ARTS / Blue Peter and Me

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The Independent Culture
PAUL GASCOIGNE, 26, footballer: Yes, I did watch it. It provided my first contact with the world of charity, and I've been hooked ever since. The demonstrations taught me to care for animals and pets. I never had a badge, but if they want to present me with one now, I'd be glad to accept it.

ANASTASIA HILLE, 27, actress: I never had a badge, but I remember making a kitchen for Barbie, and a Dougal out of washing-up bottles and wool. I was in love with Peter Duncan, and got very upset when the presenters changed. They were like guardians or teachers.

CHRIS DONALD, 32, editor, 'Viz': I did watch but I never had a badge. I think my brother Simon had one. Oh no, sorry, he went out with someone who did. There was one kicking around our house though. It would be a very prestigious thing to have. I collected milk-bottle tops and stamps for their appeals.

CARON KEATING, 31, ex-'Blue Peter' presenter: I watched it avidly. I drove my mother mad by emptying the kitchen cupboards so I had boxes and squeezy bottles to make things with. But I didn't have a badge then.

PAUL BOATENG, 42, Labour MP: Who didn't watch it? I had a badge. I can't remember what it was for - collecting something and sending it in, I think. I remember Peter Purves - everyone used to make politically incorrect jokes at his expense at school. Did I make things? Oh please. My attempts always ended in disaster, with glue and pieces of string everywhere. I remember Petra the dog very well, and her successor. I'm a Blue Peter graduate and proud of it.

HARRY ENFIELD, 32, comedian: No. We didn't have a telly.

MICHAEL JACKSON, 35, controller, BBC2: Yes of course I watched it. My one memory is being terribly disappointed that it was cancelled for Kennedy's funeral. That's a very potent memory. I shouldn't really say this but I was a bit of a Magpie viewer - Blue Peter felt a bit official. I didn't have a badge but I suppose I could get one now.

SEBASTIAN FAULKS, 40, novelist: I watched it, but I didn't have a badge. I remember the dog and Christopher Trace. It was a bit sort of DIY for me. It seemed good for boys who were in the Scouts.

TANITA TIKARAM, 23, singer: I was a big fan of Blue Peter. I always wanted a badge and wish I had made the effort to get one.

ANNEKA RICE, 35, TV presenter: Blue Peter is what made me want to do this. What a great job to stand around stroking labradors and poking bits of string through egg boxes. I only stopped watching when the presenters became younger than me. My biggest regret is that I never got a badge.

DAVID GOWER, 36, cricketer and commentator: No, I didn't have a badge. I used to enjoy it but it was television - when it was over, I went off and did something else.

STEVE COOGAN, 27, comedian: I didn't have a badge. I came from North Manchester and kids there did not have Blue Peter badges. But I loved the programme, with John Noakes. It was as important in shaping a generation as who your parents are. I made a moonbase, a lunar landscape in papier mache. You had a flat board and an egg carton and an upturned margarine tub, and these would be the basis for the hills. I made an Action Man tent out of a coathanger too.

ANTHEA TURNER, 33, 'Blue Peter' presenter: I've had my badge since I was eight. I got it because I sent a letter with a 'make' idea - making animals out of shells from the beach. I took my badge as a good-luck charm when I went for the interview last year - and got the job. Interviews: Rosanna de Lisle