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Blue Peter tender: BBC “open” to move away from MediaCity

The BBC has today published the £2m per year invitation to tender for iconic children’s show, Blue Peter.

While it says the the production will need to be made outside of London, there is no stipulation as to where it can be based.

The tender document also says that while it wants to “protect the Blue Peter legacy” it said there was no requirement to retain the model of live and studio recordings, plus bidders should consider: 

“… what Blue Peter represents in the current multi-platform, multi-device space and how the Blue Peter brand might interface with the lives of our modern, evolving young audiences who have a very different relationship with media consumption than when the show started.”

The contract, which is worth £2m a year covers a minimum of 20 hours broadcasting to be delivered “across linear/iPlayer, on-demand and social media platforms” for 2 years, from 1st April 2025.

Those wishing to apply will need to submit an eligibility application and sign NDAs, the application will be evaluated against the BBC’s eligibility criteria, with bidders then whittled down to a long-list. The award decision is expected to be made by October this year.

Blue Peter first aired in 1958, with more than 5300 programmes aired to date.

The tender document states:

“The format has hardly changed in those sixty-six years, so we are looking for proposals that not only capitalise on the strengths of the Blue Peter brand but that also demonstrate creative ways to think differently including suggestions for supporting the necessary drive to digital.

“We currently have a mix of live and studio records but there is no requirement to retain this model.  We are also looking to increase representation and portrayal from across the whole of the UK so everyone can see their lives reflected in the modern Blue Peter.  We regularly invite a young audience into the studio and would be looking to replicate that feel of engagement with UK kids.”

It adds:

“If the presenters are iconic then so too are the Blue Peter pets who, over the years, have come to embody friendship and family for generations of viewers. We want ideas that retain and grow that very special relationship.

“The Blue Peter gardens are also part of the existing fabric and we are looking for ideas that consider their role going forward – particularly as sustainability and the environment are very important to our young audience. The gardens are currently situated in Salford Quays, which is accessible to all, and at RHS Bridgewater with paid entry to the full gardens.”

Finally it says those bidding need to have a vision which is “bold, brave and extraordinary.”

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