Short Story Competition and Africa Blue Peter

Short Story Competition and Africa

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Coming up today: Have you been watching Africa on BBC One? How did


they get those amazing shots? The directors are here to show you how


they got the pictures. Young Bond author Charlie Higson is


APPLAUSE Hello. That was a good move. How


are you doing? Blue Peter is live today and we have lots to cram in.


If you like animals, you are in for a treat. The BBC is showing a


brand-new wildlife series called Africa. It is made using some of


the newest technology in the world. We are talking about - come back


here - we have some of those new cameras - we will talk about them


later. It is a brand-new series. If you haven't seen it, where have you


been?! Have a look at this. You It is stunning! I have never seen


anything like that. I had no idea that giraffes fought like that.


Never seen anything like it! Two of the team from BBC Africa are with


us. Felicity and Nick! APPLAUSE Hello. As it is your first time on


the show, let's present you with your Blue Peter Badges. They are


stick-on. Congratulations on such a fantastic series. I am hooked.


Felicity, why does Africa make such a good place for this kind of show?


The first thing we realised about Africa was that Africa is huge.


It's got - you could fit the whole of the United States in there, the


whole of India and most of Europe. There's masses to explore from


mountains, to deserts, yeah. fantastic job! Look at that! David


Attenborough there. Sir! favourite photo. Was it fun to work


on? I had a fantastic experience. Can we talk about how you planned


to make this show? The famous phrase is don't work with animals.


So you have to plan for what happens when you get out there. How


do you do it? We spent the first year of production - we have been


doing it for four years. We were researching, contacting scientists,


contacting all the people who live out there in the first year.


Obviously, animals surprise us almost all of the time and those


giraffes did surprise us. I'm sure Barney will wee on this foliage any


minute! Sorry about that. Talk us through the animals. Did you plan


what you were going to look for? Most of the time we had a really


clear aim. We knew what we wanted and we were going to try hard to


get it. We always came back with something different from what we


thought we would get. What was your favourite animal? There's so many


that were great to film. For me, the silver ants in Egypt are


astonishing. We can see them in action now. Silver ants' armoured


skin reflects light. They can only survive for less than ten minutes


in the midday sun. It is a gorgeous-looking creature. What was


it about the silver ant that you liked? That is a sneak preview of


that sequence. You will discover as the behaviour goes on, they are


like mini-computers. As they run away from their nest, they are


logging every footstep and they are using the sun to work out what


direction they are travelling in. See - I heard about this. I was a


little sceptical. You would expect to see a silver ant with a


clipboard! LAUGHTER They do know how many steps they have taken?


Lots of researchers with clipboards were watching them! Lovely.


were filming in a desert, so a bit of water must have been a miracle.


Nick, talk us through the favourite bit that you filmed? Yes, I filmed


on the edge of the Kalahari at a waterhole. Hundreds of animals


turned up. It is the most astonishing place. We can see that


place and that astonishing scene right now. Surrounded by miles of


sun-baked mud, sweet, fresh water wells up from deep below ground.


wells up from deep below ground. It is like a scene from The Lion


King! Have you ever seen an elephant look so big? You have all


those animals together behaving properly and then you have other


scenes where you have lions who are behaving quite badly. I love this


clip. Can you set it up for us? Lions have given us a few problems.


We use remote cameras and this lion decided to investigate. This hasn't


been on TV. To confirm, there is no camera guy behind this camera.


would have been long gone! It is great that you don't know what is


going to happen next. Brilliant. used to have a pet rabbit that did


that. Barney the dog causes plenty of trouble. He is meant to be in


that basket and he's gone off to hide! He never hits his mark.


us know what your animals get up to. The e-mail address is


The e-mail address is [email protected] Send us a


photo if you can. That is the important bit. We want to see the


photos. Thank you very much. See you very soon.


Now, shall we talk about Totally Rubbish? Michelle came in to teach


you how to make a pet beg out of an old festive jumper. You have to


stuff it simply and sew it together. We made some for Socks and Cookie.


They love their new beds. They are nodding off there. Loads of you


loved making those pet begs for your friends. Here are some of them.


Emily, Grace and Eliza sent in a picture of Bertie enjoying his new


bed. Great lettering! Joseph made his cat a bed. He asked his sister


for help but he stuffed it all himself! Finn made a bed for his


puppy. His pet collie is using it as there wasn't a jumper big enough


for him. Katriona and Corran's guinea pigs are here. They even get


to eat in their bed! Ella made her dachshund Ruby a bed. Hannah's cat


Pip loves her bed. Look at her there with some lovely buttons on


the front. Billy's Ginger Ninja cat loved his bed so much, he had a


marathon 16-hour nap on his! That is a great name. We should rename


Barney the dog the Ginger Ninja! Anyway, most of what you see on


Blue Peter is filmed on one of these. To film animals in the wild,


you need some specialist equipment. That means a lot of gadgets and


that means that Barney ran over there! You are in your element?


can't wait! Nick and Felicity are still here. We showed you the


picture of the naughty lion. That picture of the naughty lion. That


was the cable of one of these remote cameras. If there was a


camera guy there, he would have been in some bother! It is handy


that you have got these? Yes, they can go to places that cameramen and


the rest of us can't. We can put them in those places. To control


them is this control unit. It's got a joystick. These are the same


switches and buttons you would find on the normal camera? Yes. They get


some great shots. This one is hooked up to a remote camera, which


is over there in front of our beautiful subjects. If I show you


how to use this, it is similar to a computer game. You have an up-and-


down stick. He is always trying to push me out of the shot! Shall we


get a close-up on Barney's nose? It is a zoom button. Up-and-down, left


and right. This is handy. Camera guys don't want to get too close.


I'm not very good at this. There are all sorts of footage that we


have seen from the show using these cameras. The one we are going to


see now has elephants in it. Can you explain what you did? The first


elephants at night are very aggressive. There was no way we


were going to stand on the forest floor, not knowing where they were.


We used four of the cameras to hide all around the pathway we knew the


elephant was using. Somewhere in rotten tree stumps, high in the


branches, so the elephants would walk underneath. We also planted


our cameraman high up on the tree as well. He was sitting on a


platform about that size for 16 hours with this control unit on his


knees. It was worth it! The 16 hours up in the tree brought us


this footage. Forest elephants are very social creatures, but in dense


jungle, it is hard for them to find one another. These elephants are


lucky. Here in the Congo there is one special place where they can


meet and mingle. A place that the elephants have created for


themselves. And this is it. Amazing! That is the remote camera.


We showed you the giraffes earlier on. This is a slow-motion camera.


And in geek terms, it takes more frames per second, more pictures


per second. It stretches time out. And that is what is happening in


the giraffes. You can see the most amazing things - flesh rippling.


is incredible. You have used it a few times in the series. This is


exclusive and it is from next week's episode. This is all shot on


slow-motion! It is amazing. It is amazing. There is a reason


why the audience are captivated. Those sorts of shots are - you


don't see them that often. It doesn't just happen in Africa. This


same shot can be achieved here in Salford in the Blue Peter Garden


and Barney was filmed earlier on and we are going to see the footage


that we recorded. Look at him go! What he is trying to do is catch a


ball. Those who know him well will know he doesn't like catching


balls! Why would you want to stay there - bless him! That looks so


good in slow-motion. It is lovely. The reason you use these cameras is


it creates that drama? Absolutely. Those fish jumping out around the


crocodile, we couldn't see those with our naked eye. When you are


thinking about the sequences, do you think what might make a good


slow-motion scene? Absolutely. That giraffe fight - we couldn't dream


of it, but we did! Considering it's been that long, and here it is, it


is a fantastic series. I was gripped. If you want to see it, it


is on Sundays on BBC One. Thank you so much for coming in. I want one


of those! Helen? You will buy one of those before the year is out!


Can I defend Barney? It is not his fault, he is used to catching fresh


organic chicken! Bless him. On to something completely different.


This is your chance to get creative and win a fantastic prize. Every


year, Chris Evans launches a writing competition. You know the


fella. Your mums and dads will listen to him on the radio! Earlier


on, I went along to help him launch I am at a Radio 2. Coming up, we


are joined by my partner from The One Show, Blue Peter's Helen


Skelton. I am here to help Chris Evans launched the Dad competition.


It is an amazing studio. Chris Evans may be familiar to you as a


host of The One Show. But his daily Radio 2 breakfast show is the most


popular radio programme in the UK, with a whopping 8.5 million


listeners every week. I am here because I am one of the ambassadors


for the competition, so I will be on the show alongside Chris's One


Show co-host, Alex Jones. Let's have a cheer for Helen Skelton! And


a cheer for Alex Jones! Right, we are launching 500 Words. It is our


short story writing competition for children aged 13 and under,


returning for its third year. Your story must be completely made up,


and it must be no longer than 500 words long. You can be as


imaginative as you like and take us anywhere you choose with your


terrific tale. It could be based in the jungle, on the moon, under the


sea, in the future, wherever you fancy. This is about children


across the UK getting reading and writing her. Some brilliant prizes.


If you write the bronze medal winning story, you win your own


height in books. If you win the silver, you win my height inbox, 5


ft 6 1/2. And if you win the gold medal, you win Chris Evans's height


inbox, about 5 ft 10? No, about 6 ft 2, or about 200 books. We are


here to get tips and advice from viewers. A lot of viewers will


enter. Standards are high, so what should they do to get the judges'


eye? Last year, the standard was really high. It is all about coming


up with something that can fit into 500 words, but is full of


imagination and grabs attention. A gay subject you know and like,


because you will find it easier -- big a subject you know and like,


because you will find it easy and enjoyed it more. And had a treat in


front of you - actually, three treats. The first street, you can't


have until you have started. The second Street, you can't have until


you are halfway through. And the third kit, you can't have until you


finish. 500 Words is now open for business. Head over to


500 Words. You have both been amazing. Get out! I think that went


well. He seemed up for it. We are up for it, so get writing. If you


want a Windows 7 as' height in books or Alex Jones' height or your


own height, get writing. We will have a celebrity reading your story


live out on the radio. When we say your height in books, they are


horizontal, so that is a lot of books. You will have loads to read


through the summer holidays. That was just the launch. Now I have a


lady to inspire you. Please welcome Millie to the studio! Millie, you


were one of the finalists last year, with your fantastic stories Splash.


That meant you went on to the Hay Festival and were part of the radio


programme. What was that like? was an amazing experience being


able to go down to Wales and meet fantastic people. Some authors,


some TV presenters. Three it is a big festival that celebrates books.


Talk us through how and why you entered the competition. I entered


because the previous year, my friend Angus had won the Chris


Evans competition. So I wanted to try and match that, and I decided


to enter a story. A bit of rivalry. Anything you can do, Millie can do!


If you want to read Millie's story, head over to the Radio 2 website in


the 500 Words section. You can get to that via the Blue Peter website.


If we look behind your head, Millie, floating behind you are some of the


words from your story. Talk us through how you came up with the


plot? In 2011, me and my family went to Florida on holiday. And in


the Villa we were staying, just outside it, there was a pond. We


used to go for walks outside the pond, and my dad would always say,


don't go too near the pond, or you will get eaten by the alligator. So


I thought I would write a story about an alligator and a lady or a


man getting attacked. That sounds funny! And it is. You had a funny


lady reading it out for you, Catherine Tate. Here she is. Splash,


by Emily Al Bayda. Sonia lived in a quiet neighbourhood in south


Florida. She loved the heat and did not care much for other people's


company. Most afternoons, she sat out by the pond on her deck chair,


reading her magazines and watching the golfers enjoying their game.


This competition is called 500 Words. You have to put your story


into 500 words. Alex Jones said something about squeezing it in.


Was it hard to stick to that? was really hard. I started typing


up my story and did the word count and realised it was well over 500


words, so I had to keep going back and deleting lines, but in the end


I got there. For those of you who are intimidated by the prospect of


having to write 500 words, Millie's story fits on this piece of card.


It all fits on a piece of A4. We will read your story again later on


the website. The unenviable task of judging these entries falls upon


the heads of the cream of British authors for children, among them


are paying Jacqueline Wilson and David Walliams. Those are just two


of the judges. Also alongside them is this guy. Charlie Higson is one


of Britain's most successful children's authors. He has written


no fewer than 16 books. He is the man responsible for the spine-


chilling zombie horror series The Enemy and is also famous for


writing the phenomenally successful Young Bond series. It follows James


Bond when he was a teenager at school. The Young Bond series has


sold over a million copies in the UK and has been translated into the


24 different languages for children across the globe. Charlie Higson,


everybody! Charlie, you are judged Millie's story. What caught your


eye about that? Well, there was a big variety of stories. And because


they are written by kids, they often have a central character who


is a kid or it is written for naked's point of view, which is


great. But they don't have to be that. Millie's story stood out


because it was set in America, the main character was a woman and it


was not based entirely on real life, but something terrible happens in


the story which I hope has never happened to anyone you know. What


are you looking for this year? Anything. I love funny stories,


exciting stories, scary stories, realistic stories, fantasy stories.


And I am hoping to see all of those. Charlie, you have written some


fantastic books. Our viewers love the Young Bond series. You have


four top tips for us. Tip number one is to write loads of things, as


one idea may lead to another? It is easy to be a writer. You just


right and right. If you want to write a story, you have to sit down


and get going. The first the EU right at might not be brilliant,


but it might give you an idea for something else or give you


inspiration to go down a different route. You just have to get stuck


in. Is that something you did, Millie? I had to keep writing, and


then I went back to different people and said, does this work?


And then they gave me pointers on what I should put down and what I


should take away. Tim Pat number two is to read a lot of books, but


don't copy. The yes, you can't write unless you read it. We all


tell stories every day. When your mum says, what did you do at


school? I did this and my mate did that. Writing a story is the same


thing, but sometimes, with how you put the words together, it helps to


read what other people have done. So go to the website and read


Millie's story, read books of short stories or anything by other people.


Don't copy that, but use it to give your ideas. For tip number three,


you say, don't be put off by your first effort. A lot of writers get


embarrassed and self-conscious. They write something and think, no,


I am not sure. Particularly when you know other people will be


reading it and judging it, you might get stuck on the first


sentence. Just get the thing written. You can always change it


and make it better. You have to get over the embarrassment. You have to


write the story you would love to read. Is that something you were


conscious of when you were writing? Were you thinking about the people


who would read it? Be yes, I was thinking, if my story got through


to the top 50, what with the judges think? I was worried about whether


they thought it would be good. Charlie is more Smiley than we


thought. Tip number four, you said once you have finished your story,


we write it. The us, your first effort might not be perfect. But I


imagine a lot of the kids writing will be using computers. Even if


you are writing with a pen and paper, you can change it. Don't


think your first effort is it, because you can always do things


better. Millie was saying she was showing it to friends and family.


That is good. But in the end, if you think it is right and someone


else so as not to write it, stick with it. But you can change things.


The his days, you can just delete it on a computer. I am so glad we


have not always had computers. I was a kid, we did not have


computers. I started writing when I was about 10. I loved comics as


well. I was a big Tintin fan, and I tried doing a sort of Tintin-style


comic. It is not very long. I am glad you did not start again. Thank


you so much for joining us. If you fancy entering this competition,


you can find all the details on the Blue Peter website. You can see


Millie's story there, and there is loads of advice on what to do.


have got some e-mails that have been sent in, inspired by the


naughty lion. You pesky pets. Bella says, my cat books muddy prints all


over our windowsill. Our cat likes to climb into everything he can,


says Heather. Gabriel says, my dog barks at little white feathers and


then eats them. But where do the feathers come from the? Is your dog


eating dogs? And Another v you are says, my cat loves to eat the laces


from my shoes. Thank you for getting in touch. A bat is all we


have got time for today. Next week on Blue Peter, we will be telling


you what we are doing this year to support Comic Relief. We have


always supported the charity's Comic Relief and Sport Relief. This


year, we will do something different. In the past, I have


packed along the Amazon and walked along a tightrope at Battersea


Power Station. This year, I need you dies. I am really hoping you


will get involved not just in terms of support and sending e-mails, but


I needed to come along and be part of the challenges. We will reveal


all next week. I will also go to a British safari park to see some


very cute babies, white rhinos that have just been born. That is not


just an exclusive, it is also due to. We have all been warming --


wrapping up warm in the snowy weather, but if you are a bird,


what do you did to stay one? We will welcome Chris Packham into the


studio, and he has a fantastic make to help keep our feathered friends


nice and warm. You will love it. It is called a fat feeder. If you


would like to ask him any questions next week, you can do at


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