Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Edition of the BBC's long-running children's magazine programme, this time featuring an enormous truck, a report on a new rollercoaster, a kid who wrote into the programme, the annoucement of the winner of the design-a-gadget-for-Alex-Rider-to-use-in-Ark-Angel-by-Anthony-Horowitz contest, and the announcement of the winner of the design-a-giant-mural-for-the-Blue-Peter-garden contest.

Oh, and a report from said garden on a compost bin shaped like a Dalek that viewers Jim and Rhys had made and brought in.

I have to admit - that's a pretty impressive piece of model-making, not least because the Daleks hadn't appeared in new Doctor Who yet. On one level, I wish the presenter hadn't gone and grilled them on how it was done, as it kind of spoils the illusion.

But - what's this? All of a sudden the TARDIS materialises, and the ninth Doctor strides on!

He gawps at the compost bin, apparently mistaking it for a real Dalek, and declares "I've searched for you across time and space!" It's only at this moment that he realises that he's left his sonic screwdriver behind, and has to hastily improvise some kind of laser-beam thingy from his Blue Peter badge. (presumably once Ace's)

The compost bin now itself decomposed (*heavy irony*), the Doctor says his farewells and merrily heads off again. Well, the kids can hardly believe their eyes. They've just seen their beloved creation destroyed, and by the very guy who's supposed to be their hero! Boo!

Where and when the Doctor heads off to next is anyone's guess, although his lonesomeness, combined with his mellowness about the 'Dalek''s presence, and general madness rather suggest that this is an event in the much talked about but little committed-to time war. Heck, maybe in the current timeline the Daleks had even evolved into a design that made them look like redecorated compost bins. At any rate, before Rose and after The Millennium Of Doom then.

(I suppose this was shot at the same time as Eccleston was at BBC Television Centre for his contemporary interview on the show, although admittedly he looks much happier here than he did at any point throughout that)

Back in the studio, the finalists of that same garden's mural competition are being announced. That's a fairly prestigious prize there - the winning drawing will actually get made full-size, and then sit in the famous Blue Peter Garden at BBC Television Centre forever! As I watched the short-listed entries, I had to agree with the presenters that they actually were all rather good. The evergreen one had a timeless simplicity about it.

Ultimately the entry that did win turned out to be perfect. This featured the faces of all the presenters that Blue Peter had ever had, along with a little bit of room left over for a few future ones to be added. Initially I thought that looked to require too much upkeep, and indeed only contained a finite amount of space in which to add future presenters, but tragically that's just what made it so appropriate. Two years later the BBC announced that it was brain-beggaringly selling TVC and moving everything up north to Salford. As a result, I guess the mural turned out to contain just the right amount of spare room after all.

A bit of a shame that the Doctor didn't hang around to see that winning entry. He might well have taken a second look at Peter Purves' face and declared what an uncanny resemblance it bore to a space pilot he'd once travelled with. Mind you, he never noticed the same space pilot's uncanny resemblance to that even earlier guy in the Empire State Building.

Funnily enough, at the time, that famous building was being invaded by compost bins too, mind you that happens a lot there…

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