Blue Peter is celebrating its 60th birthday at MediaCityUK – bring out the homemade bunting!
The classic children’s TV show will celebrate its diamond anniversary at Salford.
It debuted on the BBC on 16th October 1958, presented by Christopher Trace and Leila Williams. Since then it has had 37 presenters (plus many special guests), 23 pets and over 5000 episodes.
Current hosts Lindsey Russell and Radzi Chinyanganya will be joined by past presenters and special guests at Media City, Blue Peter’s home since 2011, on 16th October.
One of them is Peter Duncan, who presented the show from 1980 to 1986.
“The virtues of Blue Peter is to get people to change their habits and do things differently. After watching the show (you) would go and make something, do something for others.
“It’s had a profound effect, a good effect, on our culture, and it’s something we need even more of now.”
Beth Hewitt, director of Broadcast Media at the University of Salford, thinks that the ever-changing line-up of presenters are key to Blue Peter’s success.
“It has very strong presenters who young people can identify with. It’s kept up to date, it’s renewed and refreshed but there’s always ongoing storylines, those connections between the presenters.”
— CBBC (@cbbc) October 16, 2018
Even in the digital era, Blue Peter remains popular: they received 106,000 letters and messages from viewers last year, and their annual fundraising event continues to inspire children.
Peter Duncan recalls his favorite memory was “doing all those appeals.”
“The joy of seeing the effect you were having on other people’s lives.”
So what is the enduring appeal for children?
“It’s a very safe environment,” says Beth Hewitt.
“Young people like watching it because you know what you’re going to get, but it’s always pushing boundaries.
“The format is exactly the same as it was in 1958, but the look, the feel, how it represents itself has totally changed.”