The BBC has unveiled a new-look, pre-vandalised Blue Peter garden ahead of the programme’s move to Salford next week.
The BBC’s flagship children’s magazine programme is being relocated from metropolitan, happening London to squalid, distant Salford when it returns to screens in the autumn.
‘We’re delighted by this exciting and inconvenient move,’ insisted presenter Helen Skelton. ‘But it wouldn’t be Blue Peter without our wonderful garden, so we’re taking it with us in the back of a truck, and when we replant it in the North we’ll give it a special new look to fit in with our new home.’
The garden’s new design is inspired by the BBC’s new location and will feature some meagre plants pre-trampled into the ground, a pond full of lethargic fish fed on a diet of pies, crumbling brickwork and obscene graffiti daubed onto the walls.
Programme editor Tim Levell responded to criticism that the new look is ‘unlikely’ to encourage children to get out into their gardens at home. ‘One of our cameramen has a cousin who drove through Salford once,’ said Levell. ‘So we know that for many local children it will be the first time in their lives they’ll ever have seen living plants.’
But he accepted that the radical new design would have upset long-time Blue Peter gardener Percy Thrower. ‘Times change, and poor old Percy would have been spinning in his grave,’ he conceded. ‘At least, he would have if we hadn’t dug him up ready to take with us.’