Happy 60th Blue Peter!

16
October
2018

Posted by News Editor

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Blue Peter

 



Here’s Something We Made Earlier…

Blue Peter

Sticky back plastic, the garden invasion and THAT elephant – Blue Peter celebrates 60 glorious years.

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“BBC 1 – it’s five-to-five…” – this was one programme that no young person wanted to miss from the day it started in 1958 and on through the 60s, 70s, 80s right up to today. As an 8-year-old in 1968, just after this particular introduction, who could not have failed to gasp at the screen as John, Valerie and Peter drove into Television Centre in FAB 1 – yes, Lady Penelope’s car!

If you’ve forgotten when this actually happened (13 June 1968), fear not… the Beeb has digitised every single episode and you can now watch them all online. Yes. Every. Episode. Ever.

There’s good reason too, because the programme that you and I grew up with – ‘live’ on the telly – is 60 years old today.

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It’s still broadcast live too, except these days it lives on CBBC. No room any more on BBC One, much to the irritation of a lot of people, it seems that the pointless ‘Pointless’ is needed instead of education. And that’s how I remember it. Education. We learned things.

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We dreamed and dared. Well Helen (above) certainly did. And so did John Noakes – remember the parachute jumps? Or going up Nelson’s Column with maximum safety (not)?

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I always enjoyed the new stamps when they came out. In those days there were only about six issues a year compared to the almost weekly issues these days. We were shown how to do the First Day Covers, how to make things… and yes, I was very proud of my own book on the Royal Family!

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Anyhow, there’s a live one-hour special to look forward to today (Tuesday 16 October) on CBBC at 5pm – and an opportunity to remember just why children are still inspired to send in more than 100,000 letters and pictures each year.

Kevin Gover. All images copyright BBC, used by kind permission.

Notable dates:

16 October 1958 – first programme aired with Christopher Trace and Leila Williams (pictured) as the first two presenters.

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There have been 35 other presenters since.

How’s this for a dream team?

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Christmas 1962 – Petra appears for the first time. She’s a replacement for the original unnamed dog who died from distemper. The viewers are not told for fear of upsetting them..

28 September 1964 – moved to two episodes per week

Christmas 1964 – first Blue Peter book published

3 July 1969 – Lulu the elephant visits the studio (pictured) ahead of the team’s trip to Ceylon. What could possibly go wrong? “Get off me foot!”

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14 September 1970 – broadcast in colour

30 May 1977 – John Noakes climbs Nelson’s Column. Safety is paramount (not!)

21 November 1983 – the edition announced that the ‘Blue Peter Garden’ had been vandalised over the weekend

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11 June 1998 – the third time capsule was buried under the floor of the Millenium Dome. It was accidentally dug up in 2017.

7 January 2000 – The original time capsule box (pictured) was examined.

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29 March 2011 – Blue Peter was broadcast on the web in 360 degrees

23 February 2012 – new garden is opened at the Salford site by HRH The Princess Royal

28 May 2017 – the world mourned as John Noakes died. He was the show’s longest serving presenter… 12 years and 6 months.

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19 October 2017 – children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson ‘guest edited’ the show

12 December 2017 – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge drop in

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1 February 2018 – 5000th edition celebrated with the introduction of a Diamond Badge.

16 October 2018 – 60th anniversary – Ed Sheeran will receive a Gold Badge.

25 RNLI lifeboats have been funded by the programme through appeals. Remember collecting milk bottle tops?!

Christmas. The traditional format (pictured) is repeated every year. My friend Alan says Christmas “doesn’t start until the fourth candle is lit.”

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200,000 – the number of under-16s who have at least one Blue Peter badge.