Blue Peter’s is a children show which first aired on BBC 1 on 16th of October 1958, (BBC, 2014) and had followed three core concepts of Reithan values which were mainly: “informs, educate and entertains”. — Its first host was Christopher Trace and Leila Williams and the show had pilot episode of a run time for 15 minutes (BBC, 2014). Blue Peters main influence was the producer of the show her name was Biddy Baxter MBE from 1965 to 1988 which she should be credited with the shows crafting segment mainly as she changed the traditional “watch with Mother” audience and creating a show that had a magazine feel, (Marson, 2008).
Blue Peters has been on for generations in which it has been viewed for generations of British families of 59 years, (Ross, 2017) in which they allowed Biddy Baxter MBE to edit the first 23 years of the show in which Biddy Baxter commented stating ‘quite frankly when Edward Rosemary and I were planning the New series known as Blue Peter in 1962 if anyone had suggested that it would be in Radio times 50 years after the first 15 minute programme which was initially developed by John Hunter Blair in 1958, would have been dubious.. it could be argued that Blue Peter was a main part of the institution of BBC. (Ross, 2017) It already played a massive part in perceiving bbc to have pleasant personage and eventually having a nickname “Aunty Beeb”. (Balmer, 1994)
The main image that the corporation obtained by referring to itself as “Aunty Beeb” (Balmer, 1994) was mainly through the presenters that they had and the style of the show and which they had a target audience which may have been towards the middle class as Blue Peters was mainly consisted middleclass but it had appealed to a millions of working class children which loved the show ( bbc school radio- Britain since the 1930’s – children viewing habits n.d.) it could be perceived that seeing the presenters was much like seeing their favorite teachers in school experimenting with curriculum which had increased the ratings of Blue Peter and united the appeal universally. Undeterred by the change in the family dynamic which rapidly became replaced with parents that worked or even single parent families, kids would play in the streets which became replaced going home to watch Blue Peters as it successfully hit all target audience even target audience they weren’t expecting to retain which gave some of the kids some stability in the house to go home straight and spend time watching Blue Peter with their family members, Blue Peter obtained these ratings without the help of premium branding with their stand-alone identity that other channels couldn’t commit to or even compete with.
Blue Peter created the concept of badges within shows and they were the original key element of the show as they were part of the show’s integral part of the characters, which left the presenters, producers and crews that were hired to create the show for many generations but the one factor that remained was the badges in the show, which to today the original badges remain worn by the presenters, which the emblem helped the show become synonymic with the identity of Blue Peter, These badges that were also obtained by children and adults allowed them to access to museums and amusement parks but in the beginning of the show there are 3 badges to win which were the blue badge which is the original that had the original Blue Peter boat in blue which a white backdrop, the second was the silver badge which was of the Blue Peter Boat was in silver but had a blue backdrop and the third final badge was the gold Blue Peter badge was just of the Blue Peter boat coated in gold (Marson, 2008).
In Blue Peter the badges were given to people that had achieved or who had sent letters, stories, make pictures even ideas for the programme they received the Blue badge but they have to come onto Blue Peter and talk about their concept, the gold badge was given to the highest person even presenters on Blue Peters never got that badge I can name two people who has received that award and one is Steven Spielberg in 2016 and the second is Her Majesty The Queen in 2001.
If you won a Blue Badge from Blue Peters for an interesting letter you can win a silver badge by sending Blue Peter a different picture or poem, (Marson, 2008). Gold badges were very hard to receive an award as they were only awarded to those that had exceptional circumstances for instance outstanding achievements that have saved lives or showing bravery and courage but very rarely they would award gold badges to those who had these unique qualities. They also awarded people that had high profiles personalities who are role models to young children. (Marson, 2008) Ewan McGregor had received a gold blue peter badge live on the show after he had finish answering questions from children who had watched the movie Robots and Valiant in which he talked about UNICEF asking him to become an ambassador for them in which he agreed after he went around the world and made a documentary called Long Way Round.
Over time there were new badges that were created as spin off badges including green badges which was of a new tier of Blue Peter badges that would be awarded to people, (CBBC, 2008) they were awarded to viewers who had ecological project, even some viewers that would write songs about ecological subjects and issues. Even created purple badges for viewers that would write reviews on Blue Peter. The Orange badge was awarded for winners and runner up’s that have won competitions or took part in events, in which they then created the Sport badges which they were awarded for those that had been in sport related events and applications for these badges are officially over at this current allotment (CBBC, 2008)
In which these orange badges were obtained by viewers that had sent in letters like explained above those who had finished and competed in events, however the prestigious badge has changed over the years, for instance Alton towers used to give free admission to badge holders which are considered to be sacred back in the days when it was allowed to be used show acme when audience viewership skyrocketed through the roof (Stoke , 2016) and the badges had a key part in Blue Peters success.
Another part of the identity of Blue Peter was the theme for the show as the opening titles very similar to “God Save The Queen” especially with the tempo and Drumbeats which is arcane as it has identification with nationalism and has linkage to the RAF and Royal Marines for instance the show had homogeneity with RAF in which Peter Duncan participated in the Royal Marine Command (Royal Navy, 2015. In May 1973 John Noakes a civilian broke the record for being the first British civilian to make a 5 mile high jump that was a free fall parachute jump as well as the one of the very first outsiders to join the RAF Flying Falcons (Marson, 2008) this was a tradition and has been continued on in blue peters even recently in 2016 Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya was given a challenge to help fly over Buckingham Palace 500 miles which is roughly around 8000 meters above the earth in a A330 Voyager MRT KC2 with the RAF piloting the plane and allowed Radzi make sure the waypoint is correct Blue Peters was given the opportunity by the RAF to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday (BBC, 2016).
Blue Peter had some features that were linked to socio-political agendas which took a form of quasi-activism an example of this from Blue Peter was a response of overpopulation and inferable effects which in 1974 the editor of the show had realized that many viewers of the show were living in flats and realized that many of them would grow up without access to gardens in which the editor made a segment on this teaching young viewers about plants, animals and outdoor world which these council flats denied them (Haynes, 2011).
This kind of proactivity was a recurrent theme in Blue Peters development in which they then started in 1962 to tackle awareness and money for the homeless people, which allowed the show to rise even more as it appealed to working and lower class families as a lot of people are affected by homelessness and soon became the essential part of the show as they were put into segments of the show from December to February and even through to March they became campaigns that covered a wide variety of issues that was domestic and foreign and which blue peter wasn’t afraid to discuss issues that were deemed upsetting.
In the 70’s Blue Peter filmed their presenter Valerie Singleton she had accompanied Princess Anna to Kenya with the organisation of Save the children the trip showed the hidden side of the Lower developed countries and shown a different side from the Royal Family and they enlightened the situations that many undeveloped countries even certain parts of the continent which allowed the viewers at home to see the situation of severe homelessness (Baxter, 1971).
Blue Peter has always identified with environmentalism which was their main trait even though they gave green badges to viewers that had created projects to help the environment, but this has caused disputation especially in 2007 (Holmwood, 2007) as one of the Blue Peters presenter Konnie Huq was accused of breaching ethics as bbc had told her not join Ken Livingston’s political event that was based on a launch of promoting the cycling initiative in which Ken Livingston accused the Tories for pursuing a “pro-car” policies in which the BBC was forced to make a public apology towards the dispute in which the BBC claimed that Konnie had disregarded the BBC executives which she understood and had to pay a fine of £1,000 which would be perceived as malapropos (Holmwood, 2007) as its not 100% clear whether the incident was political issue or if it was environmentalism as it was being pushed by Blue Peter, these incidents indicate that the show developed not only as kids entertainment show but developed on political issues that had concomitant on pressure groups.
It is argued that Blue Peter always aimed their target audience towards the middle class audience in which their political opinion has always been moderately on the right, for example they interviewed Margaret thatcher and which was deemed as “moderate”, which they also interviewed Tony Blair which both of them prevailed as controversial prime ministers who produced wars in the Falklands and Iraq which put the show into being considered as centre right wing of politics which were perceived as breach of ethics as the Iraq war was contemplated if it was an illegal war but also mainly on the viewers being educated and exposed to people that were quite high up in the government and news segments but it was questioned whether it was a balanced segment in terms of on the political scale, so Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke Of Edinburgh visited the studios in 2001 (Marson, 2008), realistically you have to look at whether the BBC are giving the young viewers an unbiased opinions or are they allowing young viewers to support the right wing politics and whether that narrative is being passed on through generations (BBC, 2014).
The format of the show hasn’t really changed that much through the years as the regularity of the turnover of presenters means that each generation of young viewers have their own experience of viewing the shows as today you can watch the show on multiple devices as long as you have a TV licence, for instance, you can watch it via TV or on a tablet, computer and mobile via BBC IPlayer (BBC, 2014).
The only thing that changed was the segments as they incorporated Holiday shows which they showed off different countries in which the presenters would explore the country shown in the segment and would talk about the destinations kids would love to go, this made the young viewers interested in geography (BBC, 2014).
Blue Peters is no longer filmed at the old BBC Studios in Shepherds Bush, it’s now been broadcasted in CBBC from Salford in Greater Manchester that’s in North of England, and no longer has the ratings it used to have but will still remain in many generations sentiment as a part of childhood (Carter, 2012).