News / Film

Blue Peter, and its Tony Hart designed badge, turns 60 today

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Steven Spielberg with a Blue Peter Badge (photo via Metro)

As a child, what did you want from life? Were your daydreams full of red carpets and press junkets? Did you idle away science lessons by imagining the roar of the crowd as you slottted in a last-minute World Cup winning free kick? Maybe, like us, there was only ever one thing you really wanted: a Blue Peter badge.

OK, so maybe we also wanted an unlimited supply of oil paints, a free subscription to The Beano, and the ability to convincingly develop a sick-day-worthy temperature at the flick of a switch, but the badge was important today. As you might have guessed, the reason why we’re stomping down memory lane this morning is that the BBC’s flagship edutainment show turns 60 today.

Yep – for 60 years now children from Taunton to Teeside have sat, slightly bored, watching ever-smiling presenters assemble elaborate papier mache creations that, in reality, will only ever make a massive mess of their mum’s kitchens before being abandoned within, oooh five minutes of starting.

In recent years, the show — like the bulk of British children’s broadcasting — has faced stiff competition from alternative sources of amusement, and on June 13, 2017, it was alleged that a repeat of Blue Peter managed to garner exactly 0 viewers. Zero.

Still, the good ship sails on.

Given that you’re now an adult who, presumably at least, doesn’t have time to keep up with such matters, you’d be forgiven for not being aware of the fact that in February of this year, to celebrate the show’s 5000th episode, a new Henry Holland designed badge was introduced. The badge was unveiled to viewers through a magic trick performed by magician Issy Simpson.

The clean, memorable, minimal OG blue-and-white badge still offers lucky recipients free entry to a whole host of attractions, from the Anglesey Sea Zoo to Stonehenge. The badge was actually introduced in 1963, and was designed — and get ready for this, older readers — by Tony Hart. Yes, the very same Tony Hart who subjected a nation of unwitting youths to the horror that was Morph.

It is still given out to children who submit creative work to the programme – a fact which makes us feel oddly warm and fuzzy and like maybe, just maybe, despite Trump and Brexit and global warming and everything, that life is OK.

You can read more about the secrets of the iconic — and much-coveted — badge, here. Oh, and below you can watch an oddly charming video of a load of famous people (including Usain Bolt, Davina McCall, and Jack Black) try not to weep big salty tears of joy as they are presented with a badge.