Report by Susan Moger and Tudor Rickards
It was coincidence that we visited the BBC centre in Media City on the week that the announcement was made [May 15th 2012] that BBC children’ s programmes were to be moved to a digital channel.
Shaping National Culture
The role played by the BBC in shaping national culture should not be under-estimated. Within that culture, the Blue Peter programme has a particularly iconic status.
After more than 50 years as a children’s teatime fixture, Blue Peter will set sail from its flagship BBC1 home to a digital channel that the BBC made earlier.
The magazine programme, along with children’s favourites including Newsround and In the Night Garden, will be banished from terrestrial channels as part of a shake-up to cut costs after the completion of the switchover from analogue broadcasts to digital.
Blue Peter, which first aired in 1958, and other programmes for pre-teens, will now be shown solely on the dedicated children’s channel CBBC. Biddy Baxter, the programme’s former editor, opposed the move, saying it would reduce the available audience.
But figures showed that more children aged six to 12 already watched Blue Peter on the digital channel, where the episodes now premiere, than on BBC1, where it is shown on Fridays.
Sailing into the digital future
Media City Salford is a vision for a creative hotspot becoming reality. If successful, it will attract even more creative talent, and produce a 21st century environment for innovation and economic growth. Even not-so-young programmes like Blue Peter are moving with the times.