Wednesday, April 30, 2003
When I was a lad it was either Magpie or Blue Peter. Magpie was the one for all the trendy, popular kids, hoping for a glimpse of Sue Stranks bra-less. Blue Peter was reliable BBC sticky-backed cosiness with Val Singleton in a cardie. No prizes for guessing the one I watched. Always was a BP boy.
Always will be, in fact. The only items I'd save from my burning flat are my Eric's tee-shirt, a bit of the Berlin Wall, and my two Blue Peter badges.
I won the blue BP badge for successfully naming three of Petra's nine puppies (Candy, Kim and Peter, in case you're interested). That tiny plastic shield pinned to my blazer lapel made me a minor celeb at the local infants, but my boyish heart was set on bigger things.
Three months later, and I had it. Shinier and far more exclusive than those tacky blue ones. A silver Blue Peter badge, sent to me after I'd posted the presenters a home-made Easter card, a hand-drawn pic of bunnies, tarted up with gold glitter, and finished off with a pink bow.
Without even digging out the accompanying letter, I can still recall every single line: Thank you for your Easter card. Val, Chris and John think it is splendid and have pinned it up on the office wall for everyone to see. And they finished off with: PS As a reward we are sending you a silver Blue Peter badge, as we see from our files that you already have a blue one.
Barely seven years old, and already I was filed, stamped, indexed and numbered. A former BP presenter has since confirmed to me that the production office keeps a note of every kid ever to have won a badge.
It's almost forty years later, but I still get a warm feeling inside. Knowing that, somewhere in a dusty TV Centre office, there's a card-index recording the fact that Master Stranger, aged 6½, is the proud owner of not just one, but two Blue Peter badges.