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ICONS ARE BETTER #44: THE BLUE PETER BADGE

I really wanted one.

That magic little bit of metal that got you in free to all those exhibitions that you had no intention of ever going to (because you didn’t live in London).

Everyone watched Blue Peter when I was a kid. Probably about a billion people in the days before Channel 4. We watched it religiously even though we knew it was rubbish. It was the

telly programme that your mum didn’t mind you watching. It was “educational”; which in the eyes of you and your mates was basically a euphemism for toilet.

But back to the badge…

It didn’t matter if your dad was Robert Maxwell, money couldn’t buy one. You could only get one by being a bona fide competition winner. I remember entering loads (“answers on a postcard” – who the hell ever bought a postcard when they weren’t on holiday?) and never winning anything.

The badge was so attractive. Magical. Like a blue & white juvenile enamel version of the Victoria Cross (probably easier to get hold of too). It felt totally unattainable (great criteria for an icon). It probably was unattainable – I’ve never met anyone who has met anyone who has met anyone who ever owned one. But that doesn’t stop it being an icon of its age for me. Remarkable and Original.

What the hell was a “Blue Peter” anyway? Answers on a postcard…

Kevin Chesters @Hairychester