CBBC favourites Dick and Dom host Blue Peter: You Decide (CBBC, Monday) the hunt for a new presenter for the long-running kids’ show. We chat to them before the competition kicks off…
Why were you keen to get involved in the show?
Dick: “Well, we both had a dream when we were 12 to become children’s TV presenters, like these kids have a dream to be the next Blue Peter presenter. So we know exactly how they’ll be feeling.”
Dom: “We also know what it’s like to go for auditions and be rejected so, as the hopefuls are eliminated from the process, we can provide a sympathetic shoulder to cry on.”
What will the 10 hopefuls have to do to impress?
Dick: “These hopefuls will be challenged on anything current hosts Helen and Barney would do – and they recently went wing-walking on top of a plane. A Blue Peter host has got to be brave and up for anything!”
Dom: “They could even be interviewing kids or doing one of Blue Peter’s famous ‘makes’. It’s basically anything that will be expected of them if and when they get the job.”
But first they to have get past the judges – Eamonn Holmes, Myleene Klass and Ceallach Spellman. What do they each bring to the panel?
Dom: “Well, Ceallach knows exactly what the audience wants because he’s currently on Friday Download, one of CBBC’s highest-rating shows. Then we have Eamonn, who’s been in the business since he was 17 years old, so he knows all there is to know about broadcasting. Then we have Myleene, who’s been both a presenter and part of a pop band, who’s been interviewed, so she can see things from both sides.”
The judges whittle the hopefuls down to a final three. But why is it important that viewers, ultimately, get to choose the overall winner?
Dick: “Because this is the person they will be watching on Blue Peter for years to come, so it couldn’t be better that viewers themselves get to pick the winner.”
What’s the one thing that all presenters across the decades have had in common?
Dick: “A Blue Peter badge! That and the fact they’re always very likeable, they relate to the audience perfectly.”
Dom: “Also, a Blue Peter presenter has got to be able to drip-feed information to the audience but purely through entertainment. That way the kids have fun but, without realising, they’re learning all the time.”
Who were your favourite Blue Peter hosts when you were kids?
Dick: “I learned a lot from Mark Curry. Being a good presenter is about how you handle things when they go wrong – and things went wrong for Mark a lot. I remember once when he crashed a toy tractor into the set. He’s just laughed – he was a natural.”
Dom: “Peter Duncan was my favourite. He would do absolutely anything, there was no stopping him!”
Do you remember any of the challenges or ‘makes’? We remember Anthea Turner making Tracy Island from Thunderbirds in 1993…
Dick: “I did try making the Tracy Island out of papier mache, but it all fell to bits and didn’t work. I gave it a go though.”
Dom: “For me it was an Action Man barbeque!”
Why do you think Blue Peter has remained popular for so long?
Dom: “Well, it ticks all the boxes in that it educates, informs and entertains. It really has got everything in one half-hour show.”
Dick: “The more years it’s gone on, the more iconic it’s become. No one could imagine television without it on air. It’s part of our heritage.”
What will the prize mean for whoever’s chosen?
Dom: “Whoever wins will not only land one of TV’s top jobs now but it could also be the start of something big career-wise for them. It’s life-changing!”
Finally, do either of you have a Blue Peter badge?
Dick: “Yes, we have shiny silver ones. That’s because we’ve been with CBBC ourselves now for 17 years and have been on Blue Peter for various reasons. We’ve only got gold to go now.”
Oh, how do you get one of those?
Dick: “Save a life – or be The Queen. I don’t think we’re going to do either of those things… but you never know.”