The final three presenting hopefuls who will compete for the most coveted job in television have been revealed today – their fate is now in the hands of the CBBC viewers, who will vote for which of them will be crowned as the 36th presenter of the world’s longest-running kids’ TV show.
Blue Peter – You Decide! finalists Ben Hunte, Freddie Ingleby and Lindsey Russell have made it through four weeks of challenges – guided by hosts Dick and Dom – and are now one step away from the CBBC audience vote and that dream job.
Next Monday, we’ll see the three hopefuls meeting Blue Peter presenters Barney Harwood and Helen Skelton for the very first time as they each face their final challenge of the series – taking part in a recording in the Blue Peter studio. The pressure will be on for them to prove they can cope as they head into the iconic studio and take on one of the famous Blue Peter makes.
At the end of the show, Dick and Dom will open the voting, inviting CBBC viewers to go to the CBBC website and vote online for their favourite finalist. All voters must be under 16 years old and more details on the process can be found here: bbc.co.uk/cbbc/articles/blue-peter-you-decide-how-to-vote
More than 20,000 people registered their interest in becoming the new Blue Peter presenter and were whittled down to just 10, who started on the series just four weeks ago. Judges Myleene Klass, Eamonn Holmes and Ceallach Spellman scrutinised each of the hopefuls to decide who made it through each of the stages, until just three were remaining.
The programme is developed and produced by the Salford-based CBBC Productions in-house team.
Some comments from the final three:
On how it feels to be in the final three
Ben Hunte said: “It feels incredible to be in the final three. It’s such an insane experience and I’m so excited about what the future holds. I’m taking every day as it comes and I don’t think it’s hit me properly yet how completely amazing this actually is. It came out of nowhere.”
He added: “Before going into this process I thought that the challenges would be the hard part and that they’d be more extreme, but actually, the real challenge is that you have to present and tell your story to the judges. As it’s my first time in front of a camera, it’s been quite a difficult learning experience but I’m just being myself and hope that’s enough!”
Freddie Ingleby said: “Getting through to the final three is genuinely the most incredible thing that has ever happened to me. I’m now so close to the culmination of everything I’ve been working towards for years and I’m over the moon – I’m elated. It’s madness!”
He added: “I didn’t think I’d make it this far. I submitted the showreel at five minutes to midnight on the deadline day after much deliberation and having to try to overcome that fear of failure – overcoming that is a big thing for me and I’ve never really taken that leap before. I didn’t think anything would come of it if I’m honest, and that’s something that this process has given me – belief in myself.”
Lindsey Russell said: “I never expected to get this far. I thought getting to the final 10 was such a huge achievement and now I’m suddenly the last girl standing. It’s overwhelming and incredible.”
She added: “Each round I’ve made it through has made me want this more and more – every time the judges say my name it makes me so hungry for it. I’m just looking at it thinking about how completely lucky I’ve been, and it’s amazing because I’m having so much fun. This whole process has been life-changing – and it’s still not finished!”
On the challenges they’ve faced so far
Ben Hunte said: “I think the toughest challenge so far has to be the short interviews we did in central London because it was really hard approaching people knowing they had absolutely no idea who I was. If Helen and Barney did it people would know who they are, but for me to do it, I was thinking that people would just say ‘no you’re not from the TV – who are you?’…That was really hard. Oh, and I hate the cold, so being in Wales for the raft challenge, and at the top of Blackpool Tower was really hard for me. So cold!”
Freddie Ingleby said: “The fruit costume record-breaking challenge was the one I found the trickiest because I’ve never worked with such a large group of children before. I was with my team of kids all day, for five hours, and it took me a while to get to grips with it and get in control of the situation and what I should be doing. It was an awesome experience though and the kids were so amazing and engaging and forgiving. They’re incredible and working with them is one of the greatest things that this job will bring.”
Lindsey Russell said: “The toughest challenge so far has been the world record fruit costume one. The pressure was really on as there were loads of children standing there watching me do a Blue Peter make, so I really had to be on my game. It really made me aware of what a hard job Blue Peter presenters have, but at the same time it was really cool to have the audience right there in front of me so I could see their reactions to what I was doing.”
On what they’ve found difficult about presenting
Ben Hunte said: “The hardest thing about presenting is learning scripts. I have no experience of learning scripts so when we were sent them I not only had to learn them, but I had to come up with how to learn them too. That was really, really hard – in fact it caught me a bit off-guard just how difficult that was. The other thing I’ve found difficult is having to do things in one take. I know that most presenters don’t do things in one take and in a live show environment it doesn’t matter so much either because you can just react to what is happening around you, but when we had just one take to do our talent tests that was a bit like ‘do or die’. I found that really hard in the beginning until I settled into it.”
Freddie Ingleby said: “This process has definitely opened my eyes to the world of presenting – nobody really knows about the number of people that are moving about behind the cameras that the presenters are having to completely ignore. And then there are lots of other distractions too, like the people in your ear, the sound man with the microphone inches above your head – there are so many things you have to completely ignore whilst still delivering the message to the audience in a succinct manner that they understand. It’s certainly something you don’t consider and I’m finding myself watching TV now and imagining that they’re talking to a producer or someone as they look off camera – it’s amazing. I watch television completely differently to the way to the way I did before.”
Lindsey Russell said: “When you’re presenting it’s important to remain focussed and remember that you are talking to one person at home in their living room. You can get distracted by the people around you – and there are lots of them pulling you in lots of different directions. You just have to stay focused even though there are about 500 things to think about all at once. The good thing about Blue Peter is that if something does go wrong or you do end up laughing about something, that’s okay.”
On why CBBC viewers should vote for them
Ben Hunte said: “I think children should vote for me because I’m always laughing and I’m up for anything – I believe I can make amazing kids TV whilst having a great time too and I think that will come across on screen. I don’t have any acting or presenting experience, I’m just me, and I hope that people will like what they see.”
Freddie Ingleby said: “They will see why they should vote for me in the next episode! I genuinely believe I was made for this job and as a result of that I’ve just been myself the whole time – there are not two sides to me, and what you see is what you get. If they’ve enjoyed watching me and want to see more, I’d be humbled to be considered for their vote.”
Lindsey Russell said: “I think CBBC viewers should vote for me because I’d be a great team member and I’m a real explorer. I’m not afraid to make a fool of myself and am really adventurous – I always give 100 per cent to every situation and love to get stuck in.”