New Blue Peter presenter appointed by CBBC viewers

 

TV newcomer Lindsey Russell landed a role as a Blue Peter presenter today after triumphing in a nationwide talent hunt.

The 22-year-old became the 36th host of the show after winning a viewer vote from a shortlist of three candidates, joining current hosts Barney Harwood and Helen Skelton.

Russell was announced during an edition of the show which was being broadcast in front of a live audience in Leeds and will join the programme in September.

She landed the job only weeks after graduating from the University of Bristol after a four-year French and drama course.

Russell told viewers: "I feel amazing. It's the best job in the world - you get to do incredible things. Right now it feels a little strange. I'm quite shaky."

The search for a new presenter featured in a CBBC series Blue Peter - You Decide over the past few weeks as 10 hopefuls were put through their paces by a panel including Eamonn Holmes and Myleene Klass.

Challenges included including helping to paint Blackpool Tower while talking to camera and interviewing girl-band Stooshe.

Around 20,000 people got in touch with the show to apply to be considered as a new host for the long-running series which celebrates its 55th birthday later this year.

Russell, from Oxford , is a keen skier, lacrosse player and musician, playing both piano and saxophone.

Over the years she has taught French children, presented theatre workshops for The National Youth Theatre and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Talking about her desire to win a place on the show at the outset of the contest, she said: "It would also mean I didn't have to grow up and go into the boring adult world after uni."

Russell was presented with a Blue Peter badge on tonight's edition of the show after securing her place, following in the footsteps of presenters such as Anthea Turner, Valerie Singleton, John Noakes, Konnie Huq and Yvette Fielding, the youngest ever presenter who was just 18 when she landed the job.

Asked about whether there was any filming she would be reluctant to do on the programme, Russell said tonight: "I'd be a bit scared of under the water - so anything with fishes or a bit slimy."

Channel controller Cheryl Taylor said: "CBBC are always looking for new things to excite and entertain our audience and it's brilliant that viewers have been so closely involved in choosing a new Blue Peter presenter. We can't wait to see how Lindsey gets on."

Professor Sarah Street, from the University of Bristol, said: "We're absolutely delighted that Lindsey has won.

"It's a remarkable achievement considering that she was one of 20,000 applicants, not to mention that the majority of filming was during her final exams.

"It's a dream job and Lindsey has shown that she's the best candidate, always willing to give things a go and smiling throughout. The whole university is very proud of her and we look forward to seeing more of her on our screens."

PA

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