OXFORDSHIRE resident Lindsey Russell landed “the best job in TV” when she was picked as the next Blue Peter presenter.

Ms Russell, 22, who lives near Abingdon, became the 36th host of the show after winning a viewers’ vote.

The news came during an edition of the show being broadcast in front of a live audience and she will join the programme in September.

Ms Russell beat Ben Hunte, a 21-year-old psychology graduate from East London, and Freddie Ingleby, a rowing coach raised on a farm.

She said: “I couldn’t believe it. I felt shocked, happy and then I wanted to cry.”

Ms Russell moved to Oxfordshire from America when she was seven and lives with her parents and two brothers aged 16 and 21.

She said: “My parents were happy and proud. They were also relieved after what had been a long process.

“My older brother who is also at Bristol University just couldn’t stop crying.”

Ms Russell, who attended St Helen and St Katharine School in Abingdon, was chosen from 20,000 applicants.

She said: “I’ve always loved to perform. I started making silly videos at home at seven and did school drama.”

She studied French and drama at Bristol University and graduated last week with a 2:1.

She had to juggle her finals with the CBBC series Blue Peter – You Decide as ten hopefuls were put through their paces by a panel including Eamonn Holmes and Myleene Klass.

Challenges included painting Blackpool Tower, eating deep-fried cockroaches, building a raft and tackling an assault course while blindfolded.

She said winning the show meant she didn’t have to grow up and go into the “boring adult world” after uni.

She said: “I had to do things outside my comfort zone but it’s the best job in TV so there was a good motivation.”

She will be the 36th host and will join Barney Harwood and Helen Skelton in the series which celebrates its 55th birthday this year.


  • Blue Peter is the longest-running children’s programme in the world and was first broadcast for 15 minutes on October 16, 1958.
  • The show is named after the blue-and-white flag flown on a ship’s yard arm to show it is ready to go to sea – suggesting a voyage of discovery for viewers.
  • The Blue Peter badge was introduced in 1963.
  • John Noakes presented the programme for 12 and a half years from 1965 to 1978. 
  • The Blue Peter garden was launched at the BBC Television Centre in 1974.
  • Among the Blue Peter pets there have been eight dogs, five tortoises, nine cats and two parrots.
  • Yvette Fielding, who was 18 when she joined the show in 1987, is the youngest ever presenter.
  • Blue Peter appeals have helped buy 32 ponies, 25 lifeboats, eight flats for homeless people, two guide dogs and two day centres.