The Queen celebrated the 50th anniversary of Blue Peter by throwing a party for past and present presenters and crew of the popular BBC children’s programme.

Former hosts from the long-running series gathered at Buckingham Palace to have tea with the Queen and reminisce about the adventures they had entertaining the nation’s youngsters over five decades.

The Monarch, who wore her gold Blue Peter badge in honour of the occasion, also presented four special children with gold badges for their efforts overcoming adversity.

Peter Purves, 69, who co-hosted the show from 1967 to 1978, described what he enjoyed about his time on Blue Peter.

Talking about the series with former presenters John Noakes and Valerie Singleton, he said: “We got to play with big boys toys. If you wanted to drive a train you drove a train. If you wanted to fly a plane you flew a plane – or you could swim with dolphins or killer whales. Between us we’ve done just about everything possible to have fun doing.”

Blue Peter was the brainchild of its first producer John Hunter Blair and began on October 16 1958 as a seven-week experiment, slotted in between Watch With Mother and the magazine show Studio E.

Its first hosts were Christopher Trace and Leila Williams and was broadcast live from Lime Grove studios in Shepherd’s Bush, west London every Thursday for 15 minutes.