Blue Peter (1958– )

TV Series  -   -  Family
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British childrens magazine program which has run since the end of the 50s. Aimed at kids from the age of about 6-14. The show has different segments where the presenters would show the ... See full summary »

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Title: Blue Peter (1958– )

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Konnie Huq ...
 Herself - Presenter (55 episodes, 1999-2007)
Valerie Singleton ...
 Herself - Presenter / ... (37 episodes, 1963-2000)
Liz Barker ...
 Herself - Presenter (26 episodes, 2000-2005)
Christopher Trace ...
 Himself - Presenter / ... (23 episodes, 1958-1978)
John Noakes ...
 Himself - Presenter / ... (21 episodes, 1966-1978)
Peter Purves ...
 Himself - Presenter / ... (21 episodes, 1967-1980)
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Storyline

British childrens magazine program which has run since the end of the 50s. Aimed at kids from the age of about 6-14. The show has different segments where the presenters would show the viewers how to make things, how to care for your pet, and other features. Written by Jeffrey Petro <JeffP@iserver.icon.palo-alto.med.va.gov>

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Family

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16 October 1958 (UK)  »

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(1958-1970)| (1970-)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Of the period 16th October 1958 to 5th November 1962, only two clips from the show are known to be archived. Approximately 312 editions survive from between 12 November 1962 and 9th December 1968, whilst (thanks to long-term series editor Biddy Baxter) every episode exists from Thursday 12th December 1968 onwards. See more »

Quotes

[deliberate double-entendre in item about making hedges by partially cutting tree trunks and laying the trees flat]
Simon Groom: One of the competitors was saying to me that as long as you have a decent length to start with, you can manage a good lay.
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Connections

Referenced in Deadline: Episode #1.1 (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Sailing the high seas since 1958
9 October 2002 | by (North Wales, Great Britain) – See all my reviews

Blue Peter is one of those programmes that your parents watched, you ahve watched, and your children will likely watch. It was launched in 1958 as part of "Children's Hour" on the BBC Television Service and lasted 15 minutes once a week with hosts Leila Williams and Christopher Trace. The Editors of Blue Peter are generally considered the person at the helm of the show, and therefore, Biddy Baxter's appointment as Editor in 1963 set the tone of the show for the future. She extended the broadcasts' length to 25 minutes and they were now screend live twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays. Baxter also launched the famous Blue Peter Badge - a shield shaped device with a blue galleon ship on it - this ship was the Blue Peter Ship designed the same year by BBC artist Tony Hart. The Blue Peter Badges could be won by sending in a letter or an idea to the programme, or for appearing on it. The Blue Peter ship is still used as the programme's symbol today - a true television icon.

The title "Blue Peter" is reference to the flag of the same name raised on a ship as it leaves port - i.e. children were being taken on an adventure by watching the programme. The programme's signature tune since the very first edition has been the famous "Barnacle Bill". In 1979, music star Mike Oldfield remixed the famous theme tune after his demo version on the programme proved so popular. The same happened in 1994 when music band STOMP appeared on the programme making music out of old junk and glass bottles. Their unusual version of the theme tune lasted until 1999 when "Barnacle Bill" was re-recorded in the more traditional orchestral style. Each 'standard' edition typically has a mix of filmed reports from home or abroad, often a 'make' or cookery item and special guest - ranging from authors, sportspeople to music artists and usually children who take part in the show - for example in a choir or playing a musical instrument. The show's famous catchphrase taken from the numerous cookery and practical items on the show is "Here's one I made earlier" - relating to the little time alloted for these items in the live broadcasts, thus they use a number of pre-made or pre-cooked examples to illustrate the finished item.

Around 30 presenters have hosted the show, some like John Noakes and Valerie Singleton exceeding 10 years' service with the show; Katy Hill and Diane Louise-Jordan notched up 5 years, as has current presenter Konnie Huq. Some only stay for a couple of years, but all have their place in the programme's history. Most of the time the show had 3 presenters at any given time with them all presenting each show, although in the 1970s there were 4 presenters when Leslie Judd joined as an extra presenter when Valerie Singleton was off filming special reports or the 'spin-off' series "Blue Peter Special Assignement", but often the four of them would appear in the same editions together.

At other times in the show's history there have been 4 presenters - usually an indication that one of the existing members would leave soon. However, since 1995 the programme has been transmitted 3 times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the trend has been to have a continuous 4 presenter line-up with at least 3 of them presenting each edition while the fourth is away filming, but often, and especially for special programmes, the 4 of them host the show.

Since its very early days it's been common for the team to go on a 'Summer Expedition' during the school holidays - a time when Blue Peter would be off the air. The show would return in September with the films they made abroad during the past few weeks. Since 2001, the Summer Expeditions have continued, but the show continues to be broadcast throughout the summer holidays using pre-recorded programmes such as a reminder of the previous year's expedition and other specially filmed editions (a bit like the 1970s' 'Special Assignment' series). Since 2001, Blue Peter has also used the first few summer weeks before embarking on its expedition to present summer roadshows with other Children's BBC stars. These roadshows tour the country's seaside resorts and feature competitions, music acts and special reports. Since these changes in 2001, the programme is now screened live on Mondays and Wednesdays from Easter until the Autumn, then 3 times a week from the Autumn until the Spring.

Another big tradition of the show is its annual appeal to raise funds for charities and good causes. The appeals are launched in November and last until the Spring. Typical good causes have been building schools for the disabled; raising money for premature babies; building day care centres for the elderly and providing safe drinking water in Romania. The appeals alternate each year between UK causes and those abroad. Ways of raising the money vary each year, but often include "Bring and Buy Sales"; collecting drink cans and recycling them; collecting postage stamps and saving old cutlery and metalwork. The progress of the appeals is followed in each edition using the "totaliser" which flashes at different values depending on how much has been raised since the last programme. Christmas is also celelbrated with a traditional programme in the studio including a "last minute present idea", the story of the Nativity and a large group fo school children from London and the Salvation Army Band who join in the "Carols Around the Tree".

Blue Peter is a true evergreen British insitution that should be cherished for years to come.


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