Rocking the boat24th May 2012
Our little blue boats were well and truly rocked last week with the news that Blue Peter will no longer be shown on BBC1. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the news has caused outrage in the media, with some even claiming that the BBC is marginalising children (link to Guardian story).
By moving the show to the digital channel, is the BBC depriving children of learning basic skills? I severely doubt it. 89 per cent of all viewing of CBBC programmes are now viewed through the CBBC Channel.
So why has this news caused a public outcry? It’s not as if the show has been taken off air completely. I admit I don’t watch Blue Peter anymore, along with the majority of complainants, so I can’t protest that I won’t be able to watch the programme on BBC1. All I know is that the news has struck a chord with a majority of the nation who once would rush to finish their homework before the flurry of pan pipes which signalled the beginning of each episode. It is, quite simply, the end of an era and a wave of nostalgia has hit the nation.
Blue Peter was an important part of our childhood. Where else would we have learnt how to make models out of toilet rolls, sticky back plastic and dry pasta? The fact that the phrase “and here’s one I made earlier” has become a well-used catchphrase shows the influence that Blue Peter has on our every day lives. Not to mention, the coveted Blue Peter badge (held by Laetitia, Jackie and Diana), and the truly outstanding charity work which the presenters and viewers took part in.
Writing this blog has made me wonder whether the move by the BBC will signify the demise of the Blue Peter presenter. In the good old days, the presenters were at the top of the TV personalities list. A presenting spot on Blue Peter was the best way to break into television – with all the previous personalities turning their hand to a more ‘grown up’ television job. Yvette Fielding can be found taking celebrities around haunted locations on ‘Most Haunted’, Simon Thomas sits behind the Sky Sports desk and Katy Hill smiles at us through the Arm & Hammer toothpaste adverts. Getting the dream job of being a Blue Peter presenter proved to be the best career starter even if the story lines didn’t go your way – arguably the most successful presenter is Richard Bacon, despite his drug scandal in 1998.
I think the critics of the BBC’s strategy will all agree that it is because of these memories that they are saddened by the news. While talking to the rest of the Flagship team, it became apparent that Blue Peter holds a special place in our childhood memories for different reasons. Let’s just hope that the programme survives the next 53 years.
These are Flagship’s favourite memories:
- Jackie remembers odd animals misbehaving on the set and Patch the dog
- Diana remembers the elephant running a muck (literally) all over the studio
- Kiren was inspired to make things on her living room carpet out of toilet roll tubes, toothpaste and cereal boxes, which she wouldn’t let her mum throw away
- Laetitia actually had her Martin Luther King poem read out on the show by Konnie Huq – we have a celebrity among us!