"It's the longest running children's show in the world which is incredible and I think most people have been touched by the programme in some way."
Stephen Griffiths, Course Leader for Film, Television and Radio Studies
A free exhibition celebrating the 60th anniversary of children's programme Blue Peter is on show at Staffordshire University.
Memorabilia charting the television show's journey over the past six decades is currently on display in the Thompson Library and is open to the public for the next two weeks.
The exhibition is curated by Stephen Griffiths, Course Leader for Film, Television and Radio Studies, and showcases items from his personal collection.
He said: “It's the longest running children's show in the world which is incredible and I think most people have been touched by the programme in some way.
“The interesting thing about Blue Peter is that it has very much stayed the same programme over all these years. Technologically it has changed hugely but in terms of the content, being a magazine programme aimed at teaching children about everything that’s good, has stayed the same.”
The exhibition features original scripts and postcards, props from the set including the infamous Blue Peter ship and, of course, a Blue Peter badge.
Stephen is co-chair of LGBT Staff Network at Staffordshire University and the collection also highlights some of Blue Peter's LGBT history.
On show are original agency cards used by presenter Michael Sundin to get his job on the programme. Sundin, who worked on the programme during the 1980s, was sacked for being gay and later died from AIDS aged 28.
“It's quite sad a story but apparently he was very proud of the show even after being sacked so publicly. It was mainly due to parents campaigning because they were worried it would be a bad influence on children.
“Although Michael was only on the show for a short time he captured some iconic interviews. He managed to get an exclusive interview with Elton John at a time when he had withdrawn from the public eye because they got on well.”
The exhibition will be followed by a visit to Staffordshire University by Blue Peter's current series editor Ewan Vinnicombe, who is giving a talk to BA (Hons) Film, Television and Radio students next month.
“A number of our students do go on to work in children's television. If you can communicate with children then you can communicate with anyone.” commented Stephen.
“It is a very specialised area which is why I was keen to bring in the current editor. Blue Peter is the most successful children’s show of all time and there’s a lot we can learn from it."
The Blue Peter exhibition is on display until Monday 5 November in the reception of the Thompson Library, Staffordshire University, College Rd, ST2 4DE. For more information contact Stephen Griffiths on firstname.lastname@example.org
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