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
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 bbc.co.uk/
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
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.