I love Blue Peter (for those that don’t know it’s a children’s program on CBBC every Thursday at 5pm GMT). This is a programme that formed a large part of my limited childhood TV viewing and today forms part of my own children’s TV schedule. In fact we have become bigger fans of the programme since we have been in Switzerland, it is almost as if it has become a kind of comfort blanket! Yes, it’s had its good years and bad years but when something runs for so long that’s only to be expected. I love the fact that the presenters are ever so slightly geeky yet still manage to be cool; that the jokes Barney tells are ones that Dads tell, that Lindsey takes on a challenge but gives an honest “this is so hard and I can’t do it” before she does it, that Radzi’s mother probably despairs over the state of his hair.
I love the Blue Peter here’s-one-I-made-earlier crafts where the one that was made earlier was so obviously by a professional. Take, for example, the biscuits Barney made in the studio this week, they looked exactly how they’d look if my children tried to make them at home and nothing at all like the display biscuits. I love the gallery badge where viewers artwork is displayed. Every week my children are inspired to create something to go on the badge, sadly, because we are in Switzerland, I haven’t yet sent any in.
I love the science experiments where the presenters and their expert explain complex theories but in a fun and understandable way. My all time favourite has to be the custard one where Radzi runs on a paddling pool full of custard, watch this and you’ll understand where I’m coming from…
I love the Blue Peter competitions – aspirational and inspirational. I mean their viewers have had the opportunity to design a mission badge for a real life astronaut suit! Their viewers have been asked to design a new mascot for the 2015 FA Cup final, the winning design will be brought to life and both the mascot and the winner will be able to walk out onto the pitch at Wembley on Cup Final day! Even now, competition entries are being examined by MI5 to give three youngsters the chance to be CBBC Intelligence Officers through their Project Petra. How awesome is that?!?
I love the Blue Peter badges. What a simple idea, send in some work and get a reward, but it’s not just a badge, it’s playground kudos, personal pride and discounted entry to a variety of UK tourist attractions. There are some that say it has become too easy to get one and that there are too many different types of badge, but I say bring it on, they are inspiring children to get the set, to submit work that covers a variety of areas from creative to environmental awareness. My children are desperate to get one and as soon as we get back to the UK, whenever that might be, this will be high on their priority lists.
I love the Blue Peter charitable work. The totalisers that steadily rise before their target amount to raise is smashed with overwhelming support from their viewers. I am in awe to think of the number of bring and buy sales, cake stalls, and baths of beans that have been run to fund such things as lifeboats for the RNLI, raise money for UNICEF to help children in Malawi orphaned by Aids, fund hot dinner vans for the elderly. They are (unsurprisingly) ardent supporters of the BBC’s Children in Need and Comic Relief appeals, giving their viewers the opportunity to get involved at every opportunity and praising the child that manages to raise a fiver as well as those that raise £500.
I love the relationships between the Blue Peter presenters. The perfect mix of rivalry, camaraderie, respect and, dare I say it, love for each other. The similarity between this and the sibling relationship I see with my children is both comforting and endearing especially when you see them supporting and praising each other through their challenges whilst gently taking the rip when things don’t go quite so well with a live show.
I love that Blue Peter has, after 57 years of being on air, remained true to its original ethos. It has been inspired by children, and more importantly it is inspiring today’s children to do anything; that nothing is out of the question. If you want to read a book a day, what’s stopping you? If you want to canoe up the Amazon, then get on and do it. If you broke a world record (or even a personal record) for popping the most balloons in a minute, come on in and show everyone how you did it. I love Blue Peter and every episode continues to be a voyage of adventure that I enjoy every week with my children.