Blue Peter Special Assignment was a factual BBC TV series broadcast in the 1970s and early 1980s, the first spin-off from the long running BBC series Blue Peter. It ran regularly from 1973 until 1981, usually at weekends on BBC1, and was heavily promoted on Blue Peter itself. The concept for the series was developed after Valerie Singleton had made a successful documentary 'special' with HRH Princess Anne when she had visited Kenya in 1971. The Special Assignment series was mainly produced by Edward Barnes and presented initially by Valerie Singleton and later by Peter Purves, Lesley Judd and reportedly Simon Groom, all of whom had been presenters on Blue Peter itself.
Series One featured Valerie Singleton looking at six European Capital Cities. These included Rome, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Brussels. The first programme to be filmed was the one featuring Rome and included a personal address to the children of Britain from Pope Paul VI in The Vatican.
Series Two continued to feature Singleton looking at European Cities and included Dublin, York and Madrid. Later series looked at Islands and included The Isle of Wight, The Isle of Man, Hong Kong, Malta and Gibraltar. Later the show began to look at famous houses or famous individuals and included biographies of Vivaldi, The Brontë Sisters, The Duke of Wellington, Saint Therese of Lisieux, Marie Antoinette and Rudyard Kipling and both Lesley Judd and Peter Purves began presenting the series in place of Singleton.
The final series was co-presented by Singleton and Peter Purves, being broadcast in 1981. The series theme was Rivers, with Singleton examining The Yukon and Niagara, while Purves reported on The Tamar, The Tweed and The Singapore Rivers.
Spin off books were published covering the first two series.
Blue Peter Special Assignment - 1973 Season: Presenter: Valerie Singleton Producer: Edward Barnes Directors: Dorothea Brooking
Rome London Amsterdam Vienna Edinburgh Paris Blue Peter Special Assignment - 1974 Season: Presenter: Valerie Singleton Producer: Edward Barnes Directors: Dorothea Brooking
Dublin York Madrid Brussels Venice Blue Peter Special Assignment - Islands - 1975 Season: Presenter: Valerie Singleton Producer: Edward Barnes Directors: Dorothea Brooking
Isle of Skye Isle of Man Hong Kong Gibraltar Isle of Wight Malta Blue Peter Special Assignment - Historic Homes - 1976 Season: Presenters: Valerie Singleton (~) & Lesley Judd (#) Producer: Edward Barnes Directors: Dorothea Brooking
Benjamin Disraeli (~) John Keats (~) Charles Darwin (~) Jane Austen (~) ? Anna Pavlova (#) Blue Peter Special Assignment - 1979 Season: Presenter: Peter Purves Producer: Edward Barnes Directors: Sarah Hellings, Hugh David, Dorothea Brooking
Marie Antoinette at Versailles (7 January 1979) Rudyard Kipling at Bateman's (14 January 1979) Saint Therese of Liseux (21 January 1979) The Duke of Wellington at Stratfield Saye (28 January 1979) The Brontes at Haworth (4 February 1979) Antonio Vivaldi in Venice (11 February 1979) Blue Peter Special Assignment - Rivers - 1981 Season: Presenters: Valerie Singleton (~) and Peter Purves (+) Producer: Edward Barnes Directors: David Turnbull, Sarah Hellings, David Hargreaves, Alex Leger
The Niagara River (~) (10 May 1981) The River Tweed (+) (17 May 1981) The Yukon River (~) (24 May 1981) The Singapore River (+) (31 May 1981) The River Tamar (+) (7 June