Sunday, 24 April 2016

Badge of Honour

Clearing out a drawer, I finally found it.
I’ve been looking for it for years and there it was, in my hand. At last.
I’d heard it could be worth a fortune.  Attractions offer free entry to somebody with A BLUE PETER BADGE.
I checked out the website. 
Yep, serious scrolling was required to view ALL of the attractions involved.
“You are gold, my little badge.”
There was a slight catch – badgeholders were only admitted free “when accompanied by a full-paying adult.
That would be okay.  Nigel just about qualifies as an adult.
But what was this?  “Badgeholders must also present a valid pass.”
That would be fine too.  In the envelope, I still had a copy of my letter signed by Peter Purviss, John Noakes and Valerie Singleton.  That must be the “pass”, mustn’t it?
I checked with a colleague who had younger children.
According to Georgina, ankle-biters may now simply write to Blue Peter and they will get a badge.
I had spent days painting an intricately detailed imaginative recreation of a yeti in order to be a runner up in one of the Blue Peter art competitons.  Mine was a Badge of Honour.
Discovering that all you had to do now was write was nearly as bad as, back in the day, seeing Valerie hold up the winning picture and realising that the kid had copied an illustration out of The Phantom Tollbooth.  Come to think of it, that was probably the moment when a tiny seed of cynicism was planted deep within my young soul.
But there was another problem.  Georgina told me that to get a valid pass, I had to be under sixteen.

The world has changed since my heady Blue Peter days: it has become a cold and cruel place.