By Richard Marson
Blue Peter is the world’s longest running children’s programme. The ‘Blue Peter’ is actually the name of a flag, traditionally lowered 24 hours before a ship sets sail on a new voyage. The show’s creator, John Hunter Blair, chose the name because he thought that each edition should be like setting off on a new voyage. He had no idea how far his ship would sail or that it would become a cultural phenomenon in its own right. Since that first transmission on 16 October 1958 there have been over 4400 editions, thirty-four presenters and a whole menagerie of pets.
Among its many impressive statistics, Blue Peter has one of the finest and most eclectic archives in broadcasting history, its producers hoarding and retaining material at a time when the usual practice was to junk and destroy – assuming, of course, that you recorded your output in the first place. Many of the live programmes were recorded ‘off air’ and so today provide a priceless legacy of continuity and trails from the golden age of TV.
In this book, you will find a fully comprehensive guide, not only to that fabulous archive, but also to the wide range of spin-off programmes which came out of the Blue Peter stable – from Blue Peter Special Assignments and Val Meets The VIPS to Treasure Houses and Duncan Dares. There is also a section on much of the relevant and existing related material, from radio and television – interviews, behind-the-scenes reports and documentaries.
This detailed chronicle covering the fifty year life span of one of British Television’s most iconic series provides readers and researchers with a treasure trove of information – reflecting the social history, changing styles and famous faces of each decade – over 400 pages taking you back in time for a unique slice of British childhood.