The BBC has responded to claims that a recent repeat episode of Blue Peter failed to pull in a single viewer when it was aired on CBBC. The episode – which was a re-run of the original broadcast from Thursday 8 June at 7:30pm – was shown again a few days later on Tuesday 13 June at 2:30pm. According to official figures, it had zero viewers.
In a statement, CBBC controller Cheryl Taylor said it is "very important to put the comments made about viewing figures for Blue Peter in context". She explained: "The episode in question is our repeated 'signed' version which needs to air on CBBC in order to appear on BBC iPlayer – an important service for viewers who use BSL (British Sign Language). "An additional repeat of this episode in a different time slot had an average audience of 46,000 and a 10.3 per cent share of children aged six to 12 which is above the slot average. It has also been viewed 39,000 times on BBC iPlayer so far."
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Despite the repeat episode scoring zero in official figures, the original broadcast from Thursday 8 June actually pulled in 53,100 viewers. The show featured children's author Anthony Horowitz launching a spy competition and a visit from children's laureate Chris Riddell. There was also a segment showing young scooter stars showing off their skills at the European Scooter Championship.
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Blue Peter first aired in 1958 and is the longest-running children's TV show in the world. In its heyday, the programme pulled in an estimated 7.9 million viewers per show. Ten years ago, it was watched by an average of 917,000 viewers, when it was shown three times a week on BBC1.