Featuring information, topical items and performance. Celebrity photographer Rankin shares his secrets to taking the perfect portrait. Plus, a Doctor Who exclusive.
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Coming up on today's live Blue Peter,
from micro pigs to blue tongued skinks,
we reveal the cleverest animals at Britain's largest pet show.
His legs will grow into his body. This is evolution in progress.
He's photographed everyone from Adele to the Queen,
now celebrity photographer Rankin tells you
his secrets for taking the perfect portrait.
Plus, a Doctor Who exclusive, we will be revealing a brand-new
mini-episode, written by three Blue Peter viewers.
-What was your favourite part of the story?
I like that you brought in a Weeping Angel.
-Which are my favourite monster.
Welcome to Blue Peter, welcome to you and welcome to the cats!
-Socks and Cookie here, everybody.
-It's nice to see you, boys.
Barney's a little bit offended, clearly.
He's over the moon they're back in the studio(!)
"I'm out of here! Cats, who wants to know?"
These two cats are the most showbiz you will ever find in TV,
in fact, only a couple of days ago,
they took centre stage at one of the biggest pet shows in Britain.
Some viewers went along to say hello and give them a stroke as well.
I think Socks and Cookie really have got it sussed.
They sit around looking pretty,
getting pampered all day by their adoring fans, and us!
But with so many animals at the pet show,
were they the cleverest ones there?
We sent Naomi Wilkinson from Live & Deadly to find out.
It's the biggest pet show in Britain,
where hundreds of pets will spend the weekend being stroked,
groomed and applauded by over 16,000 visitors.
You're a bit different to other cats!
This is the London Pet Show, and I'm about to meet its two biggest stars.
You may not recognise them outside the Blue Peter studio,
but these are none other than our own lovable felines,
Socks and Cookie.
But what goes on inside that ridiculously cute and fluffy head?
A cat's brain might be over 45 times smaller than ours,
but they are super clever in their own way.
A cat can measure its surroundings just by using its whiskers.
They are very good at finding their way home and, if they fall,
they can adjust their body so they always land on their feet.
Plus, they never need a bath like you or I do.
That's because they have got tiny hooks on their tongue
that act like a hairbrush,
so they can clean their whole body without water.
That is pretty smart!
So, cats are brainy, but are they the cleverest pet at the show?
My mission is to find out.
Pets come in all shapes and sizes,
but more and more people are keeping farmyard animals as family pets.
Look at these guys, they are called micro pigs.
They are exactly like a normal pig, but they are half the size.
Does that mean they are half as clever?
Let's ask experienced micro pig breeder Olivia.
It's believed the pigs are highly intelligent. In fact,
they might be the fourth most intelligent animal.
There's only 2% difference in DNA between humans and pigs.
A pig's brain is about the size of a clenched fist
and a micro pig's brain is even smaller than that.
But Olivia thinks micro pigs are just as clever as normal pigs,
pointing to their strong memories as evidence.
They can remember humans, other animals,
pigs will only do their toilets far from where they eat,
they have a designated toilet area, which makes them very clean.
Do they have any other skills that prove their intelligence?
Pigs are natural escape artists. So if you are going to keep pigs,
you have to have very strong fencing.
They will find the weakest point and they will escape.
So, pretty clever and very cute.
With their excellent memory, clean toilet habits
and escape artist skills, micro pigs get four clever points out of five.
Not too far from the traditional farm animals is a tropical jungle.
This is the area where all the exotic pets are kept.
I am talking chameleons, snakes, lizards, spiders.
Surely there has got to be some serious brainpower here.
And if anyone knows, it's this guy.
Crocodile Joe is an expert in everything
from 13-foot boa constrictors to poisonous tarantulas,
so who better to fill me in on the smartest exotic pet?
This is a blue tongued skink. These animals come from Australia.
-It's like a cross between a lizard and the snake.
Look at his skin.
He has got scales exactly like a snake, not of a lizard.
He is actually evolving into a snake.
His legs will grow into his body.
It has taken millions of years for him to get like that.
But this is evolution in progress.
The skink gets its name from its blue tongue,
which it uses as a defence mechanism.
He will stick his tongue out - bleurgh! Like that.
Just to deter other predators that are going to try and eat him.
'and all that from an animal with a brain the size of a baked bean.
'But Joe is not finished yet.'
This one has actually lost the end of his tail.
It's usually about here, and that's another defence mechanism.
What he'll do, he'll shake his tail, the tail will come off,
the predator will come up and eat the tail
and that gives him the opportunity to get away.
He is actually regenerating, regrowing his tail.
And he will get his tail back within about two years.
-Wow, you are a clever little thing.
-He is smart, really clever.
With its ingenious defence mechanisms,
the blue tongued skink is smarter than it looks,
so we are giving it three clever points out of five.
Over at the arena, everything from bouncing bunnies to
duck-herding dogs are performing for the crowds.
But there is one performer that has honed its skills to the max,
Levi the dog.
Mary, I have got to try and find the cleverest animal here today.
-How intelligent is Levi?
-Levi is very intelligent.
He knows lots of things, lots of words, lots of actions.
The brain of a medium-sized dog is around 20 times smaller than
a human's, yet Levi has learned hundreds of commands
and can even perform with the added pressure of a live audience.
He might take commands from you,
-but will he take instructions from me?
-Yeah, sure he will.
'I am going to have a go at doing one of Levi's signature moves.
'It's called the beg.'
The command is both. Both!
-And then, face.
Even in his expression, you can see how alert he is,
-just watching you for the commands.
'And now, my turn.'
Shout his name first to get his attention.
Levi! Levi! Sit!
-Put your hand up.
-Can I give him some sausage?
You deserve a piece of sausage for that. Amazing! Well done, well done!
'Levi can follow complicated instructions from a complete
'novice like me to put on a star performance.
'That's pretty impressive work and very clever,
'so I'm giving Levi five clever points out of five.
'After searching high and low for the cleverest pet at the show,
'our winner has to be Levi, with an impressive five points.
'Although I'm pretty sure the real winners are Socks and Cookie.
'Could life get any better for them?'
We are so doing that at parties - brilliant!
Now I know how Barney the dog feels. Absolutely victimised!
Right. One of the best ways
to stimulate your pets' brains is by playing with them.
So that's exactly what we're going to do now.
Cookie, you'll enjoy this.
We're going to road-test three of the latest products designed
to stimulate your cats' brains. This is called the Bubble Buddy.
You pull the trigger and bubbles come out the end of it.
Now, these have been specifically designed
so they're pet friendly, they won't sting.
And also, they are bacon scented,
-cos we all know that cats love bacon!
-He likes it!
We tried this earlier, by the way, and this is what happened.
There you are, Cookie, look, bubbles!
This of course is mental stimulation.
We're trying to get the brain going.
And cats like bubbles, so it works really well.
I like bubbles, even more so now they've got bacon-flavoured ones!
The next one is the laser pen. As you can see, very effective already!
This is the typical laser
you'll have seen before at school, but don't point it in anyone's eyes.
-Oh, Cookie loves this!
-But as you can see, point it at the floor
and you get this kind of thing going on. Go on, Cookie!
We did this earlier on as well, it was just as effective.
This is brilliant.
We weren't expecting you to perform when the red light came on!
This is particularly good,
because the laser is in the shape of a mouse. So, that's working well.
Here you go. Socks, however, is not too bothered.
Not at all, just enjoying the day. "Hello, I'm Socks.
"I am the king of my throne." Let's look at the Tweeties Wobbler.
This is the third one we're testing today.
Basically, in the wild, cats use their hearing to catch their prey.
And now that their food turns up on a plate or in a bowl,
they don't really need to do that.
This stimulates that part of the brain. And Cookie is demonstrating
beautifully how effective the laser pen still is!
He's more interested in the laser.
Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa!
That's how to stimulate your cat's brain, put a dog in the room!
You will see your cat achieve new land speed records, everybody.
There is a Cookie-shaped hole in the door.
I will go and rescue the cat
while Barney tells you what's coming up on the rest of today's show.
What a ledge.
'He's the celebrity photographer of our time and he's my hero.
'Rankin reveals his secrets to taking the perfect portrait.'
Plus, we give you the inside story
on an exclusive mini-episode of Doctor Who.
Now, using my love for photography over the past year,
we've put together a Blue Peter calendar...
-He's not talking to us.
-He's still in a mood.
Honestly, we do love you. Check this out, it's fun.
We've put a calendar together that you can download
from the Blue Peter website, and every month it has
a different technique or a different discipline in photography.
We've had macro-photography, light painting, and today
we're doing portrait photography and...
-DROWNED OUT BY BARKING
-Why don't you just tell them?
I am so excited. I don't even think
there's a word for how excited I am today.
I'm getting to meet my photography hero.
He's called Rankin, the coolest and most famous photographer on earth,
and I can't believe I'm going to say this, he has agreed to help me
take the perfect portrait photograph for the Blue Peter calendar.
Excuse me a second.
Rankin became well-known after founding an uber-trendy magazine
and then started to make a name for himself
as the celebrity portrait photographer of our time.
Snapping the likes of Harry Potter actress Emma Watson,
singer Adele and R&B legend Jay-Z.
When you take a portrait photograph, you have to get quite close
and intimate to the person you're taking the photo of.
Whoa, close enough!
This can make them feel quite awkward,
which in turn makes it quite tricky to get the right shot.
So, I have come to Rankin's London studio to get his top tips
on how to get the best from your subject.
You know how when you go to a party
and you find out as you arrive they've got a bouncy castle?
That's how I feel round about now.
-I'm very good, yeah.
Such an honour to meet you, thanks for having me here today.
I think you're most famous for the celebrity portraits that you do.
So, you've got a studio,
you've got a subject right in front of you. Would you take my photo?
-You want me to take your photograph?
What can I do with you?
I don't know, you've got a lot to work with, haven't you?
'While Rankin snaps away, I pick his brain for his portrait secrets.'
Obviously you have a lot of experience in this.
What is it you're looking for while you're doing this?
I'm looking for a kind of connection between you and the camera.
I always say to people, look through the lens, don't look at it.
Imagine you're talking to somebody with your eyes.
-There you go.
What happens if you get a celebrity in here who is quite
difficult to work with? How do you play that?
There are techniques you can use, to deal with difficult people.
Try and make them laugh, try and make a fool out of yourself first
to make them feel a bit comfortable, that always helps.
Try and just treat them like normal people,
which is what I tried to do with the Queen.
I saw her laughing and I thought, that's what I wanted,
I wanted you to be the person.
That's what we really relate to,
we don't relate to celebrity, we relate to real people.
Even when I'm photographing people that are not famous, I would always
let them have a look at the screen and talk them through the ideas.
I think if you do that you get the best out of people.
'So, the key to taking the perfect portrait is to
'make your subject feel comfortable enough to show you the real them.
'Clearly, Rankin knows what he's doing, because he's captured
'that cheeky sparkle in my eyes.'
I think that's good.
For me, there is a moment
where you've relaxed and you're looking and...
I don't know, it's a bit more intimate.
'But for the calendar I want a photo that I've taken myself
'using Rankin's tips. And I've got an idea.'
What I thought we'd do for the Blue Peter calendar is do
a self-portrait, so you angle your own camera,
sitting down, taking a picture
of yourself. Which is very different to what
-me and you have just done. What's the best approach?
-It can be funny.
-You can do a funny idea.
-Cross-eyes, all that kind of thing?
Yeah, you can have fun with it. The reason I actually do self-portraits
is to remind myself what it's like to be the other side of the camera.
OK, so we're all set up. We have the camera, the lights
and something to sit on. Now we need to know how to take it. Any tips?
Get a family member or a best friend to come in and just give you a hand.
They're going to have to sit in, to show you where you'll frame up.
The second thing is to make sure your light makes you look good.
You want to look cool.
The third thing is, once you're ready to shoot,
imagine you're looking through the lens at the person.
You're talking to them with your eyes.
-And then, just have fun.
-OK, let's give it a go.
'To take my self-portrait, I'm using Rankin's fancy equipment.
'This lead connects to his very high-tech camera, to take the shot.
'But if you want to take a self-portrait at home
'all you need is a camera, or a camera-phone, with a timer on it.'
That's really funny, that one.
'And you can be as crazy as you like with your poses, and even use props
-'to bring out your personality.'
How about the one where I'm leaning forwards, doing a proper laugh?
'After 20 minutes and about a million clicks,
'it's time to pick a calendar image for June.'
-That one. I like that one a lot.
-Yeah, I love that.
-Thank you very much. There you have it.
It's been such a pleasure. Thank you so much for that.
Get out there and start taking photos - and enjoy yourself.
I had such a good time. You can tell, can't you?
Rankin, thank you so much.
I love that everybody else now knows you do this when you're excited.
-Yes, I let myself down a bit there.
-No, you didn't. It was good fun.
If you want Barney's calendar or just a cool picture,
head to the Blue Peter website and you can print off your own copy.
At the bottom, there's a brand-new game you can play.
All you have to do is click on my face. I'll explain all.
It's CBBC Stare-Out competition. You have to stare out celebrity stars
like Tracy Beaker, Young Dracula and Ian and Hacker.
More recently, you can see my ugly mush.
If you click on it, then go to "play with webcam",
the computer is set up to monitor your face
and it will watch to see when you blink.
If you do blink, then it will give the game away
-before you have the chance to cheat.
-This game never gets boring.
I am extremely good at this game. I have not been beaten yet at this.
So you really do have your work cut out... Aww, busted!
You are so predictable, Barney Howard. Speaking of competitions,
earlier this year we helped Doctor Who launch a competition
inviting you to write a film for Doctor Who, which would be made.
Hundreds of schools got involved and load of Blue Peter viewers
and now the winner has finally been announced.
We are only moments away from a world exclusive -
the first play of this mini-episode, written by viewers.
Let's find out what happens when a writing dream becomes reality.
-Hi, I'm Rebecca.
-Hi, I'm Livvie.
-And I'm Emily, and we won
the Doctor Who script-to-screen competition.
Today, we've come down to the studios in Cardiff
to watch our script being made into a real film.
And meet the Time Lord himself.
DOCTOR: Now, now, now. Hang on. That was meant to happen.
As part of our prize, we've got the chance to have a studio tour.
And we're in the TARDIS.
It feels so weird to actually be on the real Doctor Who set
and see the actors in the show, like Matt Smith, who plays the Doctor...
System's malfunctioning. We could be crash landing!
..and Karen Gillan, who is his trusty assistant, Amy Pond.
'But before we get to meet the big stars, we are going to talk to
'Doctor Who producers Marcus and Caroline,
'who helped to judge the competition,
'to find out why they chose our script as the winner.'
What were you looking for in the script?
We were looking for something that typified Doctor Who stories -
it had action, adventure, a monster,
good banter between the Doctor and Amy,
and also had the Olympic themes, as well.
Your script had all of these things. It was great.
What was your favourite part of our story?
What you did really brilliantly
was to absolutely get the perfect voice for Matt Smith as the Doctor.
That just made us really laugh out loud when we read it.
What does it take to become a scriptwriter?
You've got to keep on writing.
You don't need to wait until you grow up,
just keep on writing and believe that you can do it.
-The girls head back to set just as rehearsals are finishing
and the real filming is about to begin.
-Adventure, it is!
What's happening? What did you just do?
-It's so weird seeing them saying the words we wrote.
-I can't believe it!
I set the TARDIS to adventure setting.
We don't want you to see too much yet, though.
We don't want to spoil the story.
-Besides, it's time to go and talk to Matt and Karen now.
-What was your favourite part of the story?
My favourite part of the story is, I think, the Olympic athlete
bursting in out of nowhere, cos I'm very excited about the Olympics.
-I liked that you brought in a Weeping Angel!
-My favourite monster.
-Have you enjoyed practising it?
-Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
That is one of the good bits, isn't it?
We've been rehearsing it this morning,
running around, trying different things.
-Yes, it is really fun.
-It is very well written,
so it makes our jobs easier.
Do you find the Weeping Angels as scary as we do?
Yes! Absolutely! They are my favourite monster
and, I think, the scariest monster.
'Speaking of those
'creepy, weepy Angels, one makes an appearance in our story.
'Time to meet one for real.'
Well, not quite for real.
We are on our make-up prosthetics trailer
and we are now making a Weeping Angel.
'This is Sarah, who is playing the Weeping Angel in our film today.'
What I'm mixing up here is our splatter pigments.
When we're painting skin, we always do it stipple effect,
which means we get a brush and start flicking it on.
It gives a lovely stone effect.
Next, Charlie uses an airbrush to make the veins in the stone.
He finishes off the detail with a fine brush.
Then it's off to set, ready for the studio.
OK, we've got our ten-minute call to be on set.
We have ten minutes to get Sarah dressed up in our Weeping Angel.
Then, it is into the stone skirt
and the creepy angel mask gets stuck on...followed by the hair...
OK, I'm going to put the eyepieces in.
..and finally, every angel needs her wings!
But you will have to stay tuned to find out how this angel
appears in the girls' story, because we're not giving anything away.
'It's been an amazing day, watching our film being made.'
If you want to see how it turned out, don't go anywhere.
It's about to have its premiere, here on Blue Peter!
And remember, don't blink!
-Even the music puts me on edge!
We've been joined by our fabulous writers.
-Huge congratulations, girls. You must be so chuffed.
You got to go down and see the set. Was it what you expected?
No, it was much bigger.
And you got to meet Matt and Karen. They seemed really nice to you,
but what were they like on set? Were they nice just for the cameras?
-No, they were playing tig around the consoles.
-What are you doing?
-You said we were going to watch a movie.
-Are you sharing that?
Typical! Right, ladies, this is your big moment.
Take it away. Introduce your film.
Here is our Doctor Who film, Good As Gold.
Doctor, it says in the Intrepid Universe Traveller handbook
that to properly call yourself a space traveller,
you're supposed to have an adventure at least once a week.
-Well, but we haven't had an adventure in ages.
You're absolutely right. Adventure, it is!
Ooh! What was that? What did you just do?
Exactly what you asked me to. I set the TARDIS to Adventure Setting!
-Sure you didn't set it to Kill Amy and the Doctor Setting?
Hang on. That was meant to happen!
-So was that.
-I'm sure it was.
Perhaps I should take it down, just a smidge.
-What is it?
-System's malfunctioning! TARDIS crashing!
-OK, TARDIS going down in three...two...one...landing!
So, where are we, Einstein?
I'm not quite sure. It appears as though we've landed
in the middle of an Olympic running track.
Where am I?
-And what the heck's happened to your hair?
-Yes, yes, yes.
Erm, from the look of you, you're an Olympic torch bearer,
London 2012, if I'm not mistaken. I'm the Doctor, this is Amy,
and welcome to my spaceship, the TARDIS.
Oh, and my hair? Well, that's a story for another time.
Wait! There was something chasing me.
That's why I didn't see your...box.
BOTH: Don't blink!
Hey! How did it do that?
-Oh, my God, Doctor, what's it doing?
-Trying to steal the Olympic flame
and destroy the very spirit of respect,
excellence and friendship it represents.
Well, at least, it's trying to.
Wow! Thanks, Doctor. Better get going, though.
I've got to light the Olympic flame!
-Here, you deserve this.
-Ah, thank you very much!
-Good as gold you are, Doctor. Bye.
Right, where were we? Ah yes, adventure...
-It strikes me that you're happy.
-Are you happy?
-Was that what you expected?
Congratulations, ladies. You certainly deserve it. Well done.
The Doctor definitely deserves a gold badge. We love this,
because it's got the Olympic theme.
This Saturday sees the start of our new morning show,
-Blue Peter's Big Olympic Tour.
Starting on Saturday, Barney and I will be following
the Olympic torch all over the country.
We'll be in Caerphilly. You can find us at 9.00am on the CBBC channel.
He's having a sugar rush! From 10.00am, if you are anywhere near,
come and see us, as there'll be loads of things you can try out -
sporting activities. Here is a peek at what to expect.
9.00am this Saturday, the start of Blue Peter's Big Olympic Torch,
coming live from Caerphilly in Wales,
this new series is your ultimate guide to this summer's Games.
We'll be joined by one of Britain's greatest Olympians,
Sir Steve Redgrave.
COMMENTATOR: Great Britain get the gold medal!
GB hurdles star Dai Green gives us an exclusive tour of the track.
As soon as that gun goes, I'm thinking, "Run as fast as you can,
"attack the first hurdle."
And we take on four of our celebrity friends
in our Blue Peter Olympic Challenge.
You do not want to miss it!
I think Romeo is hiding his eyes. Who rocks up wearing shades?
Over the next few Saturdays, we hope to meet lots of you.
We'll be heading from Caerphilly to Belfast, then Dumbarton,
Sunderland, Burnley, Wolverhampton, Saffron Walden, the Isle of Wight
and East London.
If you are anywhere near, do come down and say hello.
-There's loads of things for you to try your hand at.
-For more details,
go to the Blue Peter website...
If you can't find where we're going to be,
look out for the massive red trifle biscuits in the sky.
That's where we're going to be.
That almost it for today.
-Next Thursday, we've got lots of Jubilee excitement.
-I cannot wait.
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee is not far away,
so we will have our very own Jubilee garden party.
We'll have games, food
and some celebrity guests.
Yes, including Gary Barlow
and Sara Cox. Gary Barlow will be telling us
all about the pop concert
that he is putting on for the Queen's birthday.
That looks absolutely phenomenal. You feel ill now, don't you?
Feel a bit sick. Don't eat that much popcorn in one go.
If you are around, come and see us. If not, we'll see you next week.
-Have a good one.
He's photographed everyone from Katy Perry to the Queen. Now celebrity photographer Rankin lets you know his secrets to taking the perfect portrait.
Plus, a Doctor Who world exclusive. We'll be premiering a brand new mini-episode written by three Blue Peter viewers.