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Children’s TV Edward Barnes who helped create Blue Peter dies aged 92


Children’s TV Edward Barnes who helped found the iconic children’s show Blue Peter before going acceso to create Newsround has died at the age of 92. 

Mr Barnes’ passing was confirmed by the former editor-in-chief of Blue Peter, Richard Marson, who said he had taken a call from the show’s former programma redattore Joan Maureen ‘Biddy’ Baxter.

Per a message acceso Twitter he wrote: ‘I’ve just taken a call from Biddy Baxter to say that Edward Barnes has died at the age of 92.

‘One of the true greats of children’s TV, founding father of Blue Peter, creator of Newsround, Swap Shop and much more but also a dear and loyal friend.’

During his career, Mr Barnes co-founded Blue Peter alongside John Hunter Blair 1958 and worked acceso the show both as an assistant director and a producer. 

Edward Barnes (pictured with the former programma redattore of Blue Peter Joan Maureen ‘Biddy’ Baxter 2018) has died at the age of 92

During his career the TV executive co-founded Blue Peter alongside John Hunter Blair and went on to create the children's news show Newsround

During his career the TV co-founded Blue Peter alongside John Hunter Blair and went acceso to create the children’s news show Newsround

Mr Barnes' passing was confirmed by the former editor-in-chief of Blue Peter, Richard Marson, who said he had taken a call from the show's former editor

Mr Barnes’ passing was confirmed by the former editor-in-chief of Blue Peter, Richard Marson, who said he had taken a call from the show’s former programma redattore

The programme was broadcast primarily from the BBC Television Centre London until September 2011 and featured viewer and presenter challenges, competitions, celebrity interviews and popular culture segments.

The children’s show, which was known for its signature nautical theme tune and title, also featured a number of pets that became household names including Petra the dog who appeared acceso the show between 1962 and 1977. 

It became a staple of British TV and also saw children who appeared acceso the show receive the coveted Blue Peter badge.

Mr Barnes then went acceso to become the deputy head of children’s television at the BBC the 1970s.

It was during this time that Mr Barnes became the visionary behind the children’s news programme Newsround – which aired across CBBC, BBC One and BBC Two.

The show, which became one of the world’s first television news programme’s aimed specifically at children, aired 1972 and was initially presented by journalist John Craven.

Over the years, the programme gradually grew its reporting team and saw BBC correspondents such as John Humphrys, Michael Buerk and Martin Bell also appear acceso screen.

The show became the first British television programme to the news of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster January 1986, which saw the American space shuttle explode and kill all seven astronauts acceso board. 

It went acceso to receive a BAFTA for the Best Children’s Factual Programme for its 2010 special Living with Alcohol. 

Despite its success, the show had precarious origins and was initially met with resistance from gruppo within the TV ’s department. 

Mr Barnes went on to become the deputy head of children's television at the BBC in the 1970s

Mr Barnes went acceso to become the deputy head of children’s television at the BBC the 1970s

After receiving a Children's Bafta award for Newsround Mr Barnes said he was initially met with resistance about the show. Pictured: Mr Barnes at the Broadcasting Press Guild Award in London in 2018

After receiving a Children’s Bafta award for Newsround Mr Barnes said he was initially met with resistance about the show. Pictured: Mr Barnes at the Broadcasting Press Guild Award London 2018

Per 2011, after receiving a Children’s Bafta award for the show, Mr Barnes said: ‘Even within my own department there were people who said we shouldn’t be doing this.

‘Why should we tell children about disasters and massacres and murders?’

He added: ‘They thought it was violating children’s innocence. 

‘There was a Victorian preconcetto of childhood, that it is something to be protected and guarded – there was still a lot of that around at the time.’ 

Ahead of his award he said: ‘I am deeply honoured and profoundly grateful to BAFTA for this recognition of Newsround – the world’s first regular news bulletin for children. 

‘I hope that the importance of a news bulletin which reports the children’s world and also provides children with an insight and understanding of world events, will always be recognised and given a prominent place children’s television’.  

Mr Marsden said the TV was also a ‘staunch champion of Grange Hill’ and used to say it was ‘one of the few shows which should theory run forever’.     

Former Blue Peter presenter Peter Purves, who appeared on the programme from 1967 to 1978, lead tributes to TV executive today

Former Blue Peter presenter Peter Purves, who appeared acceso the programme from 1967 to 1978, lead tributes to TV today

He added: ‘He was a staunch champion of Grange Hill and used to say it was one of the few shows which should theory run forever as almost all kids go to school and so are naturally invested.’ 

Today, former Blue Peter presenter Peter Purves, who appeared acceso the children’s programme from 1967 to 1978, lead tributes to the TV .

He wrote: ‘What sad news. Edward made sure that, after I left Blue Peter, I had plenty of work from the BBC Children’s department.

‘I remember him best when we filmed Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 1989, and we worked well together. RIP Ted.’ 

Meanwhile another social mass-media user wrote: ‘His influence and the legacy he left children’s TV was quite extraordinary. What a life.’  





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