The ‘Blue Peter’ Animals That Stole Our Hearts

Blue Peter was the show that everyone loved as a kid growing up in the UK. From the badges to the fun activities to the pets — there was something for every child. Chances are if you grew up in the UK, you were totally besotted by some of the pets that graced the Blue Peter studio. But (if you’re anything like us!) as you grew up you forgot they existed and got on with your adult lives. So, we’re here to remember the best Blue Peter animals that stole our hearts as the nation’s favourite pets. Which of these did you like best?

Petra The Dog

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George Stroud/Express/Getty Images

No animal in TV history has ever been loved quite like Petra was. She stole the nation’s heart when she appeared as the show’s first ever pet from 1962-1977. Chris was the first Blue Peter presenter and he brought her onto the show as a Christmas present in 1962. Petra was a hit, and lasted on the show for 15 years – a pretty good career length as far as TV presenting goes!

She was the pet you never had, and if you were lucky enough to meet her in real life you’d understand how special she really was. All around, she was a TV superstar and great Blue Peter pet. Here are Chris and Petra together.

Next: Petra had puppies!

Petra’s Pup Patch

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Maurice Tibbles/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Patch, like his mother, was a beautiful border collie mongrel who became the second Blue Peter pet and was instantly loved by the nation. For many, the 60s was a time of residential development in the UK, meaning that many children grew up in flats that wouldn’t allow dogs. For that reason, Petra and Patch became every child’s pet and was loved by so many.

Patch came into the world and onto our screens in 1965, to the excitement of many. He was loved dearly until his rather early death in 1971. Patch is shown here on the left, next to his mother Petra.

The next pet messed up the Blue Peter Christmas special!

Jason The Siamese Cat

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Blue Peter/BBC

Siamese cats aren’t renowned for their friendly nature, so many were shocked when Jason appeared as a Blue Peter Pet in 1976. He became a much-loved member of the team and even starred in the Blue Peter Christmas Production as the Cheshire Cat.

This all-around talent was a feline friend to any kid growing up in the late 70s, and as one of the show’s earlier pets, his memory lived on for years to come. Jason’s 1975 blunder in the Christmas Musical made him a household name when he dashed off stage pointing out he was a Siamese, not Cheshire.

George The Tortoise

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YouTube/DundeeMink

George became pretty famous in the 80s, due to a burglary of the studio that meant his cage was left open and he was free to roam. This cheeky little tortoise managed to travel three miles before being found safe and sound!

George is a national treasure, having been on the show for 22 years. Many grew up knowing George and then had children who went on to know George as a resident Blue Peter pet. He was a quiet character who helped educate children on exotic pets and caring for all animals – not just those that were cute and fluffy!

Mabel The Rescue Dog

Blue Peter/BBC

If you were a 00s kid, you will know Mabel. When she died in 2011, she broke the nation’s heart. Her beautiful eyes were one blue and one brown, making her instantly recognisable. She appeared on the show for 14 years, retiring in 2010.

She was the dog with the longest appearance time after the beloved Petra and became famous for being the TV show’s first rescue dog. She taught children that rescue dogs were just as wonderful as bred dogs and helped to promote rehoming of pets.

Meg The Dog

Blue Peter/BBC

Meg belonged to one of TV’s most loved children’s presenters ever — Matt Baker. In 1999, Matt asked the BBC if he could have a pet and they allowed him to have a gorgeous Border Collie. She lived with Matt in County Durham for her whole life, and made visits to the studio when she was needed.

She continued to appear on the show until Matt left in 2006, breaking many hearts as she exited. Meg was super well behaved and went on to appear in lots of other TV shows including Countryfile and Crufts.

Kari and Oke

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Blue Peter/BBC

Kari and Oke were the much-loved pets of presenters John Leslie and Diane-Louise Jordan, who chose the names after their trip to Japan. The viewers watched the two presenters do karaoke whilst on their expedition to Japan and decided that Kari and Oke were great names for the two lovely pets.

They lived long and happy lives and became the longest appearing Blue Peter cats ever. Oke appeared on Blue Peter for 13 years until his retirement and eventual death at the ripe old age of 21.

Coming up: do you remember which pet got a name change?

Barney The Dog

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Blue Peter/BBC

Barney was a 00s Blue Peter pet that had an interesting story as a former stray pup. He was given to the presented Helen in 2009 from the Dogs Trust, a charity that looks after stray and abandoned dogs.

Barney went on to teach children about love and care for pets, and provided encouragement for those who were considering adopting a dog from a home. He left the show in 2013, breaking a few hearts as he left, and now lives at home with Helen. This photo shows his first day on the Blue Peter set.

Fred/ Freda

freda
Pinterest/bbcarchive

Fred, or Freda as he became known, was a wonderful Blue Peter pet of the 60s, who’s still talked about now for his controversial gender blunder. Fred was the second Blue Peter pet ever, and accompanied Petra way back in 1963.

In 1967, a viewer who knew a thing or two about tortoises noticed that Fred was in fact a she! The controversy caused a stir amongst child viewers and Fred was rightfully renamed Freda. She became a classic Blue Peter pet and lived until 1979, becoming one of the show’s longest-serving pets.

Another problem related to a pet’s name is coming up soon!

Blue Peter Guide Dogs

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Peter Stone/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

The Blue Peter Guide Dogs were a regular feature on the show, where they were trained live in the studio until they were ready to hand over to someone who needed them. This was a great initiative set up by the BBC to open children’s eyes to those who need special assistance from a guide dog.

The new owners often appeared on the show and told stories of what the guide pup had been up to and how they had changed their life. It was a real feel-good feature, and the Blue Peter team trained many dogs over the years, all of which were loved by viewers.

Cookie The Rag Doll Kitten

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Blue Peter/BBC

Cookie will be familiar to those who grew up in the 00s. She came to join the ever-popular cat Socks, who was also a Ragdoll. Cookie has a funny history in that she was introduced due to a blunder with Socks’ name.

Viewers were invited to enter a pool to decide the name of Socks the cat, and the poll said that the most popular name was Socks. However, the poll caused a major stir when it was revealed that the REAL name that was chosen by viewers was Cookie. Viewers were furious and demanded that Socks be renamed to Cookie — instead, they brought a Socks 2.0 into the studio and names her Cookie!

Socks The Cat

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Blue Peter/BBC

Who could forget Socks? A much-beloved cat on the show, Socks was super chilled and became a family favourite. He joined the show back in 2006 and despite the controversy over his name, he went on to be the most natural Blue Peter pet ever.

Socks was a really loveable pet and was always cuddling up to the presenters. We all adored Socks and he went on to appear on the show for years and years, until producers finally decided that the journey time to the studio was getting too long for poor little Socks.

Honey The Guide Dog

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Twitter/CBBC

As we mentioned, over the years the show had many guide dogs who were trained and then went on to change people’s lives up and down the country. She’s seen here on the right.

The first of her kind, Honey, was a gorgeous guide dog who gripped the nation’s heart when she appeared for the first time in 1964. Since the popularity of the wonderful Honey, Blue Peter has run campaigns to raise money for guide dogs and has had an amazing impact on the charity. Honey was a super cute puppy and secretly every kid was devastated when she had to go and work as a guide dog, but we knew it was her duty!

Bonnie The Golden Retriever

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Blue Peter/BBC

Bonnie was a beautiful Golden Retriever who was super intelligent too. Even today, many people will know of Bonnie as a classic Blue Peter pet, as she starred on the show and appeared in over 1,000 episodes in the 80s.

Golden retrievers are notoriously sweet and gentle, and Bonnie was no exception. She was the pup of another Blue Peter pet – Goldie – who was popular on the show too. Bonnie was most famous for winning the Olympia dog agility course twice alongside Anthea Turner. Kudos Bonnie!

Shelley The Tortoise

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Blue Peter/BBC

Inventive name, right? Shelley is currently the show’s only tortoise and has been with the team since 2004. She’s a really popular pet and features in lots of games and quizzes online such as ‘spot Shelley’ as well as animated videos of Shelley going on adventures.

Shelley rose to fame during the Football World Cup, when she predicted the results of the games correctly. Many relied on her expertise to place bets, with Shelley becoming an internet sensation in the UK.

Iggy The Guide Dog

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Twitter/CBeebiesHQ

Iggy started on the show in 2014, and became a popular member of the team as she trained to become a guide dog in the real world. She’s now a fully trained and working guide dog, after being on the show for two years during training.

She was famous for her crazy birthday party, which was attended by lots of other very cute doggies. They turned out to be her brothers and sisters, who the show decided to reunite her with on her first birthday. What a cute little pup!

Blue Peter had some feathered friends, too!

Joey The Parrot

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Twitter/bbcarchive

Parrots didn’t ever make a regular appearance on the show, however, Joey hit the small screen back in 1967 and appeared on the show until 1968. He was very popular with children and became the first Blue Peter pet to die whilst in service.

Whilst this was a tragedy, and his death from an infection shocked us all, it was a learning curve for children and a chance to experience loss. Although we mourned the loss of our lovely Joey, it taught us a thing or two about one of life’s constants — death.

Shep The Sheep Dog

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Blue Peter/BBC

Here’s another not-so inventive name from the Blue Peter team, but we loved him all the same. Shep was a super intelligent Border Collie who appeared on the show from 1971-1978. He became the main Blue Peter pup after Petra, and was hugely loved by presenter John Noakes.

Noakes was a very popular presenter and went on to have his own show which Shep featured on too. Although the BBC owned Shep, he was always thought of as Noakes’ dog. Shep died in 1987, and when asked about the dog after his death, Noakes broke down on television, proving that puppy love does live on forever.

Rags The Pony

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Twitter/bbcradio4

Rags was the first Blue Peter horse and actually came into the studio to feature on the show back in 1976. Whilst we’re not sure whether health and safety would allow a huge animal like that on to a set these days, it was a moment of magic for viewers who had followed the story.

Rags had been helping out disabled children in a campaign that helped kids get into riding. She was a gentle giant and was loved by all who were lucky enough to ride her. The show documented her travels and she was popular pet for years to come.

Maggie and Jim

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Blue Peter/BBC

Maggie and Jim were named after the Prime Ministers at the time, Margaret Thatcher and Jim Callaghan. They were a brother and sister duo who shot to fame as the second tortoise double act after the popular tortoise Freda.

They were Southern European tortoises and appeared initially in a cameo on election day in 1974. However, their popularity saw them stay on the show until they sadly died early in 1982 when the UK had a very cold winter.