Feeds

BBC deletes Blue Peter from BBC One

Children's TV staple sent away to digital

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Blue Peter - home to four-legged rascal Shep, the coat-hanger advent crown and school-boy favourite Janet Ellis, is being turfed out of its home on BBC One.

The 54-year-old show that gave kids the drama of hibernating tortoises, out-of-control baby elephants and, yes, Janet Ellis, will be shoved into the back end of Freeview. Blue Peter, along with the entire canon of the BBC’s children’s programming, will be dropped into the CBBC and CBeebies channel by the end of the year following the end of analogue telly transmissions.

The move was approved by the BBC Trust and it is expected to help Auntie cut hundreds of millions of pounds from its budget by 2017.

The BBC is under financial and competitive pressure: the TV licence fee, which funds the broadcaster, was frozen by Chancellor George Osborne in 2010 for six years in the face of inflation and increasing costs.

BBC One is the Beeb’s most popular TV channel with 47 million viewers, according to BARB, although its most popular programme is currently Saturday evening's The Voice which has under nine million. Blue Peter attracted just 300,000 viewers, according to The Guardian, which quoted the BBC admitting that viewing of children’s shows on BBC One and BBC Two “is low and has fallen significantly over recent years”.

Those numbers mean Blue Peter is costing more and more per viewer to produce for the flagship channel.

At the same time, there are plenty of opportunities to expand audiences beyond TV and even the PC now that everyone can get their hands on smartphones and tablets. And the new crop of digital channels are also emerging as a handy spot to plonk niche programming. For example, BBC digital radio station 6 Music, which was nearly axed in 2010 to save money but then saved following a DJ-led campaign, attracts 1.2 million listeners versus 14 million for BBC Radio 2. The BBC's Asian Network has 507,000 listeners.

A BBC Trust spokesperson told The Reg: "Only a very small percentage of children still solely watch these programmes on BBC One and BBC Two alone, so moving them to digital channels is merely following current viewing patterns and reflects the fact that CBeebies and CBBC will be universally available on digital TV from the end of this year."

The spokesperson said children's telly is "absolutely fundamental" to the BBC.

Austerity measures aside, this is the end of an era for a programme that has occupied generations of youngsters in the early evening before their parents sat down for the Six O'Clock News. The Beeb's paternalism bred a show that mixed the unpredictability of cats with the here’s-one-I-made-earlier approach to turning cardboard toilet tubes into sagging Thunderbirds island, the purpose of an annual charity appeal and an outdoors adventure for a post-school, pre-dinner viewing public clutching its jammy dodgers and a glass of R Whites.

All this was fronted admirably by the capable and talented Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves and John Noakes while teens and younger siblings held their breath as new presenters were introduced. Could Peter Duncan, who appeared in so-camp-it-hurts film romp of comic capers Flash Gordon, suitably occupy the action-man role held by Noakes?

It was BBC One and Blue Peter that were responsible for introducing an entire generation to sticky-back plastic, double-sided sticking tape, the Noakes and Shep tear jerker, and – oh, yes, Janet Ellis*. ®

* Mum of pop siren Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.