Blue Peter cut to just one show a week and not on BBC1
THE BBC's flagship children's show Blue Peter is to be cut to just one regular edition a week - and its first showing will no longer be on BBC1.
Instead the programme will be screened first on digital channel CBBC, with a repeat on BBC1 the following day.
It marks a profound change for the show which has been screened on BBC1 first since its launch in 1958.
The series, which has become a cornerstone of children's lives for generations, will begin to premiere on the digital station from January 12.
Blue Peter popularised the phrase "here's one I made earlier", and for many years children would have to keep a ready supply of toilet roll tubes and sticky-back plastic to hand while watching.
It is presented by daredevil Helen Skelton and popular CBBC presenter Barney Harwood, but in recent years has been a launchpad for TV stars such as Matt Baker, Konnie Huq and Anthea Turner.
Other famous names who have been given their big breaks over the year have included Valerie Singleton, Janet Ellis, John Noakes and Peter Purves.
A spokeswoman for the programme said: "The amount of airtime we devote to Blue Peter remains exactly the same, we are just scheduling it differently.
"It will still have a regular slot - now all year round - but we'll have flexibility to introduce additional specials that will go into more depth on events and activities."
These will include a "Stargazing Live" special next month, and there will be a nine-part series following Skelton's trip to the South Pole for Helen's South Pole trip. There will also be a series of special shows following the Olympic torch relay.
The show will be screened for the first time each Thursday, with the BBC1 repeat the following day. It will get a further airing on CBBC over the weekend.
Viewing for the BBC1 show had been slipping over the years and channel bosses had increased the emphasis on its digital screenings. A move to a CBBC premiere had been mooted some months ago.
The BBC emphasised that the show would run throughout the year, rather than taking a summer break.
At one stage the programme was broadcast three times a week, plus spin-off shows.