06/07/2017 13:10 BST

'Blue Peter' Hosts Peter Purves And Janet Ellis Lament Decline In Viewing Figures, Following Kids Show's 'Zero Rating'

'It was better when it was on mainstream television.'

‘Blue Peter’ veterans Peter Purves and Janet Ellis have lamented the show’s decline in viewers after a recent episode recorded zero viewers.

A repeat of one episode of the kids show on digital channel CBBC, aired at 2.30pm on Tuesday 13 June, got a zero rating on the official system used to measure TV ratings.

Addressing the ratings, Peter, who presented the programme between 1967 and 1978, told The Mirror: “I know it happens from time to time, but zero is unbelievable really. If it’s true, and there’s no reason to believe it isn’t it’s a very sad reflection really.

“Mind, it was a repeat but even so. It’s not that obscure a channel. It’s a channel that kids know about and, if they want to find the programme, they’ll find it. If they don’t want to watch it, they won’t.”

Current 'Blue Peter' presenters Barney Harwood, Lindsey Russell and Radzi Chinyanganya

The BBC previously defended the figure, insisting it needs to be put “in context”, given it was a signed repeat for viewers hard of hearing.

While the episode scored an audience of 46,000 in another slot and has had 39,000 requests on BBC iPlayer, the figures are still away off the one million viewers the programme had ten years ago, when it still aired three times a week on mainstream channel BBC One.  

Calling for it’s return to the flagship channel, Peter continued: “I think it was better when it was on mainstream television because it picked up an audience of all ages; it wasn’t just for the age group at which it was aimed which always used to be seven to 12.”

PA Wire/PA Images
Peter Purves presented 'Blue Peter' with Valerie Singleton and John Noakes
PA Archive/PA Images
Janet Ellis (right) with co-presenter Caron Keating

Cheryl Taylor, Controller of CBBC told previously told HuffPost UK of the zero rating: “It is very important to put the comments made about viewing figures for ‘Blue Peter’ in context.

“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.

“An additional repeat of this episode in a different time slot had an average audience of 46,000 and a 10.3% share of children aged 6-12 which is above the slot average.  It has also been viewed 39,000 times on BBC iPlayer so far.”

The BBC later released further figures on Twitter, clarifying the show’s popularity.

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