Blue Peter voted top kids TV show ever

Photo: BBC

Blue Peter has been named the greatest children’s programme of all time, according to the Radio Times.

The long-running kids show, which started in 1958, topped the list compiled by a panel of TV experts including Noel Edmonds, David Walliams and the Chuckle Brothers.

Blue Peter, which notched eight million viewers an episode at its peak and recived 1,000 letters a day from viewers, beat the likes of Grange Hill, Newsround and Tiswas to top the list.

Here, former presenter Tim Vincent, who fronted the BBC kids staple between 1993 and 1997, explains why it’s the best of the bunch...

Blue Peter has been named the greatest British children’s programme of all time — and what a deserving winner it is.

First hitting the BBC in 1958, it has always been the Swiss Army knife of TV shows, covering everything from the serious, hard-hitting issues of the day to fun activities.

Its No1 spot in a Radio Times poll of 30 TV experts including Noel Edmonds, David Walliams and the Chuckle Brothers recognises its special place in generations of hearts.

And I know the royals are quite big fans of the show, too.

In my day it was the extended family that viewers knew and watched twice a week, before the days of YouTube and social media.

We had a Blue Peter pet because a lot of people could not have pets at home. We used to do a summer expedition because a lot of kids did not go on holidays abroad.

We did physically hard activities such as running marathons, throwing ourselves out of planes, jumping into frozen lakes and swimming with backpacks on.

We also covered serious world issues, like visiting Romanian orphanages where kids weren’t being looked after and reporting from South Africa after apartheid. During my time on the show it was getting six million viewers per show and more than half the audience were adults. Parents were drawn in because it was so interesting.

We never patronised the children watching or dumbed it down.

For all of the daredevil stunts I did, like painting the side of ­Blackpool Tower and cliff diving, the most terrifying thing I did on camera was making items when we did craft or cooking.

It was live TV with just me and six cameras, while someone talked in my ear on a mic, and I had to rustle something up effortlessly and have a bit of fun with it.

It wasn’t overly polished and that’s what people liked.

I now present Access Hollywood for NBC in America and celebrities often recognise me from my Blue Peter days.

Elton John has a Blue Peter badge and has spoken to me about what a fan he is of the show.

Between all the different presenters there was a character on there for everyone. It was wholesome and is a valuable part of TV history.

The fact it has lasted more than 60 years is testament that there’s real magic there.
Long may it continue.

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