdays and Tuesdays to
Mondays and Tuesdays at the same time slot.
CBBC Channel (2012–)
From Thursday, 12 January 2012 another episode was dropped, with the
show coming full circle by only broadcasting one new episode each
week. For the first time in the show's history, first run episodes
were now broadcast on the
CBBC Channel, at 5.45pm on Thursdays.
However, a repeat was still broadcast the following day on
Eventually however, in December 2012,
Blue Peter ended its 54-year run
BBC One and now airs only on the
CBBC Channel. The move came as
regular children's programming was removed entirely from
BBC One and
Two following the completion of the digital switchover. Viewing
figures determined that 93% of CBBC's target audience was now watching
the BBC's children's programming on the dedicated
(including first-run episodes of
Blue Peter), and few viewers were
watching solely on
Repeats and spin-off shows
Blue Peter was first repeated in full on satellite and cable channel
UK Gold in the 1990s, one of the first archive channels in the UK.
Later it moved to sister channel UK Gold Classics when UK Gold began
broadcasting more recent programmes, although that channel lasted only
six months before closing.
In September 1998, the
BBC launched its first digital only channel BBC
Choice. A few months after launch, a new weekend afternoon
strand began broadcasting, and as part of this a highlights show
Re:Peter showcased the best of that week's
Blue Peter shows. Re:Peter,
along with a similar highlights show for Live & Kicking known as
L&K Replay, ended when the strand was axed in April 2000 and
became the daily 6 am – 7 pm
CBBC on Choice
programming block which launched in November 1999. 9. However, in
2002, repeats of
Blue Peter started being shown on
CBBC on Choice's
successor, the newly launched
CBBC Channel, along with spin-off shows
Blue Peter Unleashed and
Blue Peter Flies the World. From 2003 a new
arrangement involved new material being shown daily, on both
Signature tune and motif
The signature tune has always been a hornpipe, originally using
variations of Barnacle Bill by Herbert Ashworth-Hope, and should not
be confused with the American sailor song of the same title .
The original opening titles showed a
Blue Peter flag being lowered on
a ship. In 1979 it was updated by Mike Oldfield, and again in the
1990s. From the 2008 series onwards it became a rendition of the
similar Sailor's Hornpipe. However, from 14 October 2008, the tune has
become a blend of both tunes.
The programme's motif is a stylised sailing ship designed by Tony
Hart. Hart's original design was never successfully used in a totally
uniform fashion, with several different reproductions used in studio,
on badges, the
Blue Peter books and on-screen graphics. This was until
the show's redesign in 1999, when the ship's rigging and hull detail
was removed, and in 2000, the flags were subtly reshaped. For the 2008
series there has been a return to the original flag design on the
ship, although some of the mast detail on the bow and stern has been
Blue Peter opening theme is called "Barnacle Bill" and was
composed by Ashworth Hope (1880–1962), who was a successful
solicitor as well as a composer. It has been used ever since the
programme began in 1958, apart from a brief period in autumn 2008 when
a version of the "Sailors Hornpipe" was used instead.
The opening theme has been updated several times. The following is a
list of all the versions of the
Blue Peter signature tune, "Barnacle
Bill" that have been used on the show :
Sidney Torch & The New Century Orchestra: October 1958 to January
Mike Oldfield: January 1979 to June 1989 (see "
Blue Peter" (Mike
Simon Brint: September 1989 to September 1992
Simon Brint: September 1992 to September 1994
The Yes/No People: September 1994 to August 1999
David Arnold and the
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra: September 1999 to
Nial Brown: September 2004 to December 2006
Dave Cooke: January 2007 to June 2007
Dave Cooke &
Blue Peter Music Makers September 2007 to June 2008
Dobs Vye: September 2008 – June 2011
Banks & Wag: September 2011 - present
The debut of a new version of the famous theme tune "Barnacle Bill" is
sometimes accompanied with an introduction by the presenters at the
time explaining the reasons behind the new rendition. Mike Oldfield
appeared on the programme around 1979, and his version of the theme
tune was so popular with viewers that the producers decided to record
it for use as a permanent theme.
Despite a new rendition of the theme music being introduced in 2004, a
further new version was arranged by
Murray Gold and recorded in 2006,
as part of a viewers' competition, with prize winners taking part in
the final orchestral recording. Viewers were told that this new
version of the theme would be used when the series returned from its
summer break in September 2006; however, for unknown reasons, this was
not the case, save for excerpts being used as incidental music.
Instead, when the September 2006 series began, a slightly shortened
version of the 2004 arrangement was used, with the opening bars
removed. Between January and June 2007, Dave Cooke re-arranged the
theme tune, although it was confirmed that Murray Gold's new
arrangement would be used from the new series in September 2007, to
coincide with the programme's 50th anniversary celebrations. However,
the version that ultimately aired bears little resemblance to either
the original Murray Gold/Music Makers recording or any previous
recording of the theme.
It is unknown what the closing music of
Blue Peter was in its earliest
days, but certainly by the mid-1960s, the show was closing with an
edit of Parts Two and Three of "Drums and Fife", from a 1961 suite of
six library cues by Wilfred Burns, performed by The Light Symphonia,
conducted by Roberto Capelli (Conroy, BM 301-A). This recording
remained in use until 1979 when it was supplanted by a cover version
by Mike Oldfield. The same tune remained in use thereafter, being
re-arranged in line with subsequent versions of the opening signature
tune; however, between 1999–2004, a shorter version of the opening
tune was used to close the programme. The editor at the time, Steve
Hocking, said that he was happy for the same tune to be used at the
beginning and end of each broadcast; however, in recent years the
traditional finale tune has returned, with Nial Brown rearranging the
closing tune from 2004 to 2006, and Dave Cooke doing so as of January
2007. From September 2007 to June 2008 the closing theme was slightly
extended and rearranged, once again by Dave Cooke.
For the start of the September 2008 series "Barnacle Bill" was dropped
as the signature tune after nearly fifty years of use and replaced by
an arrangement of the very similar traditional dance tune "Sailor's
Hornpipe". On 14 October (the same week as the 50th anniversary) the
opening arrangement of the tune was reworked to include elements of
"Barnacle Bill" once again. The closing theme for 2008 is the same as
opening signature tune.
In September 2011, the series returned to using "Barnacle Bill" though
with the opening bars and drum roll omitted (along with the "Sailor's
Hornpipe") and the traditional closing signature tune not used.
1958–1989: The earliest episodes featured stock footage of a sailing
ship under the opening credits.
By the late 1960s,
Blue Peter's opening sequence featured extracts of
that edition's filmed inserts or an event in the studio where speech
was absent accompanied by the signature tune and superimposed
presenter credits. The theme music would either play out in full, or
fade out appropriately depending on the programme's content.
1989–1997: From 1989, a 2D animation of the
Blue Peter ship had been
developed and used alongside the 1985-introduced word-logo and was
used as a method of displaying both the ship and
Blue Peter name to
precede any film or episode footage as before. From 1992 a 3D
animation was used and further replaced by another graphical sequence
in 1994. Once again, these animations preceded any film, studio or
episode footage. Occasionally, from the 1994 series onwards, the 3D
animation of the
Blue Peter ship would be followed by a preview of
certain items on the day's programme with a "coming up" caption and a
presenter commentary. Again, the theme music would either play in full
or fade out at an appropriate time.
1997–1999: From 1997, a more generic title sequence was used with
the 1994 ship and title animation remaining, but was followed by clips
of different action shots from a variety of the past years' filming
assignments intermixed with specially filmed "posing" footage of the
presenters. The traditional format of episode-specific film or studio
setting scenes were still used, occasionally on their own, or mixed
into the generic footage to varying degrees depending on the day's
edition. The theme music tended to play out in full, and on days when
a totally generic version of the titles were used, the opening was
often followed by a "coming up" sequence narrated by the presenters.
1999–2004: By 1999, a new "bubble ship" symbol and titles sequence
had been developed to be used alongside the traditional ship emblem.
These bubble ships were seen floating around the presenters who were
displayed in specially posed shots, and appeared to be floating above
a graphical ocean on their own blue coloured ships, and in 2003 when
the presenters shots were updated, they appeared to be waving, smiling
and blowing the bubble ships. This footage was also mixed in with
episode-specific film, introductory studio setting or more
predominantly from the 2003 series onwards a preview of many items on
the day's programme with a return to a "coming up" caption and
2004–2006: In 2004, a similar approach was adopted with each
presenter posing with "ship's rigging" in their hands, appearing as
though they were hoisting the sails of the
Blue Peter ship. This
sequence, designed by
BBC Broadcast (now Red Bee Media) saw a return
to the sole use of the original
Blue Peter ship logo and also featured
Blue Peter pets in their own poses. Predominantly these titles
would precede a "coming up" sequence or occasionally clips of the
edition's filming assignment. The original version used from
2004–2005 opened with the ship logo and featured silhouettes of
unidentified children also hoisting sails along with the presenters.
This was discarded in 2005 for the last year of the sequence's run and
opened with the ship and
Blue Peter name for the first time in six
years – allowing more flexibility for when the titles would
merge into that day's edition without being completed in full, as in
the 1950–1990s era – before flowing into the rest of the
titles (minus children) as before.
2006–2008: From September 2006 a new title sequence was introduced,
opening with the traditional
Blue Peter ship logo, followed by the
presenters surrounded by "fact file boxes" displaying statistics and
information about them and also pictures of the pets and snippets of
previous assignment films. This also marked the end of the traditional
format of the presenter credits being credited in order of seniority
(although this is likely to be down to the stylistic dictation of the
titles in their "girl boy girl boy" arrangement – the only
Gethin Jones appearing before
Zöe Salmon who
debuted on the show five months before him). As in previous years,
this new graphical sequence precedes a "coming up" sequence or,
alternatively, footage of that edition's filming assignment. From
September 2007 the posed portion of the same opening titles followed a
"coming up" clip of that day's programme and used a new theme tune to
Following Konnie Huq's departure in January 2008, the order of the
opening sequence was rejigged slightly, with a filmed aerial pan of a
cliff-face taken from a helicopter, featuring a lighthouse and
large-scale impression of the
Blue Peter ship on a grass lawn adjacent
to it. The "chopper" sound of the helicopter's propellers imitates the
traditional drum roll of the
Blue Peter theme tune. The sequence then
merges into a summary of what's coming up on the programme, with a
quick cut at the end to the remaining three presenter poses, now
having reverted to appearance order, i.e., Zöe > Gethin > Andy,
before ending with the 2006–2008 logo board, minus Konnie's
2008–2009: This era of
Blue Peter titles see a return to the
original format without posing presenters. Instead, a fast moving
graphical approach is taken where the main colour is light blue. The
logo board with the new look word logo appears at the end and
graphically 'flows' away to reveal the day's programme. 2008 sees a
new word mark for the first time since 1999 and some of the detail has
been altered on the ship logo – for example, a return to the
original flag design. Small changes have also featured in the studio
where the mezzanine wall is now red, the big screen has a new frame
and the seating has been re-jigged slightly.
2009–2011: In the same style to the 2008 titles; however, the
presenters' pictures and first names were now featured in the titles,
following the 'coming up' section.
2011–2013: The new
Blue Peter titles were created by Mighty Giant.
The titles were meant to capture the essence of the show in 20 short
seconds. The sequence Mighty Giant created had the presenters playing
and throwing an object that changes throughout. As it transforms it
captures another element of
Blue Peter. These objects include for
Blue Peter adventure box, Technology screen and a ball.
Barney's elements of
Blue Peter in the titles include a globe, a piece
of gaming technology and a keyboard. Mighty Giant shot the presenters
against a green screen and then combined them with 3d objects back at
its Northern Quarter base to create the desired effect. The logo also
had a make over with the ship being put into a blue circle and the
original designed ship in white inside the circle. The writing is the
same as the 2008 logo.
2013–2015: In 2013, the sequence had been replaced by a series of
clips of previous programme activities.
2015–present: In 2015, the sequence has a colourful graphics with
rainbow lines, as well as the letters of the logo and the
ship logo were floating around in the titles. This sequence is
designed by Liquid. It looks similar to the 1999–2004 and
General notes: The opening titles of every programme featured the list
of the presenters in order of their first appearance on
regardless of whether they actually appear in the edition in question
(after 1995 and the introduction of the fourth presenter it was
unusual to have all four presenters in the studio at the same time,
save for special programmes). The only time this rule was not adopted
is when the programme is a special pre-recorded assignment –
for example a visit to a foreign country by two of the presenters, in
which case the usual practice is just to credit the presenters
appearing. Until 2004, the presenters were always credited by their
full names. From September 2004, the opening titles only featured
their first names, perhaps in a move to make the presenters appear
more accessible to the audience. From September 2008, the titles went
back to traditional style, not including presenters or their names.
This however was changed again in 2009, when pictures of the
presenters popped out from nowhere with their name by the side of
For the new Technology themed titles for September 2011, the
presenters Helen and Barney appeared with specially shot sequences.
The names however did not make a return. For the first time the
presenters were interacting with different objects in the titles.
Blue Peter closing credits were put on screen over
the final moments of the programme to the sound of the closing theme
tune. Alternatively, once the programme had officially ended (i.e.,
the presenters had said their 'goodbyes') the camera would focus on
shots of the pets or aspects of the studio as a calmer backdrop
against which to flash up the credits. The sequence would always end
Blue Peter ship filling the screen (originally a rather crude
flat image, latterly a more graphically interesting incarnation) and
BBC copyright blurb. Before 1989 the "Editor" credit (for almost all
this period it was Biddy Baxter) would also flash up over the final
moments of the programme, but since Lewis Bronze's promotion the
editor credit was saved for the final ship frame.
1992–2003: Once again during this period the credits maintained the
practice of appearing during the final seconds of the programme's
presentation or once the script had finished. The major difference was
that the text scrolled along the bottom third of the screen from right
to left, usually overlaid on a graphical bar in the style of the
opening titles. The exception to this rule was when the programme was
on permanent Outside Broadcast for the whole show. During these
occasions the same "theme" of credits would be used – i.e. same
graphics and background etc. but the typeface would almost always
change to a completely different font and colour, regardless of the
regular typeface used at the time. Also, the credits would flash up on
screen one by one, as opposed to scrolling. It is unknown why these
anomalies occurred, but it is likely to be related to the reduced
technical abilities whilst transmitting a live O.B. The final frame of
the credits was always the
Blue Peter ship as displayed in the opening
titles of the time and the editor's credit, along with
2004–2007: This period saw a sequence which showed flashed up
credits along the bottom third of the screen, whilst a photo of a
Blue Peter badge winner, with or without the project that won
them their badge, was shown above. One of the presenters' voices was
also heard introducing the winner and explaining what they did to win
their badge. Occasionally on certain programmes, for example the
launch of an appeal, special guests in the studio or when out on
location, the credits ran as pre-2004 over the closing moments of the
programme with the music fading in. Again, the credits end with the
Blue Peter ship, editor and
2004, 2007–2008: Early in 2004, the producers experimented with
flashing up the credits over a background of "on the next
type footage. This was discarded later in 2004 when the new
arrangement of signature tune and titles were introduced and a revised
format was adopted that remained in use until 2007. September 2007 saw
a return to the "coming up next time" sequence of footage, with
credits text overlaid on a graphical bar at the bottom section of the
screen. The same ship and editor credit is used as the final frame.
2008–present: There are no closing crew credits; instead, the
programme ends with a five-second caption of
Blue Peter and the CBBC
General notes: The exceptions to the above were during the Christmas
programme, when the credits still scrolled from right to left, often
with Christmassy themed drawings separating each crew member. Until
2006, and again from 2010, the
Christmas programme ends on a view of
the children carol singers in the studio in the background, the
Nativity scene in the foreground, studio lights dimmed, a star of
Bethlehem glowing on the cyclorama and a sparkling silver
ship overlaid on the screen (although the sparkling ship did not
appear in the
Christmas 2012 and 2013 editions).
When a "make" was featured in the programme, the creator of the item
(invariably the retired Margaret Parnell or Gillian Shearing) was
credited first (until credits were discontinued in 2008). An example
of this would be "Dolls House make by Margaret Parnell".
In October 1998, Richard Bacon became the first presenter to have his
contract terminated mid-run, after he admitted to taking cocaine and
punching a wall, following reports in a tabloid newspaper. Lorraine
Heggessey, then the Head of
BBC Children's programmes, apologised on
However, before Bacon, four previous presenters had left the programme
when their contracts were not renewed, each for different reasons:
Leila Williams in 1962,
Christopher Wenner in 1980, Michael
Sundin in 1985 and
Romana D'Annunzio in 1998.
Fake phone competition winner
It was revealed by the
BBC that a phone-in competition supporting the
UNICEF "Shoe Biz Appeal", held on 27 November 2006, was rigged. The
person who appeared to be calling in the competition was actually a
Blue Peter Team Player who was visiting that day. The visitor
pretended to be a caller from an outside line who had won the phone-in
and the chance to select a prize. The competition was rigged due to a
technical error with receiving the calls.
Former editor Biddy Baxter, described as still being influential with
the programme today, described the problem as an issue with a member
of the production team on the studio floor and the Editor being
oblivious to the situation in the studio gallery. She also went on to
say that the programme would not feature premium rate telephone
competitions in the future.
It was announced on 16 May 2007 that
Blue Peter's editor and
unofficial historian, Richard Marson, stood down from his job,
although any link to the controversy of March 2007 remains in doubt.
In July 2007,
Blue Peter was given a £50,000 fine, by the Office of
Communications (OFCOM) as a result of rigging the competition.
In August 2007 while the programme was off air for its annual Summer
Expedition, long-time presenter
Konnie Huq was involved in a press
conference to promote the health benefits of cycling along with Mayor
of London, Ken Livingstone. The Conservative Party accused the
political bias as a result of one of its employees appearing at what
was construed as a pro-Labour Party event. The
BBC claimed to have
turned down the offer for Huq to appear, but this was unknown to both
her and her agent.
On 24 November 1988, Frank Ruse, a left-wing Labour councillor for
Liverpool City Council, accompanied Liverpool's Pagoda Chinese Youth
Orchestra to London for an appearance on
Blue Peter. He was given
Blue Peter badge and wore it proudly to his council meetings.
However, he received a
BBC headed letter requesting the return of the
badge. The letter (which was later discovered to be a forgery) stated
Blue Peter had been approached by Neil Kinnock's office (Labour
leader at the time) who were alarmed that a councillor with hard-left
views had been given a
Blue Peter badge. On receiving the
badge from Frank Ruse, the
BBC wrote back to him stating that they had
sent no such letter (therefore proving it was a hoax) and an angry
Ruse started a local and national enquiry to find out who sent the
Blue Peter hit the headlines again in September 2007; an online vote
on the BBC's
Blue Peter official website took place to choose the name
of the new
Blue Peter kitten in January – the reported story
was that, instead of calling the cat "Cookie" as chosen by a majority
of the votes, the staff overruled the vote and called the kitten
"Socks", citing problems with the voting system and a large surge in
the former name. As a result of negative media coverage, the original
cat, Socks, was joined by another kitten named Cookie, as had been
chosen in the online vote. The
BBC broadcast an apology on 25
September 2007 at the start of the new series.
Tributes, honours and awards
In a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up
British Film Institute
British Film Institute in 2000, voted for by industry
Blue Peter was placed 6th.
Blue Peter won the
BAFTA for Best Children's Programme
(Factual): Lewis Bronze.
Blue Peter was nominated for the
BAFTA Children's Kids Vote
16197 Bluepeter is named in its honour. The asteroid was
discovered on 7 January 2000, the day that the
Blue Peter time
capsules from 1971 and 1984 were unearthed.
CBBC (TV channel)
Go With Noakes
Blue Peter is filmed at dock10 studios, MediaCityUK".
Dock10.co.uk. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
^ a b Marson, Richard. "
Blue Peter" 50th Anniversary Book: The Story
of Television's Longest-running Children's Programme.Hamlyn (21
September 2008). ISBN 978-0-600-61793-8
^ Alistair McGown, 'Trace, Christopher Leonard (1933–1992)', Oxford
Dictionary of National Biography, online edn, Oxford University Press,
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^ John Ezard (8 October 2005). "The Guardian". London: The Guardian.
Retrieved 23 April 2010.
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the original on 13 July 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
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^ Hill, Trevor (2005). Over the Airwaves: My Life in Broadcasting.
Book Guild Publishing Ltd.
ISBN 978-1857768329. [page needed]
Asa Briggs The History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom: Volume
V: Competition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995, p.178
^ a b Baxter & Barnes, p.13
^ a b Baxter & Barnes, p.33
^ a b c d Marson, p.16
^ Marson, p.21
^ Marson, p.22
^ Marson, p.23
^ a b Marson, p.51
^ Alistair McGown "Baxter, Biddy (1933–)", BFI screenonline
^ a b Marson, p.37
^ Baxter & Barnes, p.14
^ Baxter & Barnes, p.48
^ Marson, p.24
^ Nick Allen "Petra the
Blue Peter dog was a fake", telegraph.co.uk, 1
^ Marson, p.39
^ Marson, p.41
^ Marson, p.118
^ a b Marson, p.45
^ Marson, p.88
^ Marson, p.89
^ Marson, p.54
^ Marson, p.18
^ Marson, p.49
^ Marson, p.58
^ Marson, p.63
^ Marson, p.64
^ Marson, p.71
Blue Peter Flies the World: Jamaica and New York –
BBC One London
– 8 July 1971 –
BBC Genome". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 31
^ Marson, p.84
Blue Peter". 12 October 1978. p. 48 – via
^ Marson, p.72
^ Marson, p.83
^ Marson, p.81
^ Marson, p.92
^ Marson, p.95
^ "Search Results -
BBC Genome". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk.
Blue Peter-Silver Jubilee". 13 October 1983. p. 33 – via BBC
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^ Marson, p.96
^ Marson, p.99
^ Marson, p.100
^ "Children's BBC". 13 October 1988. p. 52 – via BBC
^ a b c d Marson, p.124
^ "Here's One I Made Earlier". 14 October 1993. p. 70 – via BBC
^ Marson, p.138
^ Marson, p.127
^ Marson, p.142
Blue Peter". 8 October 1998. p. 120 – via
^ Marson, p.129
^ Marson, p.158
^ Marson, p.161
^ Marson, p.163
BBC children's channels on air".
BBC News Online. BBC. 11 February
2002. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
^ Marson, p.165
BBC - Press Office - The Queen to mark
Blue Peter's 50th Birthday
with tea at Buckingham Palace". www.bbc.co.uk.
Blue Peter's Live 50th Birthday". 9 October 2008. p. 115 –
Blue Peter at 50". 16 October 2008. p. 67 – via BBC
^ Rushton, Katherine (18 February 2009). "
Blue Peter to be 'more like
Top Gear'", Broadcastnow, Emap Media. Retrieved 18 February 2009.
Blue Peter 360 degree TV show website". BBC. Retrieved 29 March
Blue Peter set for final show at Broadcasting House". The Drum. 28
June 2011. Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 28
Blue Peter set bought by Sunderland University".
BBC News. 4 August
BBC – Press Office – Network TV Programme Information
39 Monday 26 September 2011". BBC. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
Blue Peter launches milestone 60th year with Gold Badge Walk
- Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk.
Blue Peter presenter revealed",
BBC News, 25 July 2013
^ Turner, Turner. "
Blue Peter Party" Anthea Turner's Blog. 26 November
2011. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
^ Leger, Alex. "
Blue Peter and the golden age of British children's
television", The Huffington Post. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 8
Blue Peter Book. "
Blue Peter: Behind the Badge" Retrieved 31 October
^ Hamilton, Fiona. "
Blue Peter Time Capsule buried in
Garden, due to be dug up in 2029". London: The Times. Retrieved 3
^ Boniface, Susie (21 October 2000). "Football star and the
garden". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 22 October 2006.
^ Jeffery, Simon (14 October 2003). "
Blue Peter". London: The
Guardian. Retrieved 22 October 2006.
^ Doyle, Paul (10 August 2007). "Small Talk: Les Ferdinand". London:
Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 15 August 2007.
^ "Princess Anne opens
Blue Peter garden".
BBC News. BBC. 23 February
2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
^ Edition broadcast 19 June 2006.
^ "BBC". BBC. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
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Retrieved 31 July 2017.
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2000. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
Blue Peter to lose a show a week".
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2007. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
BBC cuts back
Blue Peter," The Guardian. Published 25 May 2007.
^ Marson, p.168
^ Holmwood, Leigh; Conlan, Tara (17 January 2008). "Weakest Link to
replace Neighbours". Guardian Online. London: Guardian Media Group.
Retrieved 3 August 2009.
^ Sabbagh, Dan. "
Blue Peter at 50-year low after being sidelined by
The Weakest Link". London: The Times. Retrieved 10 February
^ Shaw, Vicky. "Changes hit
BBC children's viewing figures". London:
The Independent. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
^ Sherwin, Adam (17 May 2012). "
Blue Peter sets sail from its prime
BBC1 berth of 54 years". London: The Independent. Retrieved 18 May
^ Baxter & Barnes 1989, p. 13
^ Baxter, Barnes & Adcock 1979, p. 64
^ Marson, p.12
^ BBC –
Blue Peter – Your Questions Answered Archived 28
June 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
^ "The Light Symphonia – Drums And Fife / Period Fanfares". Discogs.
Retrieved 31 July 2017.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 September 2011.
Retrieved 23 September 2011.
^ "Fifty facts about
Blue Peter at 50".
BBC News. 15 October
^ Gibson, Owen (15 March 2007). "
Blue Peter admits rigging phone-in
competition after technical hitch". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 26
^ Busfield, Steve (15 March 2007). "
Biddy Baxter 'appalled' by Blue
Peter phone-in row". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September
^ "Ofcom fines
BBC £50,000 over
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Retrieved 6 September 2008.
Blue Peter: Inside The Archives by
Richard Marson (page 252, Series
1988–1989 Programme 22)". Kaleidoscope Publishing. 27 October 2008.
Retrieved 2 February 2009.
Blue Peter...: The Best of 50 Years of Letters to Britain's
Favourite Children's Programme 1958–2008 by
Biddy Baxter (pages
20–21)". Short Books. 4 September 2008. Retrieved 4 January
BBC admits new breaches of trust".
BBC News. 24 September
Blue Peter Awards (1958–present)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 6 February
BAFTA Children's Kids Vote 2008 nominees". Bafta.org. 24 March
2008. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 23 April
Baxter, Biddy; Barnes, Edward (1989).
Blue Peter: the Inside Story.
Ringpress. ISBN 0-948955-50-3.
Baxter, Biddy; Barnes, Edward; Adcock, John (1979).
Sixteenth Book. BBC. ISBN 0-563-17723-3.
Marson, Richard (2008).
Blue Peter 50th Anniversary. Hamlyn.
Heres one we made earlier... 50 Years of
Blue Peter, Exhibition
looking at 50 Years of
Blue Peter on IMDb
Blue Peter at the BFI's Screenonline
List of Blue Peter presenters
List of Blue Peter presenters on
BBC website – no longer
updated since September 2005.
Blue Peter presenters