In this week’s guest post, Good Game Executive Producer Janet Carr waxes lyrical of her childhood love for her favourite British TV show.
A love letter to a TV Show… It starts with a badge.This is a Blue Peter Badge and the only way to get one was to contribute in a significant way to the children’s TV show of the same name, Blue Peter.
Blue Peter, broadcast in the UK by the BBC, is the longest running children’s television show in the world. I was its most devoted viewer for the entire 70s.
The show was principally studio based and presented (in my time) by the serious and clever Peter Purves, the jovial dare-devil John Noakes and the artistic and stylish Lesley Judd. Alongside them were the show’s pets, Petra the trusty Alsatian, the naughty but adorable Border collie Shep – and a cat, Jason, who always seemed to scoot the minute the camera turned on.
Broadcast twice a week Blue Peter aimed to take its young viewers on a voyage of discovery and adventure and for me it did just that. I was enthralled by the interesting people they interviewed; inspired by the fascinating things the presenters made (I can still knock up a pretty impressive mother’s day gift out of tissue paper and a used margarine container). I can even thank the show for my migration to Australia having been convinced it was the country for me after the team visited for one of their intrepid Blue Peter Summer Expeditions.
Being a devoted viewer took dedication in the 70s, after all this was a time before the internet, even before video recorders. Every Monday and Thursday I would race home from school and sit glued with my pen and paper in hand just in case I needed to jot down some vital instruction. Miss the show and it was gone, forever.
Once a year we were called to action in the Blue Peter Charity Appeal. In my day this involved collecting a waste product like scrap metal, newspaper or stamps.This picture, from 1975, shows John, Lesley and Peter with Rags the Pony. Viewers were asked to collect rags, these were sold and the proceeds used to purchase the pony that was specially trained to take disabled people riding. I managed to collect more rags than anyone else in my town and this resulted in the awarding of my coveted Blue Peter badge.
Before writing this I thought I’d better do a few fact checks just in case my memories had been distorted by the mists of time. I’m now in even greater awe of this program. For the most part they went live to air from Studio 1 at BBC HQ in London, the fourth largest studio in Europe. And they made great use of it, with multiple set ups and large set pieces and plenty of spontaneity that often resulted in stuff ups which were always handled with great humour and dignity.
Blue Peter has been running continuously for 54 years now. On the other side of the planet its most devoted viewer from the past also produces a children’s TV show for the ABC. With Bajo and Hex and the team, I’ve tried to capture that same feeling of inclusion and enthusiasm in our programs.
And what is the most valuable thing you can win on Good Game Spawn Point?
Of course, it’s a badge.Janet Carr has over twenty years experience in making film, radio and television. Her credits include GP, Lateline, 7.30 Report, Radio National Breakfast, Bananas in Pyjamas, Vidiot and Australia Wide. In 2006 she combined her love of journalism and passion for video games when she created Good Game for ABC2, Australia’s first show entirely dedicated to the wonderful world of video games. In 2010 she created Good Game Spawn Point especially for younger gamers which is broadcast on ABC3. Both shows will return in February this year with Janet as Series Producer. Janet likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain, and counts SteveMolk as the best version of Molk she’s ever seen in her life.