Saturday, 23 May 2015


"Everyone has a special memory of BLUE PETER.
What's yours?" is the question asked on the back of the book
celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the BBC programme
for children.  My special memory is of BLEEP & BOOSTER,
but it's clearly not one shared by the BBC itself  - if the next-
to-nothing coverage the duo received  in the book's pages
in 2008 is anything to go by.

RICHARD MARSON, editor of the programme for
four years (and previously a producer), wrote the book, but
apart from a brief mention ('Artist WILLIAM TYMIN drew
the BENGO and Bleep and Booster stories...' emphasis
mine), there was no other evidence of their existence - no
pics, no description, not even an entry in the index.

The author later explained to me that there simply wasn't
enough room in the book to include everything, but to children
of the '60s, Bleep & Booster were Blue Peter.  That's the main
reason why me and my bruv watched it.  The atmospheric black
and white illustrations, with zoom-ins (and outs) on the static art
(as opposed to animation), the weird music, the well-spoken nar-
rator - all these things added up to a memorable experience
for less demanding and unspoilt kids of the time.

So, in an attempt to redress the balance, here's a story
from the Bleep & Booster Annual for 1968, in an attempt
to recapture the atmosphere from the space-spanning duo's
adventures from an earlier and more innocent era.

50th Anniversary book, published in 2008

And, finally, here's a short clip - just to give you an even
better taste of it.  Wonderful stuff.  PETER HAWKINS
provides the voices and narration.


Colin Jones said...

I'd never heard of Bleep & Booster before today (I was born in 1966) - my memories of Blue Peter are such things as Shep and the advent crown. But in January 2000 I heard that the Blue Peter team were going to unearth the time capsule buried in the '70s so I watched that episode - oh dear, water had got into the time capsule and everything was black and rotten due to water damage, what a letdown !

Kid said...

Surprisingly, I think B&B were on the programme until 1977 - unless I've misunderstood a reference to the Blue Peter books. I never saw the programme with the time capsule, but I may have seen a clip. There was a B&B video with two episodes released years ago (which I've got), but there's nothing on DVD yet.

Colin Jones said...

1977, Kid ? I was watching Blue Peter long before that and I have no memory of Bleep & Booster - if they were on the show till '77 then they clearly made no impact on me. I remember watching an episode of 'Magpie' circa 1975 and they had a spoof Blue Peter badge which showed a blue-faced man with a noose around his neck - obviously he was "Peter" and the noose was making his face blue - this was meant to be funny but I thought it was a bit shocking to be honest !

Kid said...

According to Wikipedia (which, as we all know, is never wrong - cough), B&B appeared in 313 five minute episodes between 1963 and '77. I'm not even sure that I remember seeing them in the '70s, to be honest, but I guess I must have, whenever I caught the show.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, I'm amazed by that - I watched that YouTube clip but I have no memory at all of Bleep & Booster even though I was watching Blue Peter from about 1970 onwards. My memory has failed me :(

Kid said...

Of course, it could be that you did what I did, CJ. Watch parts of the show, but turned over to Magpie or something else for a few minutes at a time. In the days before remote controls with programme info buttons, kids were always switching channels to see what they might be missing.

Ken said...

Bleep and Booster certainly benefitted from having the BBC Radiophonic Workshop providing such a wonderful soundtrack. I think they were on BP in the 70s
as I seem to remember seeing them in colour once.


Kid said...

One of the two adventures on my B&B video is in colour, Ken, so it must be the case.

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