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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 18:47 GMT
Blue Peter in the headlines
Blue Peter normally stands as the benchmark in wholesome children's entertainment. The revelation that it faked the winner of one of its own competitions is the latest in a series of incidents which have made the headlines over the programme's long history.


Peter Purves and Petra in 1974
Petra's (second) death made national headlines
Petra, second only to Shep as the most beloved of the Blue Peter dogs, was in fact an impostor.

The BBC admitted that the original dog had died after just one appearance in 1962 and had to be replaced by a look-alike.

The swap was kept quiet for fear of upsetting younger children. The new Petra served the programme until dying in 1977. A statue to her was erected in the Blue Peter Garden.


The vandalised garden
The attack on the garden reduced Percy Thrower to tears
In 1983 the Blue Peter Garden at Television Centre was vandalised, leaving a generation of children shocked by trampled vegetation, damage to a plaque made by a disabled child, a broken urn and the goldfish in the pond poisoned.

Famously taciturn gardener Percy Thrower was moved to declare that, in his opinion, the kind of people who could do such a thing must have been "mentally ill".

The team all mucked in to rebuild the area and an appeal was made for information as to the culprits.

Some years later former Tottenham and England striker Les Ferdinand admitted he "helped a few people over the wall" but said he did not take part in the vandalism.


Simon Groom in the 1985 panto
Groom said he used to flee the studio to avoid the producer's wrath
The show's live format had given rise to many memorable - often animal related - moments but presenter Simon Groom made some equally memorable double entendres.

After a piece on the replacement of a medieval door knocker with a fibreglass replacement, Groom described them as "a beautiful pair of knockers".

An item on making hedges by partly chopping down small trees was met with the comment: "Apparently the longer the length the better the lay."

He has since admitted he used to run from the studio after broadcast to avoid the show's formidable producer Biddy Baxter.


Richard Bacon in 1998
Heggessey's explanation of the Bacon affair was a seminal Blue Peter moment
The most famous fall from grace was that of presenter Richard Bacon.

He was forced to leave in October 1998 after a tabloid expose and his subsequent admission that he took cocaine.

After his dismissal, the then head of BBC children's programmes, Lorraine Heggessey, went on air to explain the situation to BBC viewers.

Bacon also released a statement which read: "I regret what I did but it was in my personal time and I therefore hope that it does not reflect on the show.

"I am very grateful to Blue Peter for the opportunity it has given me and am very sorry that I have let everybody down."


Blue Peter badge
The photo ID scheme was suggested by a viewer
One of the great traditions of Blue Peter is that children who have achieved something special and adult guests on the programme are given a badge which allow free entry into museums and other visitor attractions.

In 2006 it emerged the badges were being traded on internet auction sites and the badge scheme was suspended.

It was brought back after three months following the introduction of a photo card scheme.

The badge comes in five types. The gold version is reserved for exceptional achievements such as saving a life, while a green one is awarded for conservation work.

Blue Peter sorry over fake winner
14 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
BBC relaunches Blue Peter badges
19 Jun 06 |  Entertainment
Beckham backs Blue Peter appeal
08 Nov 06 |  Entertainment


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