Every Thursday for half an hour, CBBC airs the famous children’s programme Blue Peter. This week I watched an episode from Thursday 19th January 2017.
Blue Peter is the longest running children’s television show in the world (Marson, 2008) and I believe the reason for its success over the years is that it is able to connect with its audience on a personal level. There is direct address from the start and the particular episode I watched begins with presenter, Lindsey Russell, seemingly knocking on the camera lense before saying “oi, stop what you’re doing”. It’s said in a friendly tone, as well as a fun choice of words which will force the audience to look up from whatever they are doing.
This episode focussed on their purple badge which viewers could receive if they sent in a review of the show. Clips of viewers that had sent in feedback, such as to feature more Olympians and Paralympians which had led to Jessica Ennis and Richard Whitehead being guests, were included which would encourage other viewers of a similar age to also contribute to the show. There is then another chance for audience members to get involved through their competition of designing an original mascot for sporting events in 2017, followed by a question and answer section with the athletes and videos sent in by the audience asking questions. There are so many opportunities for the viewers to get involved and I remember being younger, writing in and entering competitions (with no success I must point out) in a bid to receive a Blue Peter badge.
Throughout the episode, presenters are upbeat and have great energy in everything they say and do in order to excite the audience. There are also cheers within the studio, as well as guests such as The Vamps which producers know will appeal to their target audience of 6-12 year olds (Bbc.co.uk, n.d.). There is a well researched segment on a new stop motion animation film, ‘Kubo’, again encouraging viewers to send in their creations through featuring some that they have received.
In recent years however, Blue Peter has lost a lot of its viewers, now with just 100,000 tuning in to see the show (Murphy, 2013). This is as opposed to their once 8 million weekly viewership, during which period the programme was broadcast on BBC1. The lack of viewers can be blamed on the many different channel options that come with cable and subscription TV, however a BBC spokeswoman claims that they still receive over 2,000 letters and emails a week.
BBC – Television service licences – BBC Trust. Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 5 February 2017, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/our_work/services/television/service_licences.html
Marson, R. (2008). Blue Peter 50th anniversary (1st ed.). London: Hamlyn.
Murphy, S. (2013). The Blue Peter badge no-one wants. Mail Online. Retrieved 5 February 2017, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2342442/Heres-7-9million-viewers-lost-earlier-Blue-Peter-watched-child-BBC1-heyday–Now-just-100-000-tuning-switch-CBBC.html