WHY BLUE PETER IS STILL LOVED AFTER 60 YEARS
To mark Blue Peter turning 60 this month, GEORGIA HUMPHREYS chats to current hosts Radzi Chinyanganya and Lindsey Russell
WHEN Blue Peter first aired for 15 minutes in 1958, no one could have predicted it would still be going 60 years later.
But it is, making it the world’s longest running children’s show.
To celebrate, there will be a one-hour special on CBBC on October 16.
Starring some of our favourite Blue Peter presenters, it will also feature music from the likes of The Vamps and Sophie Ellisbextor – all accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – while the Diamond Time Capsule will be sealed in the National Archives.
Here’s a look at how Blue Peter has transcended the decades, with the help of current presenting duo Radzi Chinyanganya and Lindsey Russell.
THE FAMOUS FACES
THERE have been 37 Blue Peter presenters over the years, with the late John Noakes, who presented the series for 12 and a half years, the longest serving. In the anniversary special, Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves, Anthea Turner, Tim Vincent and longest-serving female presenter Konnie Huq will return. “To have all these people in a room is not something that’s ever happened before or might never happen again,” says Belgium-born Lindsey, 27, who was raised in Oxford and joined the show after winning a competition in 2013. “It really is truly special, and also it’s really great to all be together and to remember John, who we sadly lost last year.”
THE SOUGHT-AFTER BADGES
badge – blue, silver, green, sport, purple, orange, gold and diamond.
In case you’re not in the know, viewers earn a blue badge by sending in an interesting letter, poem, picture or story – Blue Peter reads and responds to every letter it receives or they have to appear on the programme.
It’s estimated the show has awarded more than one million badges in 55 years.
“Or audience today is the best audience Blue Peter has ever had,” Lindsey says. “They’re so proactive, they’re all earning their diamond badges, which are around just for the 60th.”
IT’S INSPIRING FOR KIDS
THE Blue Peter Appeal started in 1962, when viewers were asked to collect postage stamps to raise money for homes for homeless people.
It’s estimated that, across the 49 appeals since, children have raised the equivalent of more than £100m in today’s money.
It just shows they love to feel part of something.
When Wolverhamptonborn Radzi, who also began presenting the show in 2013, is approached by fans, he realises the impact he is having with his job.
Asked about being a role model, the 31-year-old says: “There’s an obligation I feel I have to any child that meets me or sees me on the TV screen to conduct myself in a certain way and hopefully the way that I’d do that would be something that bears fruit.”
IT’S ALWAYS FILMED LIVE
FILMING Blue Peter is no mean feat, especially since there’s no an autocue.
“I remember the boss said to me, the idea for that is so everything you’re saying sounds genuine and nothing sounds too planned or too forced. It’s meant to sound like we are talking to the kids in their living room,” Lindsey says.
The pair do have nerves ahead of the live birthday though. “The pressure is definitely on,” admits Lindsey. “From a presenting point of view – and number 36 point of view – there’s all the presenters before me watching.”
THERE are eight types of
All presenters and correct, L-R: Radzi Chinyanganya, Helen Skelton, Konnie Huq, Peter Duncan, Leila Williams, Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves, Janet Ellis, Lindsey Russell and Anthea Turner