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Last Updated: Monday, 25 October, 2004, 13:14 GMT 14:14 UK
Beauty queen to join Blue Peter
New Blue Peter presenter Zoe Salmon
Zoe Salmon got a law degree before training to be a solicitor
Long-running children's show Blue Peter has named its 30th presenter, ex-beauty queen and law graduate Zoe Salmon.

The former Miss Northern Ireland, from Bangor, will become the fifth member of the current team.

Salmon, 24, will take up her role on the BBC One and CBBC channel show in December, when host Liz Barker goes on maternity leave.

Her audition included conducting an interview while on a trampoline and handling an animal from London Zoo.

She came up against a kinkajou, a nocturnal mammal, and a temperamental remote control car in her audition, as well as being asked to make a Christmas card.

'Total assurance'

"It was her total assurance on the trampoline that really impressed us," said the show's editor Richard Marson.

"Zoe did a fantastic audition, and we couldn't believe that she'd never been in a television studio before."

He added she was an "extremely warm and natural" presenter.

Blue Peter presenters (left-right) Liz Barker, Simon Thomas, Konnie Huq and Matt Baker
Liz Barker (left) will shortly go on maternity leave
Salmon said: "It's been the biggest secret I've ever had to keep and it will be a major relief to tell my friends and family.

"I'm so excited and I'm really looking forward to all the mad stuff I know they throw at you on Blue Peter."

She answered an anonymous advert in a local newspaper and did not even know she was applying for Blue Peter.

Her first appearance will be singing and dancing in the programme's Christmas musical spectacular on 23 December.

After joining, she will be seen taking part in the extreme sport street luging, spending a day as a student teacher, taking part in a raft-building exercise and going to Iceland.

Salmon, who was named Miss Northern Ireland in 1999, completed a four-year degree at Queen's University, Belfast before training to be a solicitor.

Blue Peter, which has been on air since 1958, is now screened five nights a week.

It is on BBC One on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and every weekday on the digital CBBC channel.


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