From the beginning Blue Peter’s flexible magazine format has allowed the programme to engage the audience through a variety of different features. At the heart of every episode was a desire to inform, educate and entertain its viewers. This tradition has continued for 50 years. Today Blue Peter invites young people to tune in and ‘discover the world with friends.’
Yorkshireman John Noakes soon established a reputation as Blue Peter’s first daredevil. His many adventures include taking part in the Cresta run, climbing the Royal Navy mast of HMS Granges, setting a record for the highest civilian free-fall parachute jump, taking part in the St Moritz Bobsleigh Run and climbing up Nelson’s column.
Gardening and Green Issues
In the age of the high rise flat the Blue Peter garden was introduced to show viewers without a garden of their own how to care for plants and pond life. The news that the Blue Peter garden had been damaged by vandals made the national newspapers. Despite some high profile confessions (and then retractions) who vandalised the garden still remains a mystery.
Hitting the Headlines
Blue Peter’s 40th anniversary celebrations were overshadowed by Richard Bacon’s admission that he had taken an illegal drug in 1998. Richard was dismissed from the programme. Head of BBC’s Children’s Television Lorraine Heggessey made an on screen apology. The BBC was criticised by some for the way it handled the situation at the time. Older viewers felt the BBC should have used the opportunity to address the danger of drugs.
In 1962 the producers of Blue Peter decided it would be a good idea to have a puppy as a pet for children who could not have animals of their own. Petra, who was a mongrel, came to the studio for the first time just before Christmas. There was a competition to choose her name and Petra was the most popular choice. Unfortunately, the puppy chosen for the programme died after only one appearance. Not wishing to disappoint viewers, the producers searched for an identical-looking puppy, which took the place of the first one.