A fond look back as TV clas­sic “Blue Peter” turns sixty

As the chil­dren’s TV clas­sic cel­e­brates its 60th year, Lorna Cowan takes a fond look back at ones that were made ear­lier.

The People's Friend - - Contents -

FIRST screened on Oc­to­ber 16, 1958, with ac­tor Christo­pher Trace and Leila Wil­liams, a former Miss Great Bri­tain, at the helm, “Blue Peter” has won the hearts of young view­ers over the decades and be­come a firm fam­ily favourite.

As the dis­tinc­tive sig­na­ture tune blasted out from TV sets, it her­alded a voy­age of ad­ven­ture and dis­cov­ery. Fans were en­thralled by chal­lenges, crafts and fund-rais­ing, too.

To­day, the for­mat is fairly sim­i­lar, with guests reg­u­larly join­ing pre­sen­ters in the BBC stu­dio. Last year, the Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge dis­cussed men­tal health is­sues on the “Blue Peter” sofa and re­ceived Gold “Blue Peter” badges for their cam­paign work.

Princess Anne has also ap­peared on the show, in 1971, to talk about her then role as pres­i­dent of Save the Chil­dren.

Not all visi­tors have been well be­haved, though. In 1969, an ele­phant called Lulu “spent a penny” on live TV, much to the amuse­ment of Va­lerie Sin­gle­ton, Peter Purves and John Noakes.

One name, Biddy Bax­ter, has al­ways been syn­ony­mous with the TV pro­gramme. As ed­i­tor from 1962 to 1988, she in­sti­gated the an­nual char­ity ap­peals and helped de­vise the much-cov­eted “Blue Peter” badge, to be awarded to those whose achieve­ments truly de­serve to be recog­nised.

A lim­ited edi­tion Di­a­mond badge, shown on the 5,000th edi­tion of “Blue Peter” in Fe­bru­ary, has been de­signed to mark the show’s 60th an­niver­sary.

Cur­rent pre­sen­ters Radzi Chinyan­ganya and Lind­sey Rus­sell will lead the “Blue Peter” birth­day cel­e­bra­tions, which in­clude a spe­cial edi­tion show on Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 16. ■

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.