The BBC recently posted a brilliant piece of Star Wars history that we’ve been watching on a permanent loop since it dropped. The video features cast and characters from The Empire Strikes Back visiting the studio of children’s TV show Blue Peter.
During the six minutes of small-screen magic, the stars pet animals, eat stew, tease Revenge of the Jedi, and preview the prequels, while R2-D2 runs over beloved studio dog Goldie. It’s brilliantly bonkers.
What is Blue Peter?
Blue Peter is the longest-running children’s show in TV history. First broadcast on the BBC in 1958, it’s a magazine-style programme that aims to both educate and entertain, with presenters doing arts and crafts, taking on challenges, making food, and throwing a spotlight on important causes. The show also featured music, celebrity guests, and live performances.
They also awarded a ‘Blue Peter Badge’ to viewers and fans who appeared on the show or in recognition of great achievements. Which became something of a ‘Holy Grail’ to generations of children who watched the show.
The Star Wars visit occurred in 1980, when the presenters were Simon Groom, Christopher Wenner, Sarah Greene and Tina Heath, while the studio dog was a beautiful Golden Retriever called Goldie. Who was normally pretty chilled out…
What Happened When Star Wars Visited?
It’s quite a surreal package. The footage kicks off with the presenters introducing “some of the most famous robots since the Daleks” in the shape of R2-D2 and C-3PO. Though it doesn’t go particularly well. As previously mentioned, R2 ploughs into the sleeping Goldie, causing the normally placid dog to storm off looking understandably annoyed. And C-3PO doesn’t say a word, suggesting Anthony Daniels was busy that day.
Chewbacca is then introduced and described — in classic Blue Peter style — as one of only three people that height in Britain. Followed by Darth Vader, who joins proceedings as Chris stumbles over a description of actor David Prowse’s weight-lifting career.
The show then cuts to the couch, where Carrie Fisher is holding a tortoise, and Mark Hamill is stroking a cat. They discuss shooting the movie, and are then made to eat a “piping hot” Star Wars Stew, made up of classic space ingredients sausages, baked beans, onions, tomatoes, sweetcorn, chips, potatoes and cheese.
Carrie and Mark smile while they consume the stew, but you can tell they want to spit it out.
Teasing Revenge of the Jedi and Prequel Plans
As all good Star Wars fans know, Return of the Jedi was originally titled Revenge of the Jedi, and that’s how both Hamill and Fisher refer to it when describing future plans for the franchise.
Hamill then goes on to explain: “We finish off this trilogy then we go back 20 years and we do the story of young Darth Vader and the young Alec Guinness character. And in the third film — which precedes Star Wars — Luke is about five or six years old — so maybe one of your Blue Peter viewers will be up for the role.”
Of course, that prequel trilogy didn’t happen until many years later. But what’s interesting about that quote is that Hamill claims the third film will feature kid Luke Skywalker, which of course it very much does not. Suggesting George Lucas had very different plans for Episode III back in 1980.