BBC bosses have insisted that ‘Blue Peter’ is as popular as ever, after a recent episode of the BBC show failed to attract a single viewer, according to official data.
A repeat of an episode on digital channel CBBC, aired at 2.30pm on Tuesday 13 June, got a zero rating on the official system used to measure TV audiences.
Viewing figures are still measured by the so-called BARB box – the technology used in 5,100 UK households - selected to represent the nation’s viewing habits.
Cheryl Taylor, Controller, CBBC told HuffPost UK: “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.”
In its heyday on BBC One, ‘Blue Peter’ attracted up to 8 million viewers. As recently as ten years ago, just under 1 million young viewers tuned in to watch the show three times a week on BBC One.
However, the BBC has insisted that the show is here to stay, and its audience share of children is actually higher than what it was when it aired on BBC One.
Cheryl Taylor added: “I challenge any naysayers to check out last week’s enthralling episode on iPlayer if they have any doubts at all about its value and enduring appeal to the curious and clued-up CBBC audience.”
News of the show’s viewing figures comes just weeks after the death of legendary presenter John Noakes.
John’s stint on ‘Blue Peter’ in the 1960s and ’70s saw him become the show’s longest-serving presenter.