1 September 2013

The story of the blue peter badge

I was a big Blue peter fan for many years.
I am assuming that most readers will know what Blue Peter is but if not, it was and still is a children's tv program. More information can be found here.


I liked the format of the program, I liked the presenters, I liked the competitions although I never ever won anything, and I liked the theme tune.
Looking back on it I think I also liked the sense of history that came with the program. The sense that I was watching a program that my parents had enjoyed when they were younger.

I was a fan in a big way. When I started watching, the internet was around but not in the way it was now. Fun facts about the program could be found in the annuals rather than on the web. I started collecting. My Dad gave me his old Blue Peter annuals and I filled in the gaps by buying them second hand. I'm still quite proud of the fact that I have the 2nd Blue Peter annual right through to the 36th when I stopped watching.


And I didn't just collect them, I read them too. I liked to name the past presenters and compare the stunts and features with the ones on the program at the time.

The big thing for me though, the thing that made this show different, special even, were the badges.

Age nine I could recite them to you. What each badge was and how you could earn them. From simply writing a letter and getting the blue badge right up to saving someones life and getting a gold.

It was inevitable really that before long I wrote my letter, trying to get my badge.  

It was whilst we were living in the Falkland Islands. A photo of one of the presenters had reached our local paper when she flew in a helicopter on the island.
I cut it out and typed up a letter about what life was like as a child on the island.

I expected to get a nicely worded letter in return.
I was one of the lucky ones.
I was read out on the program. No lie, my letter was read out in the "mailbag" feature.


If this wasn't excitement enough a month or so later (post was slow in the Falklands) I received my badge and the booklet of places I was entitled to get into free whilst wearing it.
I was so proud of that badge.
I was so proud to go out wearing it.
I watched Blue Peter, I was dedicated enough to have earned my badge.

Here was the deal with Blue Peter though. If you wrote a second letter you were entitled to the next level badge. The Silver badge.
I duly wrote another letter and waited expectantly.
The nicely worded letter came but with it, not a silver badge, but another blue one. We had moved house by this point and naturally they assumed I was a new "Abi Beach" not the same one who had written from the Falklands.


I remember feeling sad about this for a while but also a bit special. The other children could keep their silver badges. I had two blue ones and I don't think many people can say they have that!

Today I am joining in with the lovely Sian and her Storytelling Sunday- pick your precious. Do pop over to visit other bloggers and read about their precious things.

27 comments:

Miss Smith said...

Oh, the cult of the Blue Peter badge. How I envy you :D This is a lovely story and clearly a special memento to hand on to!

debs14 said...

Love this story! I am part of the 'Valerie Singleton generation' but I still remember looking forward to Blue Peter coming on the tv. When I was at primary school we used to have small bottles of milk every break time and as milk monitors, me and my friend Nicky had to collect everyone's silver foil milk bottle tops, then smooth them out so they could be sent off for a Christmas appeal to raise money for charity.
I never got a badge though :-( Lucky you, having two!

Jennie said...

A very lovely story - -and lucky you having 2 Blue Peter Badges. I watched as a child, watched with my children and occasionally catch it still! Thanks for sharing Abi. J x

Sheena said...

Goodness your beautiful story takes me right back to my Blue Peter watching days x many thanks for sharing.

Missus Wookie said...

So did you write a second letter as the new Abi? Congratulations on the two blue badges tho'!

Sian said...

Ooh, I bet you are proud! I was a huge Blue peter fan and I got an annual every year for Christmas. I never got a badge though :) Lovely, lovely story which not only has me wanting to reach for the sticky backed plastic, it has also given me an idea for another Precious. Thanks Abi..and congrats on that badge winning

Ruth said...

I love this post! I'm from the era of John Noakes, Peter Purviss and Judy something or other.

Ladkyis said...

Christopher Trace, Valerie Singleton and John Noakes - We had just bought a TV set in 1958 and I would rush like mad to get home from school and start my homework so that I could watch Blue Peter and then carry on with the homework. My school gave us two hours every night.

jeanie g said...

I remember it so well as the programme my two would watch together as friends, truces were made for the entire programme time! Absolute heaven to me as being very competitive and close in age, my DS & DD argued constantly when together. Loved your story and what a snip, two for one on the Blue Badges! Thank you for visiting my blog too.

Sandra said...

I'll be honest here, I loved Blue Peter, but I loved it more because they had animals on the show. I mean dogs were just as important as the presenters, oh and as a child with a dog. I just loved that :)

Melissa said...

I'd never heard of Blue Peter, but it's wonderful that you have these mementos to remind you of a favorite show. Great story!

Sinead said...

This is such a great story Abi! I never watched Blue Peter (we didn't get it in Ireland when I was younger) but there were some similar programmes here so I can imagine the excitement of having your letter read out on TV! And having not one but two blue badges is very cool :D
P.S. I just saw that the new issue of Jot is out...cannot wait to have a look and see your article!! xx

Clare said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clare said...

PS I also wrote and was sent a Blue Peter badge. Then lost it on the way home from a Bring and Buy. Years later my daughter also earned 2 (?) and gave me one of hers. Aww...

Clare said...

Hey Abi - Congratulations and well done being on Jot (cover) and in Jot!! I have read your blog for about 3 years now and really enjoyed reading your article! Now going back to read the rest. You rock! x

Mitra Pratt said...

Sweet post! We don't have that show here, but I can imagine! It sounds great! Thanks for hanging out with us over at Sian's!

HUGS!

Mitra

Becky said...

Wow! Two blue, Blue Peter badges - yes, you are lucky :) Thanks for sharing this story x

Mel said...

It was an institution! I liked the dogs even though I am not a huge dog fan! great keepsake and story!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Great story! I've never heard of the show but it sounds very interesting.

Karen said...

Oh how I loved Blue Peter, especially the sticky backed plastic projects. When I watched it as I child I dreamed of all the projects I could make but never had the correct bits and bobs.

Amy said...

While we don't have Blue Peter down here, there are similar programs, I can imagine your excitement and how proud you must have been!

Karen said...

Blue Peter is unfamiliar to me. We didn't have TV when I was growing up, but as an adult I remember being envious of friends who had similar experiences with children's shows here in the states.

Alison said...

You are indeed very lucky to have TWO Blue Peter badges!
Alison xx

Jo said...

Wow you are so lucky to have 2 badges, I would have loved one :) x

Maria Ontiveros said...

What a fun, fun story. I don't know Blue Peter, but I understand the excitement of writing a letter to someone on the TV and actually getting a response.
Rinda

Jane said...

lucky you having a Blue Peter badge, I'm very envious x

S said...

I guess you were just twice the letter writer and have 2 blue badges to prove it. Great story today, thanks for sharing.