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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 January 2008, 03:29 GMT
Talking Shop: Konnie Huq
Konnie Huq, Blue Peter's longest-serving female presenter, is leaving the show on Tuesday after 10 years.

She has faced challenges from feeding sharks to dissecting a deer, but now feels it is time to try something new.

Huq reveals what has made her squirm on the show, how her fan mail can be a mixed bag and what she plans to do next.

Why are you leaving?

Konnie Huq
Huq, 32, joined Blue Peter when she was 22

Well, 10 years is a good innings and it's good to leave on a high. I'm still enjoying it but I'm ready - I wouldn't say I've burnt out - that sounds bad, but I've done my time, and I'm ready for a bit of a rest maybe.

What does it feel like to be the show's longest-serving female presenter?

It's bizarre because it has gone really quickly. It feels like 'Oh, am I worthy of that title?' because it's just flown by. I'm 32 now and was 22 when I started, fresh out of uni. John Noakes is the longest-serving presenter overall - trust him to rain on my parade!

What were your best and worst moments on the show?

Worst moments - recently it wasn't so great with "Catgate" and telephone line-gate and all of that [when the show had to apologise for the high-profile rigging of a poll and faking of competition results] - that wasn't brilliant.

And my best moment - I know it sounds cliched, but I guess it was joining the show. It has opened the door to so many opportunities and experiences and travel to all those different places.

Have you ever had any unusual fan mail?

Yes - Blue Peter I think attracts unusual letters, I think there's something about it, where you attract a lot of interesting people just by the nature of the show.

Often we're interviewing fanatics on this, that and the other. There was this bloke - I think they sent the BBC investigations department round to his house - he seemed to think I was having his baby, which was a bit odd, and he had that really jaggedy writing.

We do get odd letters, it's quite funny, it can keep us amused - we don't get shown all the mail, though. There's a department that just answers mail because there's so much of it. When we have a competition it quadruples the load.

What do you think about how the show has changed since you started presenting it?

The good thing about Blue Peter is it updates with the times.

More recently it's changed a lot more - it's very into surprises and challenges, which is probably a good time for me to be leaving, as I'm not good at this You've Been Framed-type stuff.

The other day I was told that I had to start filming at 4am at Billingsgate Fish Market and I was like - "but I'm leaving" - and they were like "well actually it's for BBC Vision, it's just this in-house thing and they really wanted you to do it, can you do it as a favour to the department".

So I was up at 3am in Billingsgate Fish Market, and it stinks there, and I was meant to be going filming to a spa with GMTV afterwards, smelling of fish.

Konnie Huq
Konnie's foreign expeditions for Blue Peter included Japan in 2005

All these people there were really odd, but then I quite like odd, quirky contributors. This guy was enthusing about fish, and we do have all these crazy people on our show who are quite passionate about this, that and the other.

And then this table of fish falls down, and I said "this is a wind-up isn't it?", but they just carried on. And then they made me dissect this octopus.

But the thing is, on Blue Peter they've made me dissect a deer before. So although it was supposed to be a gag, it was nothing out of the ordinary.

It was a wind-up - the other three presenters appeared - for a show called Blue Peter Meets Prank Patrol! So they've got nine minutes of that on my leaving show.

When I was filming in the Bahamas, diving with sharks, I said, "Could you use this as my leaving film?" and they said "No, we've got something else in mind." And it's stinking Billingsgate Fish Market!

I wasn't that keen on it but what can you do? I'm so used to doing gross things, they send people down sewers and all sorts, that I didn't go "urgh".

What was it like having to apologise on-air for the rigging of the vote to name the show's cat?

You know what - I didn't do the apology for that. My agent said "she's apologised enough" so the other presenter did it and I got to introduce the new cat. I think people just assume it was me.

Blue Peter will be 50 this year - are you involved in the celebrations?

I hope I will be but as of yet I don't know what they've got in mind. I don't think they'll be celebrating it on children's TV, I think it will just be on grown-up telly.

Who is your favourite Blue Peter presenter?

Ooh, well as a child I used to really like Simon Groom. I think I thought he was cool - that says a lot about me, doesn't it?

What are you doing next?

I think put my feet up. I've lined up lots of corporate work because suddenly I can do those - our schedules are so manic on Blue Peter that I couldn't do much, so now I've done the hard slog.

It's random things. One thing is I'm going to this resort in the Canary Islands and being paid loads of money to just to large it up in this resort - it's weird, the corporate world and what you get.

What about acting - you had a part in BBC One series Robin Hood

I got Maid Marion killed - I was a baddie. With the full-on Blue Peter schedules it's difficult to fit anything else in - and with that part Blue Peter asked to do a behind-the-scenes film, so now I'll have time to have meetings and plan what I'm doing. With Gethin doing Strictly Come Dancing we were a man down so it was even more manic - there was just no time for anything else.

Konnie Huq talked to BBC News entertainment reporter Helen Bushby.

Blue Peter's Konnie Huq to leave
31 May 07 |  Entertainment
Blue Peter to lose a show a week
25 May 07 |  Entertainment
Blue Peter editor leaves his job
16 May 07 |  Entertainment
Blue Peter says 'sorry' over cat
25 Sep 07 |  Entertainment
Blue Peter sorry over fake winner
14 Mar 07 |  Entertainment


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