Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Get dead Shep!

Blue Peter’s 50th birthday will take place on Thursday 16th October 2008. Throughout the programme’s long history, it has had many presenters and a number of pets. Although they belong to the show, some live at home with the presenters. The first of these was Petra, a female mongrel, who made her maiden appearance on the show in 1962. It was also her only appearance. It was only revealed in the 1990s that Petra did, in fact, die after that first show (As far as I can tell, the cause is unknown). To avoid upsetting the programme’s young viewers, producer Biddy Baxter found a similar looking replacement puppy and no one was any the wiser for thirty years. Petra MkII stayed with the show until 1977 and had a number of puppies of her own, including Patch, who also became a Blue Peter pet.

However, this is not the first Blue Peter ‘deception’ … in 1991, Bonnie the Golden Retriever had puppies and viewers were asked to vote for a name. One strong contender was Biddy … but in deference to the show’s producer, it was called Millie instead. And just this year, viewers voted for a kitten to be called Cookie. BBC staff chose Socks instead but claimed it was the viewers’ choice. When the deception was exposed, the current producer resigned.

Picture by me.

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