EXCLUSIVE: Helen Skelton on Blue Peter’s live Olympics broadcast in Saffron Walden
PUBLISHED: 12:01 24 May 2012 | UPDATED: 12:12 24 May 2012
WHEN news broke that Blue Peter – one of the BBC’s best-loved and longest-running shows – was coming to town, the Reporter wasted no time in catching up with presenter Helen Skelton to find out more about the array of Olympic-themed activities planned for the day.
The bubbly young host said she could not wait to visit the town this summer and put a call out to encourage people to come and join her and Barney for the fun-filled occasion.
“I’m really looking forward to coming to Saffron Walden and thankful to have a job that means I can get out and about and see so much of the country,” she said.
“It’s always such a good laugh hosting a show in front of a live audience – and great to see their reactions as we don’t get that instant feedback when we’re on TV.
“People should definitely come down and join us at the event. We’ll have interactive sporting activities, Olympic-themed makes, the chance to have a go at sports commentating, a sports science lab and our very own sports day.
“We’re also giving people the chance to try Horrible Histories events from Olympics of the past.”
In addition, the Reporter understands more than 1,200 people have so far applied for a limited number of opportunities for families to join a live Blue Peter outside broadcast at 9am.
To put your name in the hat, go to bbc.co.uk/bluepeter or call 0370 901 1227. Applications need to be received by midnight on June 21.
As part of the celebrations, children will also be given the chance to take home a Blue Peter Big Olympic Activity Pack to help them track their favourite sports when the Games start.
Helen added: “The programme will be packed full of facts and guides to Olympic events by some of the Team GB hopefuls for 2012. “We’ll have celebrity guest stars and there’ll be a special challenge which will see Barney and I take on Brendan Cole, Adele Silva, Laura Wright and Romeo in a series of weekly sporting challenges to see which of us will win the gold medal at the end of the series.
“I take it a tad too seriously but I can’t help being competitive!”
Proposals have now begun in earnest to police the massive event, with security likely to prove a logistical nightmare.
Uttlesford’s neighbourhood policing inspector Mick Couldridge said the force had been working closely with the district council and BBC, and had requested support from neighbouring areas to help with the event.
“We are gearing up to potentially deal with as many as 25,000 people coming to the Common on the day,” he explained.
“It is going to be a large event, one of the biggest Saffron Walden has ever seen.
“A large number of those coming will be youngsters so we are not anticipating it to be a riotous event but we are focussed on ensuring public safety and preventing children from getting lost.”
“The BBC is very good and very experienced at organising events like this and has excellent plans in place to help ensure smooth running of the day.”
• Dogs will not be permitted access to the event on the Common and should be left at home. Car park patrols will also be in place to ensure animals are not left in cars.
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