Blue Peter Pets

The Blue Peter pets are the animals who regularly appear on the BBC children's television series Blue Peter. For 27 years, when not on TV, these pets were often looked after by Blue Peter's long-standing pet keeper Edith Menezes, who died in 1994. The first pet was a dog named Petra in 1962 and since then there have been several dogs, cats, tortoises, parrots and horses Joe And Simon. The current animals on the show are Barney the dog; cats named Socks and Cookie; Shelley the tortoise; Magic the trainee guide dog puppy; and the rarely seen Blue Peter Riding for the Disabled horse, Jet. Rags was another pony, named by viewers, who was purchased by the proceeds of a Christmas appeal in the late 1970s as a Riding for the Disabled horse. The Blue Peter parrot—Joey, and one successor, Barney—featured in the 1960s, but when Barney, a Blue-fronted Amazon, died, he was not replaced. In a 1986 documentary shown on BBC2 as part of the Did You See...? series, former presenter Peter Purves recalled that Biddy Baxter, the show's editor, had called him in floods of tears the day the first parrot Joey had died. He went on to muse in the same interview that had he himself died, Baxter would have been far less upset. The original idea behind featuring the programme's pets was to teach viewers lucky enough to own animals how to look after them, and for the creatures to act as surrogate pets for those that did not own any. For example, dog training items, tortoise hibernation, and cat care are often featured on the programme; however, the keeping of rabbits and mice was deemed not suitable as these often died. In addition, dogs that lived with the presenters often accompanied them on filming assignments.

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