Short Story Competition and Africa Blue Peter


Short Story Competition and Africa

Helen Skelton and Chris Evans provide info for the 500-word short story competition, while Barney meets a new arrival at a safari park.


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

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

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they got the pictures. Young Bond author Charlie Higson is

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APPLAUSE Hello. That was a good move. How

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lots of researchers with clipboards were watching them! Lovely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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those animals together behaving properly and then you have other

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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short story writing competition for children aged 13 and under,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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finish. 500 Words is now open for business. Head over to bbc.co.uk/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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reading her magazines and watching the golfers enjoying their game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:21:24.:21:27.

chilling zombie horror series The Enemy and is also famous for

:21:27.:21:30.

writing the phenomenally successful Young Bond series. It follows James

:21:30.:21:34.

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

:21:34.:21:38.

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

:21:38.:21:46.

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

:21:46.:21:51.

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

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

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

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

:22:03.:22:08.

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

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

:22:11.:22:15.

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

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

:22:19.:22:24.

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

:22:24.:22:30.

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

:22:30.:22:36.

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

:22:36.:22:40.

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

:22:40.:22:45.

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

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

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

:22:55.:22:59.

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

:22:59.:23:02.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:23:32.:23:37.

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

:23:37.:23:42.

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

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

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

:23:50.:23:56.

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

:23:56.:24:03.

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

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

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

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

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

:24:17.:24:22.

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

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

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

:24:29.:24:34.

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

:24:34.:24:38.

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

:24:38.:24:44.

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

:24:44.:24:47.

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

:24:47.:24:53.

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

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

:24:57.:25:00.

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

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

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

:25:08.:25:12.

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

:25:12.:25:17.

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

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

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

:25:24.:25:30.

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

:25:30.:25:37.

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

:25:38.:25:43.

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

:25:44.:25:48.

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

:25:48.:25:55.

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

:25:55.:26:00.

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

:26:00.:26:04.

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

:26:04.:26:11.

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

:26:11.:26:17.

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

:26:17.:26:25.

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

:26:25.:26:30.

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

:26:30.:26:37.

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

:26:37.:26:41.

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

:26:41.:26:45.

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

:26:45.:26:49.

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

:26:49.:26:53.

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

:26:53.:26:57.

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

:26:57.:27:01.

packed along the Amazon and walked along a tightrope at Battersea

:27:01.:27:05.

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

:27:05.:27:09.

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

:27:09.:27:13.

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

:27:13.:27:17.

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

:27:17.:27:22.

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

:27:22.:27:26.

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

:27:26.:27:30.

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

:27:30.:27:35.

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

:27:35.:27:39.

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

:27:40.:27:45.

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

:27:45.:27:49.

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

:27:49.:27:53.

Helen Skelton and Chris Evans provide all the information for the 500-word short story competition.

Barney meets a very special, brand new arrival at a safari park, and one of the producers of the BBC series Africa is in the studio to demonstrate the programme's amazing cameras and share some exclusive clips.


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