"Blue Peter" a blue-and-white flag hoisted by a ship in port when it is ready to sail.
But since it was first aired on October 16th 1958 it has been one of the most popular programs on the BBC for children.
The signature tune has always been a sea shanty, originally using variations of Barnacle Bill. The original opening titles showed a Blue Peter flag being lowered on a ship. In 1979 it was updated by Mike Oldfield, and again in the 1990s. From the 2008 series onwards it became a rendition of the similar Sailors Hornpipe. However, from 14 October 2008, the tune has become a blend of both tunes. The programme's motif is a stylised sailing ship designed by Tony Hart. Hart's original design was never successfully used in a totally uniform fashion, with several different reproductions used in studio, on badges, the Blue Peter books and on-screen graphics.
The first two presenters were Christopher Trace, an actor, and Leila Williams, winner of Miss Great Britain in 1957. Since that time presenters have come and gone, entertaining, teaching, and providing numerous Christmas presents for familys made with yogurt pots and sticky back plastic. The term "here's one I made earlier" is among several sayings they brought into the English language.
Perhaps the most famous group of presenters were the trio of Valerie Singleton, John Noakes and Peter Purves. They presented the program for five years.
Blue Peter's first pet, a brown and white mongrel dog named Petra was introduced on 17 December 1962, however Noakes and his Colly "Shep" brought another saying into the English language, his "Get down Shep" became a well known saying.
In 1962 Blue Peter made their first appeal collecting all sorts of worthless items from silver foil to buttons over the years they have helped millions over the years.
While the show had adventure and interest it was for both girls and boys with many world famous guest appearing on the show the receiving of a "Blue Peter Badge" has been more sort after than a knighthood some might say.
Many items from Blue Peter's history have passed into television legend, especially moments when things have gone wrong, such as the much-repeated clip of Lulu the elephant (from a 1969 edition) who defecated on the studio floor, trod on presenter John Noakes' foot and then proceeded to attempt an exit, dragging her keeper along the ground behind her.
The show still airs twice a week, and is as popular as ever,some 4000 shows have been produced since 1958, and almost every episode from 1964 onwards still exists in the BBC archives.
BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
"Across the Pond"