The team celebrate the art of words through books, poems, letters and music. Also, nine-year-old author Toby Little tells us all about his adventures in writing.
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This book is amazing, it's got everything you want
A spirited young redhead who will try her hand at anything.
And a comic genius with timing like no other.
Let's talk about this weekend. A very good event on in Birmingham
called Awesome Authors. We'll be there meeting loads
of your favourite authors and there will be tonnes
of events and activities So, to get us all in the mood,
today's Blue Peter is all about lovely, lively literature,
perfectly poetic publications Coming up, I was given
the opportunity to read out some of your legendary letters in front
of an audience of hundreds We're meeting a young author
with a unique story to tell. And later, I'll show you how you can
make one of these ingenious book But first I got the go-ahead
to gallivant with the guys at the glorious gathering of one
of the greatest gag-filled shows David Walliams is one of the most
popular authors in the country. His novel, Gangsta Granny, went straight
to number one in the book charts, then became a hit TV show, and now
it is a play. Which means that you will get the chance to see Gangsta
Granny onstage across the UK, just like this theatre here in Reading.
The show starts tomorrow. Tomorrow? Are they supposed to be ready
tomorrow? No chance! Hard to believe, but the travelling theatre
company at just 24 hours to transform this empty stage into the
wonderful world of David Walliams' book. To transform an empty space in
such a short period of time, it must be a real operation. What? That's
why we are here. To reveal how the team do it! OK, I need to get my
skates on. And next time, read my e-mails. Best get started. Deeney my
instructions is Ashley, who plays granny's grandson, Ben. We have 27
hours to get the show ready. How do you do it? We have a brilliant
technical team who worked very hard to make sure the show was ready.
Could I possibly see some of it? You can help out, if you like. Done. The
lighting and sound equipment are the first to go in. It is really
important to install them correctly because no matter how good the
performance is, it is pointless if the audience cannot see it or hear
it. In just a matter of hours, the team move on the set. This is work.
We are hanging a big cloth at the back of the stage, a tenancy neck.
The stages starting to come together and I am getting about actually
seeing the show. But the director has a surprise for me. I'm not sure
where I will be sitting but I am sure I will be in all. You want. --
you will not. We need you backstage to be helping out with the props and
scenery. You cannot rest. I thought this might happen. In fact, there is
actually a part that we want you to play in the show. We have some lines
for you. You are going to be a reporter in the show. Really?! Yes.
Amazing. So as well as hanging out behind the scenes and helping out,
I'm going to be performing in front of an audience onstage. It is the
end of day one and the pressure is on. It is the next morning and I
have got lots to do. I need to rehearse my very own part in the
show before that, I need to get to grips with my other job as a
stagehand. I need you to look after three props. One of them is this
giant spoon. I need you to hand that to granny. Granny runs over to the
rings and says, I was attacked by Bayer in the garden and I need you
to throw this on and she will catch it. Near the end of act one, Alison
runs off and I need you to hand this as quickly as possible. It is made
from matches. Will it survive a drop? No. I need to make sure I get
this right and practice perfect. Next job, I need to learn my lines.
From the Tower of London, we're here at the scene of this audacious
crime. And we're coming live from the Tower of London at the scene of
an audacious crime. It is a huge honour to be given a role in the
show. I just hope nerves don't get the better of me. And finally,
rehearsals are over. In just 24 hours, I have helped to this theatre
go from an empty stage to a full production. All that's left, for the
audience to arrive. The stage is set. I have to get the lines in my
head and make sure I do everything right. The cast is set. Wish us
luck. It is laid down, and it is showtime. On the stage, everything
is running smoothly but behind the scenes, it is cramped and a little
bit frantic. Don't talk about granny like that! The TV doesn't work. All
we do is replace the gravity. My bit is up! And the spoon and over is
complete. -- handover. I was attacked by a Bayer! Time for the
Bayer. A bit high. But at least I got the timing right. Don't drop the
castle, Radzi, down to drop the castle! Thank goodness for that! Now
it is time for my starring role. This is Blue Peter and we are alive
in the Tower of London, at the scene of an audacious crime which is
clearly been carried out by professional criminals. The question
is, can you help us?! That was so exciting! All that is left to do is
take a bow. My time with Gangsta Granny has been unforgettable but
for the rest of the crew, they cannot stop here. They have got
another town and another performance to get ready for. The show must go
on. I had such a fun couple of days. Those guys are all so impressive.
Something that always impresses us is how much post you send us from
all four corners of the country but can you imagine what it is like to
get post from all countries around the world? Well, one bluetit -- Blue
Peter badge holder knows exactly what that is like. Please welcome
Toby. Come on over. Welcome. Let's get one thing absolutely clear, you
have sent a letter to every single country around the world and as a
result, you have only got your own book! Look at that! That is
ridiculous, and how old are you? I am eight years old. I started
writing letters when I was five. That is amazing, and why did you
start? What gave you the idea to start writing to different
countries? I just wanted to make the world a better place. Good for you.
Can we have a round of applause for that?! How many replies have you
had? 375. That is a fool postbox. And you have had some replies from
some amazing places. Mongolia, Nigeria, Fiji! It's amazing. And
have you brought along some of your favourite replies? This one is
amazing. It's from Hawaii, but still asked why it is so special? That is
my first reply. And how did that feel, coming through the letterbox?
I was really amazed that somebody would reply to my letter. And after
that, I bet you thought, I want to do this more and more. And you have.
This is a lovely one. We know it is from Iran, but what is that
incredible creature? That is a Simorgh. I sent them a picture of a
yeti and they send this back to me. You are exchanging mythical
creatures! What a great idea. And now, talk us through these beautiful
elephants. Why are they so important? I got those from Chad,
from a national park. This elephant here is called Toby. So you casually
got an elephant named after you? Why not?! We need to write to suit some
more countries. I want an elephant. -- we need to write to some more
countries. This is a very colourful drawing. Where is that from? That is
from Eloise in New Zealand and it is an exploding rainbow. It is such a
cool pile of memorabilia. How do you normally celebrate your day of
birth? I go for a candle sometimes. But you took it further. Let's show
the viewers what you got for your birthday. We bottled it out. Look at
that! It says happy birthday, Toby. Tell us about this, where has it
been? This is from Antarctica. It has also been held up. The South
Pole! And you got a very special response from Blue Peter. Is that
one of your favourites? You have to say that, didn't you? And you have
got all your badgers. Let's look at your T-shirt. I am worried that it
is going to slip down because it is very happy with all the badges. You
have got so many! But you haven't got the Blue Peter sport badge,
2016, yet? Are you going to try to earn that? Yes. I have loads of
activities, so I might get one of those. What is your favourite sport?
I like basketball and dodge ball. I am a big basketball fan myself. Get
inspiring a friend and you will have the full collection. I don't have a
gold badge. Because that, of course, is for outstanding achievement, for
doing something very special indeed. And actually, Toby, we think that
you have done something incredibly special, because you have mentioned
it before, you are connecting the world with your letters, really
inspiring people. And we would like Blue Peter viewers to do exactly the
same thing. For that reason, we have something very special for you, the
highest possible accolade we can give you, the gold badge. My
goodness. Please, and massive round of applause for Toby. That is for
you, my friend. Is that a good surprise? Yes. How does it feel to
be holding a gold badge. Really amazing. Well done, you have
inspired Radzi and everyone watching. Toby, everybody. Amazing.
What a lovely moment. From letters on the big stage
to letters on the Badge Wall. This is the Freemasons Hall in
London and is today it will be home to some of the biggest stars from
the world of film and books. But it is not for
an awards ceremony, a contract or a film premiere. It is for these,
letters. Inspired by the international bestselling book,
Letters of Note, this project has seen the likes of Cally Minogue, Sir
Ben Kingsley and Benedict Cumberbatch read letters written
from all around the world. And today, they have been joined by
letters from you, the Blue Peter viewers. Every year, we get letters
from you and we love them so much that when we were asked to read some
of them out at this amazing event, we jumped at the task -- jumped at
the chance. You are probably wondering who is going to be reading
out those letters? Sir Ian McKellen? No, and you might have noticed that
I am looking a little nervous. And that is because in a few hours I
will be standing on that stage reading out Blue Peter letters in
front of a massive crowd including a list stars. No pressure (!) I better
get practising! I wondered if I could earn two Blue Peter badge is.
But in an age of text and e-mails, why are letters still so important?
I met up with Shaun Marsh, whose love of letters was the inspiration
for his book and this event. When you sit down to write a letter,
you are different frame of mind to when you write an e-mail, or a text
message and it uses a different part of your brain. What do you think
makes a really brilliant letter? There are no rules. Any letter is
great. Such a satisfying experience to physically write them and send
and receive them. Sean's passion really shines through and it is
shared with my fellow readers. It is important not to forget letters, a
big part of my childhood. Something very secretive about the envelope,
for you. It is good training for writing, actually. I used to write a
lot of letters and I'm a writer. Stories and how to build them. Texts
are great things but they are not necessarily there to stand the test
of time. Any tips for me? I think that you'll be fine. I have sweaty
hands! Just read! You'll be fine. As the auditorium fills up and I
prepared for my performance, the nerves are really starting to kick
in. First up, Caroline, who makes it look so easy. Please come back.
APPLAUSE I'm going on straight after Gandalf
himself, Sir Ian McKellen. Talk about big shoes to fill. Please
welcome, Lindsay Russell. Can I do the Blue Peter letters justice?
Well, there's only one way to find out. 4th of January, 2016. I
wondered if I could earn two Blue Peter badges by sending in Mike
Shelley the tour test toy I made with an old sock. -- my Shelley the
tour test. Maybe I will write random words, like antithesis. --
daughters. I think that's how you spell it. I love philosophical
questions like this. Never mind, enjoy the tortoise, from Rachel,
aged 13. APPLAUSE
You know what, that was so, so fun. Actually, I'm a bit shaky. I went
out, huge audience, really scary, but we did it, it's brilliant, loved
it. Today has been so much fun and it's made me relies how much a
letter can mean to someone. -- made me realise. When you want to say
something to a friend or a family member who lives a long way away,
put down your mobile phone, close your laptop and pick up one of
these, they will not it. I was quite nervous but I got through it, thank
goodness. From letters on the stage to letters on the Big Badge Wall. I
want to thank you, Finley, for your picture. This is Finley, his Hamlet.
Very nice. Benn from Warrington has sent this.
"Lindsey ran the marathon, But Shelley couldn't manage one.
Radzi raced a bike and won and Barney said I wanted one!"
I want one. Write an cue. Bethany has written a poem and a T-shirt,
which is a really good idea. -- right on cue. With the Blue Peter
sign. "In one of their epic makes,
they might show you how to bake cakes, or of course you could win,
A dead-cool pin With the Blue Peter sign,
it's even better than sunshine!" If you want to earn a bad, send it
to the usual address. We haven't been playing Spot Shelley because
Shelley has gone missing. Where has she gone? Fear not, she has left us
a little letter. Yes, decipher the code in question, use your code
cracking skills, go to the fan club and get more clues about where she
is. Write it down and see if you are correct. I'm giving you this, the
time of this show when I'm going to put on some white gloves. In keeping
with the book team we have some special artefacts in the studio,
from the friend of the show and gold badge holder, Michael Morpurgo. He
wrote the incredible War Horse, which pretty much everybody loves.
It was a book and moved on to be a play at the National Theatre and
eventually it was the amazing film directed by Stephen Spielberg. You
can see loads of artefacts we have been loaned by seven Stories, the
National Centre for Children's Books in Newcastle, so we are very lucky
to have them here. We have some of the promotional material from Nick
Stafford's production of War Horse, we have the original programme and
the UK premier programme of the film. As we move over here, we have
Michael Morpurgo's actual script from War Horse. I'm getting close
but I can't touch them directly because they have to be kept in very
good condition for years to come so that other people can enjoy them.
Something I can have a closer look at is down here, the first draft of
War Horse. Michael has made his amazing notes, he has crossed bits
out is and he used two notebooks. We have one of them here, the other one
is at the exhibition for people do have a look at. The always used
handwriting, with a pencil, crossing bits out, getting rid of bits. This
is chapter 19 here. When he stopped using these notebooks: Michael would
often move on to these, these orange notepads. You can see that there are
many scribbles, numbers, because apparently Michael liked working
towards a word count, so you can see he is working out how many words he
has done and how many he needs to reach before he can have a cup of
tea. Really cool to see that. Down here, the first typed draft of War
Horse and you can see it is typed out but there are still lots of
markings, adding bits and getting rid of bits he is unhappy with and
it is even dated and the top. And in the Blue Peter studio, a treat,
this, from 1982, a first edition of War Horse. Taking us back to 2009, I
think I'm allowed to pick this one out, this is Michael Morpurgo's
actual ticket to the War Horse film premiere. It is very cool to be
holding it. It has been an honour to have some of these artefacts in the
studio today and brilliant to think that when you are at home scribbling
ideas, it could be just like Michael Morpurgo's ideas, ending up as a
massive success. It shows, have a go at writing because you never know
where it will get you. Now I'm going to take off my gloves.
I'm going to show you how to make a bookmark. We have some bookmarks
which are 3-D. Don't worry, nobody is chapter inside! You need to make
some salt dough. We take the mixing bowl and the
spoon. You put them all into the bowl and you add the water gradually
otherwise it will end up in a big slump. You mix it for ages, so
cancel your plans for the weekend! When you have done that, it will
look like this. Ready-made dough, how lovely is that? The idea is that
we must kneed it for a long time. I'm sure some bakers are wondering
what I'm doing, but we aren't making a cake we are making all dough.
Kneed as long as you can to make its move. Today we are making some
pirate themed bookmarks, like Long John Silver from treasure Island.
You need to make them stand up, and for that you need these things.
You can also download this really handy template from the Blue Peter
website. It gives you a guide to the size and also the designs if you're
looking for inspiration. Also, a good tip is to leave them in a
plastic wallet, so you can put things on top and it won't stick to
the paper. So, take the lollipop sticks and dough and you make a ball
on the bottom of the stick and you mould it into shape, using your
hands to start off with. When you are doing this, think about the
bottom of the dough because you need some to make the boot, so don't make
it too in. Try and give yourself loads of dough at the end. -- too
thin. To make it more wooden and angular, you can use pencils, pens
and other things from around the house. Nothing too Charb because the
dough is going to be soft. -- Sharp. This will give it a square edge.
When you have done it it will look like this. You want to take some
design elements, like the straps and the top of the boot and I had some
extra salt. Put it in a strip. You can see it has angular edges. You
can use it lengthways or the edge. I'm going to do this. So that is the
rich for the laces. You can see that I have done the indent, which is
where the buck always going to go. The gold buckle. -- the buckle is
going to go. Once you are happy, you need to put them together to drive.
This is the science bit. Because if they aren't dry, you can't paint
them. You can leave them overnight or you can do a ten second blast in
the microwave. Get somebody to help you with that if you aren't sure, or
you can put them in the oven at 100 degrees, but keep checking them.
When they have hardened, you can walk with them, they are ready for
painting. I'm going to paint my boot back. Because pink would be weird!
I'm just showing you how to do this quickly, you can take your time. I
love painting boots because it looks like they are polished when they are
wet will stop I'm going to do that bit black and we have a Pirate boot,
it is going to have some gold on it. Pirates like old. I could do this
for hours, but you will have more time than me. Let's go to the
finished boot and wooden leg. How good do they look? You can spend
ages doing what I would do, dances and choreography or you can turn
into the finished bookmark which is where you need your card, which is a
piece of a fort that has been cut in half. -- a piece of A4. You put this
year and this here and you put a bit of tape over the top. This is where
you realise whether you have the lollipop stick the right way. It has
to go in horizontally because if it is the other way round, you can't
close your book. You can decorate your card anyway you like. I'm going
to go with the stick on pirate, and some double sided tape on one side,
to make it easy to assemble it. You stick it together like that. And
there you have it, the finished bookmark with a boot and a wooden
leg and a pirate face. How good is that? I don't get a round of
applause any more! APPLAUSE
There are loads of different creations you can make by going
online and downloading the templates. This is what they looked
like when they are finished. It depends what you are reading, you
might be finishing your favourite book which doesn't have these
things. That's how you do it. What do you think? We love it! They would
make any book look special. That is it for today because next weekend we
have two more shows because it is the Blue Peter Awesome Authors
spectacular. The likes of David Baddiel, Holly Smale will be there.
If you want to go to the website and asked them a question, we will ask
them as many as we can. And we will announce the dream big and petition.
Just in time for the BFG Premier -- competition. Who knows what story
you might end up with. In the meantime, go to the BP Fanclub and
see a view can crack the code to find Shelley. See you soon!
The team celebrate the art of words through books, poems, letters and music! Lindsey reads out some of your Blue Peter letters at the prestigious Letters Live. Radzi visits the team behind Gangsta Granny and Barney shows you how to make an ingenious bookmark for your favourite book. Plus nine-year-old author Toby Little tells us all about his adventures in writing!