First Edition of Blue Peter

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History on 16th October


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Published

Jane Eyre Published

The Houses of Parliament burn down

First Edition of Blue Peter

The 16th of October 1958 AD

Where would this country be without Blue Peter? Not only would we not have sticky-back plastic millionaires, but there would be favourite aunts waiting forlornly for presents made from cereal boxes, and generations of children uninspired by the ideas, expeditions, interviews and occasional silliness the programme has produced over more than 50 years.
The first episode went out on Monday October 16 1958, part of a planned seven-week series to provide something for kids of infant school age.
There was a touch of glamour about the pilot, hosted by Leila Williams who had won the previous year’s Miss Great Britain contest, and Christopher Trace, a charming and handsome actor. Only running for 15 minutes at first, and very Fifties in its division of labour – Trace played with trains etc, Williams with dolls – the show proved a hit.
Blue Peter was the brainchild of BBC producer John Hunter Blair, who came up with the title too – the Blue Peter flag signifying a ship about to depart, hinting at strange lands and unexpected adventures.
Now with more than 4500 episodes to its credit, and having made John Noakes, Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves, Konnie Huq, Richard Bacon , Anthea Turner and a score of others household names, the programme is a part of our national heritage - especially the bit with the peeing elephant.

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