How Blue Peter was loved by millions… as show is set to move online

How Blue Peter was loved by millions… as show is set to move online

May 27, 2022

Bon voyage Blue Peter: From a marauding elephant, to garden vandals and a star sacked for cocaine… how classic BBC children’s programme is to depart TV screens after 64 years as it sets sail for online

  • The show began in October 1958 and is the longest-running children’s television programme in the world
  • Show’s first presenters were Christopher Trace and Leila Williams, they were the first of 40 on-screen stars 
  • The pets have been almost as famous, with ten dogs, five tortoises, nine cats and two parrots featuring 
  • In 1969, Lulu the baby elephant urinated on the floor and then dragged her keeper around the studio 
  • Vandals destroyed the iconic Blue Peter garden in 1983, prompting children to help restore it 
  • In 1998 the then up-and-coming Richard Bacon was sacked after he admitted snorting cocaine in a nightclub 

For anyone aged 60 and under, the name Blue Peter brings back fond memories of daily after-school sessions in front of the television. 

Whether it be the pang of envy when a child was seen being given one of the show’s famous badges, or the desire to go ahead and make whatever masterpiece had been crafted out of loo-roll tubes and sticky-black plastic, the recollections come thick and fast. 

But now, Blue Peter – the longest-running children’s TV show in the world – is set to disappear from living rooms everywhere and move to online-only as the BBC scraps CBBC, its home since 2012.

The corporation is also going to move BBC Four online, put Radio 4 Extra onto BBC Sounds only and cut 1,000 jobs as part of major cash-saving plans.

The move marks the sad demise of a show that has fostered creativity among generations of children, a programme which at its peak had eight million viewers but has sadly dramatically plummeted in viewers’ affections in recent years. 

Beginning in 1958 with original presenters Christopher Trace and Leila Williams, the programme has gone on to foster 38 other on-screen stars, including John Noakes, Peter Purves, Anthea Turner, Konnie Huq and Matt Baker. 

And the pets have been almost as famous, with ten dogs, five tortoises, nine cats and two parrots featuring down the decades.   

Whilst every viewer past and present will have their own favourite moment, several stand out in the national consciousness.  

They include the infamous scenes of Lulu the elephant marauding in the studio during a 1969 episode, with the farce culminating in her deciding to urinate and defecate on the floor. 

But there are also sagas that those involved with the show would rather not remember, including when vandals destroyed the iconic Blue Peter garden in 1983 and the BBC had to apologise in 2007 when it emerged a poll to name the show’s new cat was rigged.  

Presenters too have sparked controversy, most famously when in 1998 the then up-and-coming Richard Bacon – now a well-known radio and TV star – was sacked after he admitted snorting cocaine in a nightclub. 

For anyone aged 60 and under, the name Blue Peter brings back fond memories of daily after-school sessions in front of the television. Above: Presenter Konnie Huq in 1997 with the show’s dogs at the time, golden retriever Bonnie (left) and Border Collie Mabel

Vandals destroyed the iconic Blue Peter garden in 1983. Above: The aftermath of the wrecked green space is seen being surveyed by the then presenter Simon Groom

Lulu the elephant marauding in the studio during a 1969 episode, with the farce culminating in her deciding to urinate and defecate on the floor


Presenters too have sparked controversy, most famously when in 1998 the then up-and-coming Richard Bacon – now a well-known radio and TV star – was sacked after he admitted snorting cocaine in a nightclub. Above: The Daily Mail’s report of Bacon’s sacking; the presenter in a promotional photo

Blue Peter began at 5PM on Thursday October 16, 1958, with the first episode a being a brief 15 minutes long.

It was the brainchild of producer Biddy Baxter, who went on to become the show’s editor in 1965. 

She created the famous Blue Peter Badge, which was awarded to children and adult in recognition of an achievement or for appearing on the show. 

At the time, it 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. 

Noakes was the the longest-serving member of the team, clocking up just over 12 years on the show between 1965 and 1978.

He was part of the line-up when Lulu the baby elephant made her famous appearance. At the time, his co-presenters were Purves and Singleton. 

The elephant was brought into the studio from Chessington Zoo with her keeper ahead of the presenters’ trip to what was then Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). 

Blue Peter began at 5PM on Thursday October 16, 1958, with the first episode a being a brief 15 minutes long. The original presenters were Christopher Trace and Leila Williams

Leila Williams is pictured with a child’s doll in 1958 during the first episode of Blue Peter. The show was the brainchild of producer Biddy Baxter, who went on to become the show’s editor in 1965

Peter Purves (let), Valerie Singleton and John Noakes (right) are the most famous presenting trio on Blue Peter. They are pictured above with Jason the cat, Petra and Patch the dogs and Barney the parrot in 1969

Former Blue Peter presenters Romana D’Annunzio, Tim Vincent (top), Katy Hill (bottom) and Stuart Miler are seen above in 1996

Tim Vincent (left) with Stuart Miles, Katy Hill and Diane-Louise Jordan are seen above in 1995. Vincent presented the show for four years, with Miles and Hill staying for five appearing over the course of six years 

The segment quickly descended into farce when Lulu was given water, which prompted her to urinate. She then immediately defecated and refused to leave, dragging her keeper across the studio. 

She then stood on Noakes’s foot, prompting the presenter to stand in the pile of dung she had left on the floor. 

As the presenters tried to continue speaking, Lulu then continued dragging her keeper across the floor, causing him to fall over. 

Speaking about the hilarious moment in 2014, Baxter said: ‘Lulu was a baby elephant of enormous strength and Smithy, her keeper, was a tiny, rotund gentleman.

‘He came with this horrendous stick with a sharp metal spike like a spear and I said, ‘I am terribly sorry, Mr. Smith, but you can’t have that, you will have to put it away.’

She added: ‘It all went pear-shaped because they gave her water. First of all, she urinated, which melted the floor paint and made it like an ice rink, and on top of that she defecated, and Smithy was so upset.’

Another famous moment came in 1977, when Noakes scaled Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square in an effort to clean pigeon mess from it. 

Stunning images showed him peering from the top of a ladder balanced against the back of the statue of Lord Nelson. 

Another famous moment came in 1977, when Noakes scaled Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square in an effort to clean pigeon mess from it

Blue Peter presenter John Noakes with his dog Skip taking part in a sponsored Dog Jog in Regent’s Park, London in 1980

Valerie Singleton and Christopher Trace rehearsing for an episode of Blue Peter with six labrador puppies at the Lime Grove studios in Shepherd’s Bush, London

Presenters Matt Baker, Simon Thomas, (front left to right) Konnie Huq and Liz Barker are seen in 2003. The presenters are pictured holding a revamped version of the famed badge

In 1989, hapless presenter Mark Curry accidentally decapitated a Lego figure of a man that had taken a month to build. On another occasion, he drove a miniature train on wheels into part of the set. 

When the Blue Peter garden was vandalised in 1983, fans of the show joined forces to restore it to its former glory. 

The vandals had trampled the grass and poured fuel in the fish pond at the open space at the BBC’s Television Centre in London. 

It was later suspected that footballers Les Ferdinand and Dennis Wise had been involved in the crime. It was reported that he ‘helped a few people over the wall’ but did not take part in the vandalism himself. 

However, in 2018 he insisted that he had been making a joke when he made the comments. 

‘It was the worst joke I had ever made in my life, but I can assure you myself and Dennis Wise had nothing to do with the BBC garden,’ he said. 

‘I have actually spoken to the people from the BBC and Blue Peter and they said: “We know you had nothing to do with it”.

‘They actually know who did it but it never came out.’

Blue Peter is also famous for its ‘makes’ – demonstrations of how to make something useful or prepare food. The segment is known for the catch-phrase of ‘here’s one I made earlier’. 

What is the most famous make of all was Blue Peter’s take on Thunderbird’s Tracy Island. The BBC issued a factsheet for viewers so they too could construct the model at home.  

Controversy came in 2007 when it emerged that an online poll to name the show’s new cat had been rigged. 

New kitten Socks was named after the results of the poll were changed, with viewers originally wanting to call the animal Cookie. The BBC apologised. 

Controversy came in 2007 when it emerged that an online poll to name the show’s new cat had been rigged. New kitten Socks was named after the results of the poll were changed, with viewers originally wanting to call the animal Cookie. The BBC apologised

A year earlier, the BBC was also fined £50,000 by regulator Ofcom when a child visiting the studio was asked to pose as a phone-in competition winner after a technical glitch meant the show could not receive calls. 

But what was the show’s biggest controversy came in 1998, when Bacon was fired from his dream job after admitting he took cocaine in a London nightclub.

At the time the BBC issued a statement from Lorraine Heggessey, head of children’s programmes, which said: ‘It is sad that such a talented presenter as Richard Bacon has not only let himself and his colleagues down but, most important of all, he has let down the millions of children who watch Blue Peter.’

A producer told Bacon him he would never work in television again.

More than two decades on, Bacon’s career has seen him present multiple television programmes for the Corporation, as well as for Channel 4 and ITV.

Despite being hugely popular in its first few decades, the show’s viewing figures have continued to decline in recent years.

In 2011, the number of viewers had dipped to around 400,000. 

The following year, the show’s BBC One slot was taken from it as it moved onto CBBC only, meaning it lost viewers who would have seen it purely because it had been on the bigger channel.

In 1998, past and present Blue Peter presenters gathered together to mark the programme’s 40th anniversary. Top row, left to right: Peter Duncan, Christopher Wenner, Sarah Greene, John Leslie, Tim Vincent, Mark Curry, Tina Heath and Simon Groom. Middle row, left to right: Peter Purves, Leila Williams, Diane Louise Jordan, John Noakes and Valerie Singleton. Bottom row: Katy Hill, Stuart Miles, Konnie Huq and Richard Bacon

Matt Barker, Simon Thomas, (bottom left) Konnie Huq and the then new presenter of the programme Liz Barker in 2000

By 2013, the average audience was 100,000. Real embarrassment came in June 2017 when it emerged that no one had watched a repeat of a Blue Peter episode that year.

Announcing moves that included the decision to make CBBC online-only Director-General Tim Davie said yesterday that the BBC must reform to stay relevant and continue to provide great value for all’ and become ‘digital-first’.

As part of the shake-up, BBC World News and BBC News Channel will merge to create a single 24-hour TV news channel serving both UK and international audiences. 

CBBC will move online to iPlayer with BBC Four, while Radio 4 Extra could become available on the BBC Sounds service only.

Regional TV news programmes South Today in Oxford and Look East in Cambridge are also among the services being scrapped as part of the ‘blueprint to build a digital-first public service media organisation’.

The plans being proposed form changes to the BBC’s content and services which it says will save £500million in its first phase.

The corporation needs to save an additional £285million after the Culture Secretary announced the licence fee would be frozen for the next two years and scrapped by 2027.

As part of plans to become ‘digital first’ broadcaster, the BBC said it will cut up to 1,000 jobs from the public-funded part of the BBC over the next few years.

Blue Peter reunion! 11 presenters past and present unite to unveil a garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show – but how many TV stars do YOU recognise?

  • Blue Peter stars past and present united to unveil a garden at the Royal Chelsea Flower Show on Monday 
  • Sixties star Valerie Singleton, 85, rubbed shoulders with Anthea Turner and Diane-Louise Jordan
  • Current presenters Richie Driss and Mwaksy Mudenda were also present, as was favouirte Katy Hill 
  • Here, FEMAIL reveals the varied fortunes of the Blue Peter presenters following their reunion 

By Stephanie Linning for MailOnline 

Blue Peter stars past and present united at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show on Monday to unveil a garden designed in honour of the classic children’s programme. 

TV veteran Valerie Singleton, 85, who presented the show in the 1960s, rubbed shoulders with Katy Hill, 51, and current hosts Richie Driss and Mwaksy Mudenda at the star-studded event in south-west London.

The New Blue Peter Garden: Discover Soil, is designed by award-winner Juliet Saargeant, who runs the Sussex Garden School. She joined the 11 Blue Peter presenters for a snap celebrating their legacies. 

Some of the stars, like Anthea Turner and Songs Of Praise’s Diane-Louise Jordan, continue to grace our screens years after their tenure on the BBC show came to an end. Others like Tim Curry have faded from the spotlight. 

Here, FEMAIL charts the varied fortunes of the BBC One stars, from a presenter dogged by unfounded rumours over her sexuality to a TV host turned life coach…  

Blue Peter reunion! Presenters Valerie Singleton, Sarah Greene, Janet Ellis, Mark Curry, Diane Louise Jordan, Anthea Turner, Tim Vincent, Katy Hill, Lindsey Russell, Richie Driss and Mwaksy Mudenda turned out at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

1. Valerie Singleton

Presented Blue Peter from 3 September 1962 to 3 July 1972


Sixties star! Valerie Singleton, 85, was the sixth Blue Peter presenter to join the team, following in the footsteps of Christopher Trace, Leila Williams and Anita West. Her first episode aired September 3, 1962 and she remained in the position for almost 10 years. Pictured, Singleton on Blue Peter in 1972 (left) and at an event in 2018

 Household names: After leaving Blue Peter, Singleton enjoyed an illustrious career on Nationwide before leaving to present the BBC’s late-night news programme Tonight. Pictured, Singleton with co-hosts John Noakes and Peter Purves in the 1970s

Royal connections: During her time on Blue Peter, Singleton interviewed Princess Anne for a personal profile piece


Ageless: Valerie in the early 1990s, aged 55 (left) and with Gok Wan and Joey Essex on 2018 reality show Can I Improve My Memory

Valerie Singleton, 85, was the sixth Blue Peter presenter to join the team, following in the footsteps of Christopher Trace, Leila Williams and Anita West. Her first episode aired September 3, 1962 and she remained in the position for almost 10 years. 

After leaving Blue Peter, Singleton enjoyed an illustrious career on Nationwide before leaving to present the BBC’s late-night news programme Tonight. She also had a 10-year stint on Radio 4’s PM programme and eight years on BBC2’s The Money Programme. 

The presenter, who has never married, later presented a travel programme for ITV and Channel 4 quiz show Backdate. In 1994, she was awarded the OBE for her services to children’s television. 

However Singleton was long frustrated by an unfounded myth that she had a torrid three-year lesbian affair with Joan Armatrading. In 2018 the presenter publicly pleaded with the singer to speak out and denounce the persistent rumour.

‘She must’ve heard of it. Why doesn’t she stand up and say it’s absolute rubbish?’ Ms Singleton said. 

The rumours began 40 years ago after Ms Singleton interviewed Ms Armatrading for a current affairs show. Despite consistently denying any relationship – and even admitting in an interview with The Mail on Sunday in 2008 that she actually slept with a male member of Ms Armatrading’s band – rumours of the relationship continue.

In part to end the rumours, Ms Singleton has previously come clean about a string of affairs with men, including one with her Blue Peter co-presenter Peter Purvis. 

Ms Singleton was described by Anthea Turner as the ‘queen’ of Blue Peter. 

2. Sarah Greene

Presented Blue Peter from 19 May 1980 to 27 June 1983


Fresh-faced: Twenty-two-year-old Sarah Greene was the youngest ever presenter when she joined Blue Peter in 1980. She presented the show for three years. Pictured Sarah on the show (left) and on This Morning in 2017

Career launchpad: Sarah Greene with co-presenters Simon Groom and Peter Duncan on Blue Peter in the early 1980s

Next step: The ageless blonde beauty, 64, went on to present Saturday Superstore with Mike Read and Going Live! with Phillip Schofield. She also appeared in Casualty, Brookside and French & Saunders

Late husband: The star married BBC’s Breakfast Time host Mike Smith in 1989, a year after they were both injured when the helicopter he was piloting crashed in Gloucestershire. They remained married until his death following complications from a heart surgery in 2014. Pictured, the couple in 2008

Reality TV star: Greene (second from right) appeared on Dancing On Ice in 2008 alongside (left to right) Natalie Pinkham, Aggie Mackenzie, Linda Lusardi, Samantha Mumba and Suzanne Shaw

Twenty-two-year-old Sarah Greene was the youngest ever presenter when she joined Blue Peter in 1980. She presented the show for three years.

The ageless blonde beauty, 64, went on to present Saturday Superstore with Mike Read and Going Live! with Phillip Schofield. She also appeared in Casualty, Brookside and French & Saunders.

The star married BBC’s Breakfast Time host Mike Smith in 1989, a year after they were both injured when the helicopter he was piloting crashed in Gloucestershire. Greene broke both of her legs and an arm in the crash, while Smith suffered a broken back and ankle.

They remained married until his death following complications from a heart surgery in 2014.  

In February she revealed she is now dating Mike’s friend, ex-British touring car champion Robb Gravett, 65, with Sarah saying her late husband is responsible for the romance. 

‘I sort of know Mike is pulling so many strings in my life,’ she said on a podcast. ‘He has undoubtedly been responsible for me meeting my beloved who was one of his oldest friends, who waited a certain amount of time but did keep leaving messages on the answering machine. I thought he was just being kind. 

‘Then I got a message almost saying “for God’s sake, Greeno, Robb is trying to make contact with you because he actually wants to take you out, not because he’s kind. So will you just get off your a**e and go and answer the phone next time it rings!”‘ 

Greene, now 64, competed in Dancing on Ice in 2008 and regularly appeared on ITV’s This Morning. 

3. Janet Ellis

Presented Blue Peter from 1983 to 1987 


Ready for TV: Trained actress Janet Ellis, 66, was scouted by Blue Peter execs while hosting children’s puzzle programme jigsaw, joining the team in 1983. Pictured, on Blue Peter in 1983 (left) and at a charity event in October 2021

Arts and crafts! Janet left Blue Peter in 1987, while pregnant with her son Jackson. The following year she married her second husband, John Leach. The pair welcomed daughter Martha in 1990. Pictured, on the programme


Heartbreak: In 2017, Janet was dealt a devastating blow when she discovered her husband John Leach (right in 2006) had incurable lung cancer. He died in 2020. Speaking in December, Janet said she found life without her husband ‘exhausting’

Popstar daughter! Janet said she is proud of her daughter Sophie, pictured in 2016, whose fame has eclipsed her own

Trained actress Janet Ellis, 66, was scouted by Blue Peter execs while hosting children’s puzzle programme jigsaw, joining the team in 1983. 

During her four-year stint, she co-presented with Simon Groom, Sarah Greene, Peter Duncan, Michael Sundin, Mark Curry and Caron Keating. 

At the time she had already welcomed Sophie Ellis-Bextor – now a popstar and radio presenter – with her first husband Robin Bextor. 

Janet left Blue Peter in 1987, while pregnant with her son Jackson. The following year she married her second husband, John Leach. The pair welcomed daughter Martha in 1990. 

The presenter scaled back her work in order to focus on raising her family, although she continued to present for the BBC, work as a voiceover artist and wrote a book titled How to Get Married Without Divorcing Your Family. 

The mother-of-three became a more regular fixture on TV in the 2000s, appearing on The Wright Stuff and Housebusters on Channel 5. Janet said she is proud of her daughter Sophie, whose fame has eclipsed her own. 

‘It’s a nice thing. Sophie is a household name, but she deals with it brilliantly. She just lives her life, gets on the Tube. It doesn’t define her,’ she said. 

The pair have appeared in a string of TV specials including Antiques Road Trip and The Million Pound Drop Live.

In 2017, Janet was dealt a devastating blow when she discovered her husband had incurable lung cancer. He died in 2020. 

Speaking in December last year, Janet said she found life without her husband of 35 years ‘exhausting’. 

4. Mark Curry

Presented Blue Peter from 1986 to 1989 


Out of the spotlight: Mark Curry, 60, worked on a number of BBC children’s TV series before being spotted by a producer and asked to join the Blue Peter team in 1986 (left). He has remained largely out of the spotlight in recent years (right in 2016)

Natural talent: Mark Curry, Yvette Fielding with the late Caron Keating on Blue Peter in 1999. After leaving Blue Peter, Mark landed a string of acting roles including in long-running West End play Woman In Black

Wedding day: In 2008, Curry married chartered surveyor Jeremy Sandle, pictured together. The star, who was not openly gay during his time in children’s TV for fear it would ruin his career, called the ceremony his ‘coming out’ party

Mark Curry, 60, worked on a number of BBC children’s TV series before being spotted by a producer and asked to join the Blue Peter team in 1986. He was such a trusted on-screen talent that he did not need to audition for the job.

During his three years on the show, Mark was known for being accident-prone and developed a special interest in history features. He spent three weeks in Malawi, travelled across the Soviet Union and raised money for charity.  

After leaving Blue Peter, Mark landed a string of acting roles including in long-running West End play Woman In Black. He also starred in a stage musical version of Singin’ in the Rain, while continuing to appear on film and television.

A keen tennis player and qualified coach, Mark has commentated at Wimbledon for BBC Radio 5, Radio Wimbledon and for Talk Radio Europe. 

In 2014, Curry received a diploma in life coaching and has largely remained out of the spotlight in recent years. His most recent appearance was in the 2016 production of Wicked on the West End.  

In 2008, Curry married chartered surveyor Jeremy Sandle. The star, who was not openly gay during his time in children’s TV for fear it would ruin his career, called the ceremony his ‘coming out’ party.

Mark said at the time: ‘I’ve known that I was gay since my late teens, but I was advised early in the Eighties, by a seasoned ex-presenter, that it was best to keep quiet.

‘I never told a lie, or took girls out to parties to throw people off. I was always true to myself and people who mattered knew. Still, there was always a worry I might lose my job if the public found out. But thankfully, times have changed and today no one is penalised for being who they are.’

5. Diane-Louise Jordan

Presented Blue Peter from 25 January 1990 to 26 February 1996 


Trailblazer: Diane-Louise Jordan, 61, turned down a Coronation Street contract to join Blue Peter, becoming the show’s first black presenter in 1990. Pictured, Diane-Louise on the show and on Celebrity Pointless in April 2021

Devout: In the decades since Diane, a devout Christian, has become a regular on Songs Of Praise. She interviewed Prince Charles for a BBC Radio 2’s The Sunday Hour

Diane-Louise Jordan, 61, turned down a Coronation Street contract to join Blue Peter, becoming the show’s first black presenter in 1990.

Charity work: Diane is vice-president of Action for Children, sits on the Council of the Prince’s Trust and is a trustee for BBC Children In Need

The presenter spent six years on the show, presenting alongside Yvette Fielding, John Leslie, Anthea Turner, Tim Vincent, Stuart Miles and Katy Hill.

In the decades since Diane, a devout Christian, has become a regular on Songs Of Praise. She is also vice-president of Action for Children, sits on the Council of the Prince’s Trust and is a trustee for BBC Children In Need. 

Diane also sat on the Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Committee, alongside former royal butler Paul Burrell. 

The presenter and motivational speaker was a single parent to daughter Justine, who she adopted in the wake of her sister’s tragic death in 1988. 

Justine is the inspiration behind Diane’s book entitled How to Succeed as a Single Parent, published in 2003.

Diane, who married violinist Giles Broadbent in 2007, was devastated when she was accused of attacking her former son-in-law’s new partner. 

The accuser, Kayla Thomas was handed an 18-month suspended sentence at Cambridge Crown Court in April 2017 after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice – after falsely claiming that the church-going grandmother had attacked her not just verbally, but physically.

‘It’s been like living in a nightmare, watching my reputation being ruined,’ she said of the ordeal at the time. ‘I’ve always been an optimist, whose cup isn’t just half-full, it’s overflowing, but for the first time I now know how people can feel depressed and hopeless. It felt like an insidious poison that overwhelmed me.’ 

6. Anthea Turner

Presented Blue Peter from 1992 to 1994 


TV star: Anthea Turner, 61, was already an established TV presence when she joined Blue Peter in 1992 (left), the role that catapulted her into a household name. Anthea remains an in-demand TV presenter. Right, at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Morning TV stars: Anthea Turner left Blue Peter to join Eammon Holmes on This Morning, pictured


Twice married: Anthea divorced her first husband, DJ Peter Powell (left), after eight years in marriage in 1998, but soon found love again with film producer and property developer Grant Bovey, a family friend (right together in 2012)

Wedding bells! Anthea is now set to marry socialite fiancé Mark Armstrong after he proposed in 2019. Their wedding plans were delayed due to Covid. Pictured, the couple walk the red carpet in March 2022

Anthea Turner, 61, was already an established TV presence when she joined Blue Peter in 1992, the role that catapulted her into a household name. She became a viewer favourite on the show before being snapped up to host GMTV two years later. 

Turner went on to host the National Lottery draw on BBC One before joining ITV and the travel show Wish You Were Here…?, becoming the second-highest-paid female television presenter in the UK, after Cilla Black.

Most recently she hosted the Health Lottery draw on Channel 5 and has appeared in Dancing On Ice, and celebrity specials of First Dates and Antiques Road Trip. 

She divorced her first husband, DJ Peter Powell, after eight years in marriage in 1998, but soon found love again with film producer and property developer Grant Bovey, a family friend. It was rumoured that the pair had had an affair. 

Miss Turner married Bovey in August 2000, with the nuptials doubling as a PR stunt for a magazine deal – the pair were pictured eating a Cadbury’s chocolate bar. 

They split from her husband in 2012 following allegations that Bovey had been unfaithful, before finalising their divorce in 2015.

However the former GMTV presenter has remained close with Bovey’s daughters, even going shopping with her stepdaughter Amelia Bovey in January.

Anthea is now set to marry socialite fiancé Mark Armstrong after he proposed in 2019. Their wedding plans were delayed due to Covid.

7. Tim Vincent

Presented Blue Peter from 16 December 1993 to 24 January 1997 


Blue Peter heartthrob! Tim Vincent, who presented the show from 1994-97, is now a father of two. In 2020, Tim went viral with comments on how he struggled following the birth of his twin sons in 2018

American TV career: Vincent moved to the US to act as a correspondent for NBC’s Access Hollywood, a popular entertainment show, as well as the presenter of the Miss World (pictured in 2006) and Miss USA competitions

Tim Vincent, 49, kept up his acting career during his four-year stint as a Blue Peter presenter, appearing in two series of BBC One drama Dangerfield before leaving the children’s programme in 1997 to focus on other commitments.

He presented The Clothes Show, Short Change and Fully Booked. In 2000 he returned to acting and appeared in Emmerdale and feature film Sorted.

Vincent moved to the US to act as a correspondent for NBC’s Access Hollywood, a popular entertainment show, as well as the presenter of the Miss World and Miss USA competitions. 

The father-of-two now lives in the UK. He most recently appeared in Dancing On Ice in 2008. 

In 2020, Tim went viral with comments on how he struggled following the birth of his twin sons in 2018.

‘That first 6-12 months you can feel a little bit separated from the events,’ he explained. ‘Somebody said to me, which I’m not sure is absolutely true, but for a man it takes a bit longer to bond with children because the child doesn’t have any recognition of you. 

‘The mum has 90 percent of the time carried the baby once it’s arrived, so it takes us a little bit of time to bond on the same level.’ 

8. Katy Hill

Presented Blue Peter from 23 June 1995 to 19 June 2000 


Squeaky clean image: Katy Hill realised her childhood dream of presenting Blue Peter in 1995. During her time on the show, the vicar’s daughter married her childhood sweetheart Andrew Frampton and proudly boasted that she was a virgin on her wedding day. Pictured right, Katy at an event in May 2022

Live and Kicking! Katy (far right) left after five years to join the team on Live and Kicking and went on to present Top of the Pops, Football Fever and the Millennium Quiz Show. But two years after marrying she divorced her husband and shortly after began dating her Live and Kicking co-star Trey Farley (second from right). The pair married in 2004

New lease of life: Hill, 51, is now a personal development and empowering coach who offers one-to-one sessions with clients. She said she is ‘passionate about equipping and empowering her clients to design and live their own LIMITLESS lives and thrives on partnering with individuals and teams to improve self awareness, confidence and performance’

Katy Hill realised her childhood dream of presenting Blue Peter in 1995. 

During her time on the show, the vicar’s daughter married her childhood sweetheart Andrew Frampton and proudly boasted that she was a virgin on her wedding day.  

She left after five years to join the team on Live and Kicking and went on to present Top of the Pops, Football Fever and the Millennium Quiz Show. 

But two years after marrying she divorced her husband and shortly after began dating her Live and Kicking co-star Trey Farley. 

The pair married in 2004 and have a daughter called Kaya and a son Akira.  

Hill, 51, is now a personal development and empowering coach who offers one-to-one sessions with clients. 

She said she is ‘passionate about equipping and empowering her clients to design and live their own LIMITLESS lives and thrives on partnering with individuals and teams to improve self awareness, confidence and performance’. 

9. Lindsey Russell

Presented Blue Peter from 2013 to 2021 


Competition winner: University of Bristol graduate Lindsey Russell landed ‘the best job in the world’ in 2013 after winning a BBC competition to become a presenter

Duchess in the garden! During her stint on the show she hosted a segment with the Duchess of Cambridge to celebrate her Royal Chelsea Flower Show garden

On air: Russell, who has lent her voice to animated projects Kung Fu Panda 3 and Danger Mouse, now presents a show on Heart Radio on Saturdays and Sundays from 1am – 6am

University of Bristol graduate Lindsey Russell landed ‘the best job in the world’ in 2013 after winning a BBC competition to become a presenter.

Lindsey was unveiled as the 36th host of the show after triumphing in a viewer vote from a shortlist made up of three candidates.

More than 20,000 people originally applied for the coveted role after the search kicked off on CBBC show Blue Peter – You Decide, a series that effectively gave the general public power over who should take the empty spot in the Blue Peter studio.

Ten promising hopefuls were eventually grilled by a panel that included TV presenters Eamonn Holmes and Myleene Klass, with Russell’s victory announced in front of a live studio audience in Leeds.

Russell helmed the show for eight years until 2021. During her stint on the show she hosted a segment with the Duchess of Cambridge to celebrate her Royal Chelsea Flower Show garden.

Russell, who has lent her voice to animated projects Kung Fu Panda 3 and Danger Mouse, now presents a show on Heart Radio on Saturdays and Sundays from 1am – 6am. 

10. Richie Driss

Currently presents Blue Peter, started in 2019 


New star: Current Blue Peter presenter Richie Driss joined the show in May 2019. The film producer replaced Radzi Chinyanganya, who announced his departure from the long-running CBBC children’s show after five-and-a-half years

Current Blue Peter presenter Richie Driss joined the show in May 2019. 

The film producer replaced Radzi Chinyanganya, who announced his departure from the long-running CBBC children’s show after five-and-a-half years. 

Driss worked as a presenter and producer for Joe Media, where he fronted weekly broadcasts interviewing stars.

Prior to that, Driss, from St Albans, studied film and television at University of Wales, Aberystwyth, before working in local radio and launching his own series on urban music website GRM Daily.

On one occasion Danny DeVito fed him a boiled egg – a feat Driss is particularly proud of, as he boasts of it in his Twitter bio.

He also played ‘guess the Disney character’ with comedian Jack Whitehall, and spent a day getting ‘put through his paces’ with the England Rugby League team.

11. Mwaksy Mudenda 

Currently presents Blue Peter, started in May 2020 

Lockdown talent: Mwaksy Mudenda made her debut as the 39th host of Blue Peter in a May 2020 episode broadcast from home during lockdown. The new recruit loved Blue Peter as a child and always wanted a badge

Mwaksy Mudenda made her debut as the 39th host of Blue Peter in a May 2020 episode broadcast from home during lockdown. 

The new recruit, who loved Blue Peter as a child and always wanted a badge, said at the time: ‘There is only one word to describe being the new Blue Peter presenter and that is mind-blowing! 

‘Despite lockdown, I’ve felt so welcomed by the incredible behind-the-scenes team that help run and deliver such a wonderful show – and I already feel like a big part of the Blue Peter family.’

Originally from South London, Mwaksy moved to Manchester to study anthropology.

She later landed a job as assistant producer at the BBC, working behind-the-scenes for the sports department at MediaCityUK, where her ‘talent was spotted’.

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