Thursday, 20 November 2014
16 Blue Peter
First watched : Uncertain
Blue Peter returned from a summer break , some of which the presenters spent in what was then Ceylon , on Monday 15th September 1969. I've no idea whether I actually watched that episode but I do recall a period when Patch was one of the dogs and he died in 1971 so it's possible.
I was never really fond of Blue Peter despite being one of the fortunate generation that was watching when John Noakes was on the show and hurling himself into dangerous challenges. With his untamed Halifax accent ( a dream for countless crap impressionists like Eddie Large ) and slightly unkempt appearance he was a welcome contrast to stuffed shirt Peter Purves ( who'd been in Dr Who for a while, though from the ones I've seen he was a terrible actor ) and Valerie Singleton who was like an awful po-faced schoolteacher although by the time I was tuning in she was trying to re-position herself as a serious news journalist and may have been more fun earlier on in her stint. While I wasn't bowled over by her jolly replacement Lesley Judd , she was a definite improvement.
Besides the great Noakes stunts the things I most remember are Uri Geller's first appearance on TV, the pets, the appeals and the endless models that always required "sticky-back plastic", something we never had in the house. I remember when we did acquire a couple of leftover rolls from a decorating job on the cellar it was very exciting but I can't remember if we actually used it.
My sister loved it uncritically and I remember we had a battle royal in 1975 when I wanted to watch The Tomorrow People instead of the Monday edition. Our mum eventually decided in my favour ( hooray ! ) which drove the first nail into the coffin as far as I was concerned. ( Ironically Helen soon became an equally fierce devotee of the mutant kids instead ). I think I did finally go with Noakes in 1978. I don't remember Janet Ellis, the garden being vandalised or the fake donation except through schoolmates discussing them at the time.
It is of course still going and at 56, is the longest running children's TV show in the world.