Blue Peter turns 60 - with some presenters you saw earlier

Pictured (left to right) Radzi Chinyanganya, Helen Skelton, Konnie Huq, Peter Duncan, Leila Williams, Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves, Janet Ellis, Lindsey Russell and Anthea Turner during the Blue Peter Big Birthday episode. PIC: PA
Pictured (left to right) Radzi Chinyanganya, Helen Skelton, Konnie Huq, Peter Duncan, Leila Williams, Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves, Janet Ellis, Lindsey Russell and Anthea Turner during the Blue Peter Big Birthday episode. PIC: PA
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Children’s TV programme Blue Peter turns 60 today - and is celebrating with a grand reunion of some of its former presenters.

Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves and Konnie Huq are among those teaming up with current hosts Lindsey Russell and Radzi Chinyanganya for a special one-hour edition, to be broadcast live on the CBBC channel.

Blue Peter is already the longest-running children’s TV series in the world.

It now joins a very select handful of programmes to have been on British television continuously for at least 60 years, including Panorama and The Sky At Night.

Blue Peter editor Ewan Vinnicombe urged everyone around the country to join in the festivities.

“Blue Peter is a very special club to be part of and the Big Birthday show will be a moment to remember and one to watch for all generations of Blue Peter fans,” he said.

“We are celebrating in style so if you’ve got a Blue Peter badge wear it with pride on our big day.”

Blue Peter began at 5pm on Thursday October 16 1958.

The first edition was just 15 minutes long, and was billed in Radio Times as: “Toys, model railways, games, stories, cartoons. A new weekly programme for younger viewers with Christopher Trace and Leila Williams.”

Williams stayed with the programme until 1962, while Trace remained a presenter until 1967.

There have been 37 official presenters of Blue Peter. John Noakes is the longest-serving member of the team, clocking up just over 12 years on the show between 1965 and 1978.

Today’s birthday edition - episode number 5,037 - will include the Blue Peter Diamond Time Capsule being sealed in The National Archives, and an announcement about the return of the hugely successful Bring And Buy Sales campaign in support of BBC Children In Need this November.

It is estimated that, across the 49 appeals in the history of Blue Peter, children have raised the equivalent of over £100 million in today’s money.

The show will also feature live music from Jonas Blue feat HRVY, The Vamps and Sophie Ellis-Bextor - daughter of former Blue Peter presenter Janet - all accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

- Blue Peter’s Big Birthday can be seen on CBBC today at 5pm, and again on BBC2 on Saturday October 20 at 4.30pm.