CBBC has reassured Blue Peter fans that the classic children’s show is not in jeopardy after reports about an episode that apparently failed to attract a single viewer.
The broadcaster said the programme was still doing “amazingly well” as it explained that the episode in question was a second repeat broadcast, deliberately aired during a low-traffic time slot.
Its screening on the CBBC channel on Tuesday afternoon, an insider said, was required to allow the episode to be put on the BBC iPlayer streaming service, where it has since been viewed by 39,000 people.
She told the Press Association: “Blue Peter is going from strength to strength and is performing amazingly well in a digital age.
“The show will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year and there’s no plans to cancel it.”
Running since October 1958, Blue Peter has delighted its young audience for decades with features on adorable animals, wonders from around the world, celebrity guests and crafty tips on cooking and making toys and gifts out of everyday household items.
According to CBBC, the no-viewer statistic, reported by the Daily Mail on Tuesday night, was worked out by television data company Barb, based on the viewing habits of 5,000 UK households.
CBBC controller Cheryl Taylor said: “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 (British Sign Language).
“An additional repeat of this episode in a different time slot (Sunday morning) had an average audience of 46,000 and a 10.3% share of children aged six to 12, which is above the slot average.”
The broadcaster added that Blue Peter currently has a “much higher audience engagement than ever before” with more than 160,000 children aged between six and 15 already winning the coveted Blue Peter badge this year, compared to 90,000 in 2015.