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It was sticky-back plastic fantastic.

Byline: POLLY HUDSON

THE news it was Blue Peter's 60th anniversary left me cold when first announced. Currently in the limbo years - I'm too old to watch it, my child's too young - the show means basically nothing to me at the moment.

But then the coverage started, the photos of the old presenters began floating around and it became harder to dodge the nostalgia.

A friend of a friend sent a picture he'd drawn to Blue Peter when he was a kid. They had not asked him to. In return, he received a personal letter from iconic editor Biddy Baxter, and a Blue Peter badge. Hearing about this, I was suddenly reminded.

I HAD A BLUE PETER BADGE, TOO!

I'd sent in a story I'd written to Blue Peter when I was a kid. They had not asked me to. I also got the letter and badge.

Opening the envelope and seeing such beyond-wildestdreams treasure is one of the seminal moments of my life. Obviously when I was handed my newborn son for the first time it meant much more, but only because he might read this one day.

The Blue Peter badge was the stuff of legend. The only accessory that mattered in the playground and the biggest status symbol you could hope for (note to youth of today: think of it like an olden days Brazilian Butt Lift).

At the time, I didn't question the letter or the badge, or whether I deserved them or not, because that is the beauty of childhood - almost uncrushable self-belief.

Maybe I honestly thought they would stop everything else that was happening on Blue Peter one day and read my story out loud, because that would have made for such fantastic television.

What's baffling now though, is to think of how long it must have taken the Blue Peter staff to send letters and rewards to children who had given them rubbish they hey d hadn't asked for. The time they must have spent being kind to kids, acknowledging them, and appreciating their talents, even when they were questionable. Nurturing them. Gulp.

Nowadays young people can still get that level of attention of course - but it will be on social media, so the replies will mostly be telling them they're stupid, ugly and need a Brazilian Butt Lift.

Blue Peter was pretty do-goody, but mostly without us noticing. Sarah Greene was your cool big sister, and Simon Groom your dream boyfriend - *blushes* - so if they encouraged you to save milk bottle tops for an appeal to teach guide dogs to waterski, save them you did.

Blue Peter looked after us, encouraged us to have a social conscience and made us aware of sticky-back plastic.

It was more of a force for good, more important than any of us realised at the time. It shaped us as a nation.

Reminiscing about Blue Peter does cause you to look back with rose-tinted spectacles, so in the interest of impartiality, I must point out that the show is not perfect, of course. Let's never forget, they gave John Leslie his big break.

'' If they said save to teach guide dogs to waterski, save you did

CAPTION(S):

COOL COUPLE Simon and Sarah

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 18, 2018
Words:537
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