For people of a certain age, it doesn’t take much to turn them back into a big kid. Around Halloween, the Sand In Your Eye team of professional pumpkin carvers can’t help but get excited when the pumpkins start coming into the studio and pumpkin carving season really gets going.
When we got a call from Blue Peter asking if somebody could come to do some pumpkin carving live on air, the biggest kid of them all – pumpkin artist Jamie Wardley – instantly regressed back to his childhood in the 80s. Little Jamie would sit on his sofa watching such stars as John Noakes, Peter Duncan and Sarah Greene having adventures and making brilliant artwork – he never imagined that would be his future and that he would eventually end up on Blue Peter himself!
Jamie excitedly made his way, one October day, with a carved pumpkin under his arm to Tatton Park in Cheshire. The Old Hall at Tatton Park dates from the 15th Century and is reputed to be haunted, Blue Peter had chosen this spooky manor house to film their Halloween episode.
Presenters Ritchie and Adam were wowed by the pumpkin portrait Jamie showed them of Henry the Blue Peter, this took two days to make and we think it looks just like Henry, who is a beagle/basset cross and is a rescue dog from the Dogs Trust. This kind of carved pumpkin is a relatively new pumpkin carving technique for us but we are going to do lots more of them, like this portrait pumpkin of Albert Einstein that Rich did.
This got everybody into the Halloween spirit so Jamie offered to show them some pumpkin carving techniques. Ritchie and Adam brought out the pumpkins that in the great Blue Peter tradition they “had made earlier” and asked him to judge them.
Jamie is a natural on camera and they managed to get it all done in one take but then Claire has always said Jamie would have made a great Blue Peter presenter. It was a really fun day and Jamie was thrilled when he was presented with his own Blue Peter badge, a momentous occasion for anyone who grew up watching this iconic children’s programme that has been on air for an incredible 62 years!
Special thanks to Jack Robbins, the rest of the crew, presenters and team at Blue Peter for fulfilling a childhood dream for Jamie.