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Badge of honour

Blue Peter celebrates 60 years, writes Claire Brine

The whole premise of ‘Blue Peter’ is that you go on an adventure

IT’S one they made earlier. And it’s one the BBC is still making. The children’s television programme Blue Peter is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a live birthday broadcast on CBBC next Tuesday (16 October). Fans young and old can sit back, relax and tuck into their tea as they enjoy the entertainment of the world’s longest-running kids’ TV show.

Joining the big birthday party will be former presenters Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves and Konnie Huq. Some of them have been saving their washing-up liquid bottles for a live studio ‘make’ with a difference (though what viewers can expect is being kept under sticky-back plastic wraps).

Ed Sheeran will also be dropping by to receive one of the highest accolades of his career: a gold Blue Peter badge. And regular presenters Radzi Chinyanganya and Lindsey Russell are facing some of their biggest challenges. Viewers are invited to soar with Lindsey as she takes on a solo hot-air balloon flight in the Arctic Circle, while Radzi is thrown into the deep end, learning ‘man overboard’ drills on the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

For those who like the educational element of Blue Peter, the BBC has released some facts and figures about the programme’s history. Here’s a little round-up.

The show was first broadcast on 16 October 1958 and transmitted for 15 minutes. (If viewers were to sit down and watch the 5,000-plus episodes made since then – back to back – it would take them about three months.)

Gold Blue Peter badge holders include the Queen, David Beckham and J. K. Rowling. Since 2017, the plastic badges have been made out of recycled yoghurt pots.

In 60 years, the show has had 37 presenters, including Radzi, who joined in 2013 and had wanted to be on the show since he was ten years old. Now in his thirties, he still gets excited by the programme.

‘The whole premise of Blue Peter is that you go on an adventure, on a voyage – that is the point of the Blue Peter ship,’ he says.

While, in 60 years, the adrenalin-fuelled activities faced by Blue Peter presenters have changed, Radzi feels that ‘the values of the show are exactly the same’. Last year, he told the War Cry that programme-makers allow him to speak openly about his Christian faith on air – and it’s a privilege he doesn’t take lightly.

‘Every December on the show we have a nativity scene, and it’s my job to put the baby Jesus in the manger,’ he explained. ‘As I tell the Christmas story, I explain how I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.’

Being a Christian is a way of life practised not only by Radzi, but also by countless others who have grown up with Blue Peter. They find that, by placing their trust in Jesus, they can experience a love that lasts through the years and receive forgiveness to erase their most shameful mistakes.

The Bible promises that following Jesus can also be an enriching experience because he says: ‘I came so that everyone would have life, and have it fully’ (John 10:10 Contemporary English Version).

However old we are, it’s never too late to invite Jesus into our heart. He can instill in us values of peace, love and joy that last beyond a lifetime.

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