- Christoper Trace presented the very first Blue Peter show which was broadcast live on the BBC on 16 October 1958.
- Chris Trace was the very first Blue Peter presenter. He was a skilled live presenter who children looked up to as a fun older brother. Trace coined the famous Blue Peter catchphrase “Here’s one I made earlier”.
- In 1966 on a Blue Peter trip to Norway Christoper had an affair with a hotel receptionist. It went public to the embarrassment of the BBC and his wife. Around a year later Trace left Blue Peter to work for Spectator, a new feature film company, which failed. Trace was declared bankrupt in 1973 and his wife divorced him.
- Christopher Trace continued to work in TV, radio and movies until 1979.
- Trace re-visited Blue Peter for Blue Peter’s 20th anniversary show where he launched Blue Peter annual Outstanding Endeavour Awards.
- Christopher Trace died, aged 59, after a five year battle with cancer in 1992.
- Leila Williams was Miss Great Britain 1957, original and first female Blue Peter co-presenter.
- A change of producer led to her being left out of six shows, which were covered by Blue Peter one-off presenters, and she left the show.
- Leila played various movie roles until 1964. She ran pubs with her husband and retired to Spain.
- Leila returned to celebrate Blue Peter’s 40th anniversary show in 1998.
- Anita West is the shortest serving Blue Peter presenter.
- Anita resigned because of her imminent divorce from jazz musician Ray Ellington. Anita decided it would be inappropriate for her to continue as a children’s TV presenter at that time. Anita didn’t reveal her reasons for leaving the show which was seen as unprofessional. For that reason she was not included on the official Blue Peter presenters list.
- On Blue Peter’s 40th anniversary show in 1998 Anita West was finally included in the official list.
- Val trained at RADA and spent a year with Bromley Repertory Company. She was a skilled voice-over artist.
- Valerie Singleton is one of best known and most loved Blue Peter presenters of her generation.
- After leaving Blue Peter Val presented Nationwide (1972-1976), BBC’s The Money Programme and PM on BBC Radio 4.
- Val continued to be Blue Peter’s roving reporter. She appeared in the studio and in Blue Peter Special Assignments until 1981.
- In 1994 Valerie Singleton was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting.
- In 2000 Val returned to open the Blue Peter Millennium Time Capsule.
- John was an engine fitter in the RAF and BOAC before becoming an actor.
- John Noakes is the longest serving Blue Peter presenter ever.
- Together with Valerie Singleton and Peter Purves they were the best known trio of presenters in Blue Peter’s history.
- John became the “action man” of the show.
- John Noakes became the first civilian in Britain to make a five mile high (26400 ft) free fall with the RAF.
- His first dog was called Patch but his famous Blue Peter catchphrase became “Get down Shep” referring to Blue Peter’s pet border collie Shep who left the show with him and featured in “Go with Noakes” continuing his action antics around the UK.
- John retired with his wife to Mallorca and died aged 83 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
- Peter Purves appeared in TV Shows including Dixon of Dock Green, The Saint and Z-Cars before playing Steven Taylor, one of Dr Who’s companions when William Hartnell was the Doctor.
- Peter originally planned just six months on Blue Peter but the on-screen chemistry with Val and John made him stay much longer.
- On Blue Peter he climbed the Forth Bridge.
- As a dog-lover Peter went on to present the BBC’s Crufts dog shows and is involved with the Dogs for the Disabled charity. About the Blue Peter job he said:
It’s just the best job there is. You can’t do any other job where you just drop into anybody’s life.
- Lesley Judd was a dancer who appeared on Blue-Peter with the Young-Generation dance troupe and taught Peter, Val and John a dance routine.
- Lesley replaced Valerie Singleton and became “queen of the makes”. Lesley had a particularly scary time being transported by rope from a boat onto Bishop’s Lighthouse. It looked like she might end up in the water and she couldn’t swim!
- Whilst on the show Lesley divorced her first husband (Basil Brush’s straight man) and married a Blue Peter film editor.
- Lesley left the show to look after him (he had MS) but later divorced him to marry drummer Anthony Relph who died of a lung embolism aged 48.
- Lesley went on to present a children’s TV chat show “In the Limelight with Lesley” and interviewed Margaret Thatcher.
- Lesley appeared and presenter various other TV shows, notably The Great Egg Race and Micro Live. Lesley Judd also presented Women’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 1982-1988).
- In 2017 Leslie appeared in the John Noakes tribute programme and on 16 October 2018 appeared on Blue Peter’s 60th anniversary show.
- Lesley now lives near Toulouse in France.
- Simon Groom was an English teacher and DJ before joining the ranks of Blue Peter presenters.
- Simon was renowned for his ability to ad-lib innuendos into the show. His standout Blue Peter moment was abseiling down a rope from Tower Bridge.
- Simon reportedly once said live on the show:
One of Goldie’s puppies is going to become a blind dog for the guides.
- Simon now heads his own production company. He has produced and presented TV and Radio documentaries.
- Simon, with his wife Gilly, run a sheep farm in Derbyshire, England.
- Christopher Wenner’s best Blue Peter moment was abseiling down the BBC Television Centre.
- Christopher’s on-screen presence did not appeal to children and his Blue Peter contract was not renewed. He left the show on the same day as co-presenter Tina Heath.
- Wenner focused on journalism and is an award-winning war correspondent, now better known by the name Max Stahl.
- Christopher occasionally returns to celebrate Blue Peter birthdays.
- Tina Heath appeared in various BBC productions from 1969. In 1976 her first role as TV presenter was on The Sunday Gang where she met her husband Dave Cooke.
- Tina Heath was the first Blue Peter presenter to become pregnant. She made TV history with a live TV ultrasound scan and she also climbed to the top of Westminster Abbey while heavily pregnant.
- Tina left the show to have her baby Jemma Victoria Cooke.
- Tina made guest appearances on Blue Peter in 1981, modelling corsets and in 2001 in a Blue Peter pantomime, playing Miss Dripping. She also took part in the Blue Peter 35th birthday celebrations with her then 13 year old daughter.
- Sarah Green, aged 22, was the youngest Blue Peter presenter when she first appeared on the show to replace Tina Heath.
- On Blue Peter Sarah loved acting and dressing up. She dived to the wreck of the Marie Rose.
- After Blue Peter Sarah presented Saturday Superstore with Mike Read and Going Live with Philip Scofield.
- In 2017 Green has occasionally been a guest presented, with Scofield, on ITV’s This Morning show.
- Of all Blue Peter presenters Peter Duncan is the only one to have had two separate spells on Blue Peter. He reappeared in 1985 after leaving in 1984.
- During his time on Blue Peter Peter ran the 1981 London Marathon (and also in 1991, 2001 and 2012) and undertook some scary challenges which led to a spin-off show “Duncan Dares”.
- Janet Ellis’ BBC TV career started in 1978 with Jackanory followed by Jigsaw before she left to join the list of Blue Peter presenters in 1983.
- On Blue Peter Janet became the first civilian women to free fall from 20,000 ft. She left Blue Peter to have her baby.
- After a career pause Janet returned to acting in 2000 in various TV shows. Janet appeared naked in a magazine in 2008 to show her support of PETA, a UK animal rights organisation.
- Janet Ellis is the mother of model, singer and songwriter Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
- Janet Ellis became a writer and published “The Butcher’s Hook” in 2016 and “How It Was” in 2019. In 2018 Ellis wrote an article for The Guardian newspaper which suggested Blue Peter:
…offers a view of a world worth growing up in
- Michael Sundin won a trampolining world title before joining the show.
- On Blue Peter Michael trampolined with RAF gymnasts and reported from Elton John’s house.
- Michael’s contract was not renewed and within a few months his lifestyle was under scrutiny by the tabloid media, which he complained about publicly.
- Michael Sundin sadly died of an AIDS related illness aged 28 in 1989.
- Please see Peter Duncan’s earlier Blue Peter presenters earlier entry.
- After leaving Blue Peter he returned to the stage and enjoyed success in musicals and pantomimes.
- In 2004 Peter become the 9th UK Chief Scout and was awarded a Gold Blue Peter Badge. In 2009 Bear Grylls took over as Chief Scout and Peter co-founded The Natural Adventure Company where he is chief inspiration officer today.
- Mark Curry was in showbiz from 7 years old and made his feature film debut in Bugsy Malone alongside Bonny Langford.
- On Blue Peter Mark became famous for his cooking cock-ups and ad-libs. He was once tied to a moving windmill.
- Mark went on to present Catchphrase and has appeared and performed in dozens of TV shows.
- Mark is also a qualified tennis coach, enthusiast and commentator.
- In 2008 Mark entered into a civil partnership with Jeremy Sandle, his long-term partner.
- Caron Keating is the daughter of TV presenter Gloria Hunniford and BBC producer Don Keating.
- On joining the list of Blue Peter presenters Caron explored 80’s fashion, swam with sharks, abseiled down various skyscrapers and was strapped on top of a light aircraft performing acrobatics. Caron travelled to Moscow in 1987 and interviewed Margaret Thatcher while she was in office in 1988. Caron’s Ulster accent (she was raised in Belfast) was popular with viewers.
- Caron took a career break after Blue Peter to raise her two sons and returned in 1996 to co-present while Richard and Judy were on holiday. Caron co-hosted Family Affairs with Gloria Hunniford. Sadly Caron died of breast cancer after a seven year battle aged 41 in 2004. The Caron Keating foundation charity was set up by her mother and two brothers.
- Yvette Fielding was a children’s TV star. Her appearance in TV comedy Seaview attracted the attention of Blue Peter production team and aged 18 and a half became the youngest Blue Peter presenter at the time.
- On Blue Peter Yvette trained for an acrobatics display with the Moscow State Circus and helped paint Jodrell Bank radio telescope. Yvette was the first female presenter to be partnered with a Blue Peter dog, Bonnie.
- Yvette’s husband established a TV production company in 2002. They made ghost hunting shows like Most Haunted and Most Haunted Live where she often screamed in night vision!
- John Leslie was the first Scottish Blue Peter presenter and also the tallest at 6′ 4″.
- In 1991 John took part in the London Marathon, trained by Steve Cram. He also took part in the new sport of bridge swinging.
- John later presented This Morning and Wheel of Fortune.
- Diane-Louise Jordan was the first black Blue Peter presenter, choosing the role over a part in ITV’s Coronation Street.
- On Blue Peter Diane-Louise survived the cold in an ice hole in Norway.
- Diane-Louise presented the BBC’s Songs of Praise. She is also one of the BBC Children in Need trustees and vice-president of NCH Action for Children.
- In 2003 Diane-Louise Jordan published a book “How to Succeed as a Single Parent”.
||Stoke on Trent, England
- Anthea Turner presented Top of the Pops, Perfect Housewife and Dinner Party Wars.
- On Blue Peter Anthea famously became queen of the Thunderbirds Tracy Island model make – and not just one she’d prepared earlier!
- Anthea subsequently featured in the tabloid newspapers during a troubled period in her personal life.
- Turner has since appeared on various reality TV shows including Celebrity Big Brother, Hell’s Kitchen, Dancing on Ice, The Jump and First Dates.
- Tim Vincent joined Blue Peter after six series on Children’s Ward.
- Tim Vincent is the first Welsh Blue Peter presenter.
- On Blue Peter Tim was an action man. He ran in the New York marathon, flew a fighter jet, trained with the Paras and got a licence to race bikes and cars.
- After Blue Peter Tim Vincent presented the Miss World and Miss USA and was host on NBC game show Phenomenon, with Uri Geller, in 2007. Vincent is an Access Hollywood correspondent and competed in Dancing on Ice.
- Miles studied Media and his big break was to present Saturday Disney in 1994 which led to him joining the ranks of Blue Peter presenters.
- Stuart played Joseph in the Blue Peter Back in Time Pantomime in 1998 and joined the RAF Falcons parachute display.
- Stuart left Blue Peter in controversy saying the format was “out of touch” with kids and he criticised the sacking of co-presenter Richard Bacon.
- Stuart Miles went on to present This Morning and performs as drag character Stella Ratner (NSFC).
- From 2010 Stuart Miles presented the Heart Four Counties local radio breakfast show and in 2015 co-presented the show with friend and former ex-Blue Peter co-presenter Katy Hill.
- Katy Hill was working as a BBC secretary when she sent showreels and ideas to Blue Peter’s editor until she got an audition.
- During her spell as one of the Blue Peter presenters Katy Hill trained with the England football team, joined Cirque de Soleil and fulfilled her ambition to ride at the Horse of the Year Show.
- Katy went on to host Saturday morning Live & Kicking, she presented Top of the Pops, Football Fever and came second in the Channel 4 reality TV show The Games. Katy Hill was a co-presenter for Daybreak and This Morning breakfast TV shows.
- In 2015 Katy co-presented the Heart Four Counties breakfast show with friend and ex-Blue Peter co-presenter Stuart Miles.
- D’Annunzio has an Italian background but was born in Scotland and became the second Scottish Blue Peter presenter.
- Romana loved dressing up, she did a wing-walk and her favourite band Mike Flowers’ Pops performed a special song for her.
- After Blue Peter Romana undertook some TV and stage roles while studying. She gained her PGDE qualification Glasgow University and became a secondary school teacher.
- In 1993 Richard Bacon joined L!ve TV which got him into some tricky situations.
- When Richard became one of the Blue Peter presenters he went to Canada and Mexico and trained at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
- In 1998 Richard Bacon was fired for taking drugs and he apologized for letting the show down. Undeterred Richard went on to present The Big Breakfast, Top of the Pops and reality TV.
- Richard was present when the Blue Peter Millennium Time Capsule was opened in 2000.
- In 2010 Richard had his own late-night comedy show Beer & Pizza Club. He’s appeared in random episodes of various TV shows and has both writing and executive producer credits.
- Konnie was born “Kanak Asha Huq” to Bangladeshi parents and graduated in economics with a 2:1 from Cambridge.
- Konnie became famous on Blue Peter for visiting family members she hadn’t seen for years in Bangladesh.
- Konnie Huq was voted the most popular of all Blue Peter Presenters in a 2017 Radio Times Poll.
- Since leaving Blue Peter Konnie, As Kanak Huq, co-wrote the excellent Black Mirror episode “Fifteen Million Credits” with Charlie Brooker.
- Konnie presented ITV2’s seventh series of The Xtra Factor and plays Pam in the Good Omens TV Series S1 Ep2 The Book.
- Simon applied three times before joining the list of Blue Peter presenters.
- On the show Simon ran two London marathons, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and Mont Blanc, and completed over forty sky dives with the RAF.
- Simon is often remembered for presenting the Queen with a Blue Peter badge.
- Simon went on to host Sky Sports News and present Sky Sports’ football coverage.
- Matt Baker was a junior British gymnast and champion acrobat. He put his knowledge to good use as an Olympic gymnastics commentator.
- Matt studied drama and was talent-spotted by his future wife’s aunt which led to the Blue Peter presenting job.
- As one of the Blue Peter presenters Matt passed the recruitment courses for the Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment. In 2003 Matt trained as a stuntman and made a successful tandem world record-breaking hang gliding flight with Judy Leden MBE.
- Matt’s Blue Peter dog Meg left the show with him.
- Matt Baker won a Royal Television Society award and two back-to-back BAFTAs for Best Children’s Presenter.
- Matt was beaten by Kara Tointon in Strictly Come Dancing in 2010.
- Matt is currently one of the top 10 highest paid BBC stars.
- Matt currently hosts BBC’s Countryfile and is one of the regular The One Show presenters.
- Matt is involved in various charity works including BBC Children in Need.
- During Barker’s tenure as one of the Blue Peter presenters she participated in paragliding, high-wire walk and window cleaning of Canary Wharf tower.
- Liz announced her pregnancy and continued to present after the birth of her baby.
- Liz has since performed voice-overs and now has four children.
||Bangor, Northern Ireland
- As one of the Blue Peter presenters Zoe Salmon was famous for saying “I’d Try Anything Once”.
- Zoe went on to wing-walk on a biplane and was sawn in half by a magician. Zoe participated in Dancing On Ice and reached the quarter-finals.
- Since Blue Peter Zoe has since appeared on various TV shows including: The Chris Moyles, Shooting Stars and the World’s Strongest Man competition.
- Gethin Jones had various jobs before becoming a presenter on Welsh S4C channel. He presented Popty (Welsh Top of the Pops), Mas Draw and Uned 5 where he gained his pilot’s licence. In 2003 Jones was voted Bachelor of the Year by Company magazine readers.
- Gethin Jones was the second Welsh Blue Peter presenter.
- On Blue Peter Gethin flew with the Red Arrows and in a Spitfire, escaped from a submarine and survived an alligator attack in Louisiana. Jones became the first civilian to complete a 30 mile “yomp” with the Royal Marine Commandos.
- Since Blue Peter Gethin has taken part in various Strictly Come Dancing contests and tours and has acted and presented dozens of (mostly Welsh) TV shows, radio and live events. Of his time on Blue Peter Gethin said:
I’ve had a career on Blue Peter that you wouldn’t even dream about and for that I feel privileged and fortunate.
- Andy Akinwolere grew up in Birmingham from age 8. Andy holds two world records for swimming across deep open areas of water including five miles across the Palau Trench only weeks after learning to swim.
- Andy is the first Blue Peter presenter born outside the UK.
- Andy’s first Blue Peter challenge was a 150 yard abseil and an 1100 ft Bungee jump. He went on to pass his driving test on the show along with both racing and sky diving licenses.
- Since leaving the ranks of Blue Peter presenters Andy has been a contestant in Total Wipeout and The Great British Bake.
- Andy currently presents BBC1’s Inside Out and is a reporter on BBC’s Football Focus and Match of the Day along with Channel 4’s The Big Tackle and Channel 4 Rugby, plus Premier League Today.
||Kirkby Thore, England
- Helen Skelton also reported for TV from Wimbledon, Holiday Hit Squad and presented FA Women’s Super League football matches.
- Helen’s personal sporting achievements on Blue Peter were impressive:
- Helen became the second woman ever to finish the 78-mile (126 km) Namibian ultra marathon.
- Helen Skelton kayaked the entire Amazon River.
- Helen walked a tightrope between the Battersea power station chimneys for Comic Relief in 2011.
- In 2012 Helen reached the South Pole traveling 500 miles across Antarctica by kite and ski for Sport Relief.
- Helen left Blue Peter to become a football presenter for BT Sport.
- Helen said she would:
always count my time on Blue Peter as one of the most special times of my life
- Between 2005-2007 Joel Defries was a popular host on New Zealand’s C4 before joining Blue Peter.
- On Blue Peter Joel learnt hang gliding in order to fly with a Peregrine Falcon.
- Joel also explored his Jewish heritage on the show by visiting Auschwitz and meeting a holocaust survivor.
- Joel’s contract was not renewed when the show moved production from London to Manchester.
- Barney Harwood became a BBC children’s presenter in 2002 with CBBC.
- Between 2007-2011 Barney worked on various Children’s TV shows.
- In 2011 Barney Harwood took over from Joel Drefries when he joined the list of Blue Peter presenters.
- Barney conquered his fear of frogs, handling one on his first Blue Peter show and kissing one on his last Blue Peter show, and was awarded a Gold Blue Peter Badge. He enjoyed cycling challenges and told many bad jokes along the way.
- Barney’s Blue Peter catchphrase became “I want one”.
- Barney is also a musician and radio presenter. He also plays pantomime roles most years. In 2017 Barney Harwood was a contestant on Celebrity Masterchef.
- Lindsey Russell won a BBC competition to join the list of Blue Peter presenters from over 20,000 people who applied for the job.
- Viewers picked Lindsey from a shortlist of three.
- Lindsey is one of two current Blue Peter presenters.
- Radzi has a Scottish mother and his father is from Zimbabwe.
- Radzi Chinyanganya has also hosted BBC’s Match of The Day Kickabout, WILD! and co-presented ITV’s Cannonball game show.
- Radzi has also competed at national level in karate. Since 2017 Radzi Chinyanganya.
- On joining the ranks of Blue Peter presenters Radzi visited the Mary Rose and learned about conservation and opened NHS ADHD and ASD clinics in Walsall.
- Since 2018 Radzi has been a backstage interviewer for American WWE wrestling for their NXT UK brand and a Sky Sports NBA presenter.
||St Albans, England
- Richie studied Film and Television at University of Wales, Aberystwyth.
- As an actor Richie played a shady guy in The Weekend Movie (2016) and was a presenter for Joe Media.
- On becoming the 38th Blue Peter presenter Richie’s first Blue Peter challenge was to sing with The Kingdom Choir in front of a live audience.
- Richie is one of two current Blue Peter presenters.