Helen visits the set of a brand new CBBC series, where she learns how to be a puppeteer.
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It's 5.30. We are live with all of this.
We meet one of the world's first bionic dogs,
and the vet who made it possible.
To prove how much we love hearing from you,
we surprised a boy who sent us something in the post.
And you get exclusive behind-the-scenes access
to CBBC's brand-new programme.
Helen even got to control one of their puppets.
That's all on today's live Blue Peter.
What an amazing thing to do.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
-It's 5.30, we are live, welcome to Blue Peter.
It's definitely live. Watch this.
We wouldn't do that in a pre-recorded show.
How are you? Welcome.
We want you to get involved as always.
We love it when you get in touch.
And we want you to stick around,
because at the end of the show I will be revealing
a secret challenge I've set for Barney.
-He's got no idea.
-Don't worry. I'll tell you later.
OK, that's exciting. Shall we get ready for the lights and the action?
I like it when we bring it all together.
Today we want you to get in touch.
We've got a theme running throughout the show.
We are talking about hypervynorama.
Does that happen every time we say hypervynorama?
-I'm going to get one fitted at home.
Hypervynorama is how they bring puppets to life
in a brand-new show on CBBC. Have a look at this.
I meant to ask, who told you I wasn't a king, anyway?
Close the lid. Men!
That starts on Wednesday 8th.
The hypervynorama is the animation of the mouth. It's very cool.
It's a new technique. It's a new word.
So new it's not even in the dictionary yet.
But we want to know from you today,
what is your favourite word in the dictionary?
I like boondoggle, which means to spend wastefully.
I like toggle.
And bumph. You'd use that if you've got lots of bumph lying around.
Or maybe flummery.
It means meaningless chat, so I guess that makes us flummerists.
Let us know what your favourite word is...
We want to know what your favourite word in the dictionary is.
-Hypervynorama is my favourite.
-It's not in the dictionary yet.
Good point. Let's talk about last week's show.
We showed you how to make T-shirts.
We were very excited to find our postbag full of ideas from you.
We've got pictures sent in to us. This was sent in by Luke.
He sent in a photograph of a T-shirt he made.
It took him over two hours. We hope it was worth it, Luke.
It does take a while to dry, as Lily found out. This is hers with no arms.
She was feeling in a vesty mood, but it looks very cool, so we love it.
And Sarpreet got in touch with this photograph of a T-shirt she made.
But what you will see there is she has actually got three T-shirts.
She sent two of them to us!
There's no excuse not to have competitions from now on.
We've got our own team shirts. Thank you. I love it.
We'll wear those a little later in the show.
You can still make the T-shirts.
The details are on the Blue Peter website. We're going back to school.
No ordinary school, though. And the pupils there don't look like us.
That is because the pupils are puppets.
This is Becky Butters. She is one of the stars
of the brand-new CBBC show Strange Hill High.
She's even wearing her very own Blue Peter badge.
The show starts on Wednesday 8th May. I'm going to make her wave.
It is not just the badge that's exciting,
it's the hypervynorama you're going to see in this interview.
CBBC's latest puppet series is being made in this studio
just outside Manchester.
I've been given backstage access,
so I've come to see if I can get involved.
Whilst the studio has all the trappings of a movie set,
everything is in miniature.
I am going to meet the full-sized director, Jeff.
Nice to meet you.
Strange Hill High is no ordinary school.
How is it different?
It looks like an ordinary school,
but it's populated by characters that are vinyl toys.
There's various strange worlds within the school.
Forgive me for doubting.
Only a true king can draw Excalibur
from the caked-on, impossible-to-get-rid-of muck.
Actually, I meant to ask. Who told you I wasn't a king?
I was looking at this set and the detail,
it must have taken days to build.
More like weeks. Things like the rubbish bags.
Any time anybody's not doing something on set,
they've been packing the rubbish bags.
-Can I get involved?
-I think we can get you involved.
I think we can get you puppeteering.
-I imagine you have to be patient as a puppeteer?
There's a lot of fiddling to get things right,
but if you persevere and take your time, I'm sure you can get there.
Each episode starts off as a series of storyboard drawings.
Actors record the characters' voices,
and it is down to the puppeteers to bring the whole thing to life.
Lisa is one of the main puppeteers on the show,
and she's going to show me the ropes. Let's get cracking.
Lisa, who is this?
This is Little Miss Becky Butters.
She is one of the three main characters.
She can be a little bit bossy, so we have a lot of things
where she waggles her finger and things.
Nothing wrong with that.
-She loves bit of drama in her life.
-And she's got a Blue Peter badge?
-She is a Blue Peter lover.
-That's not because we're here?
That's in the series, isn't it?
No, it's on her all the time, she wears it every day.
-I see a lot of similarities in Becky and myself.
This is the future. She might be legal by now.
Mitchell Tanner, I cannot believe you.
I am never speaking to you again!
What are the key things you need to be a good puppeteer?
One very important thing, hand-eye co-ordination.
We work on tiny monitors. We see what the camera sees.
If she was to move her left hand, we move our right.
-That is confusing!
-I know, right?
-We give plenty of emotion to the character.
We don't just waggle an arm. We try to give her some fear,
some excitement that will make this little person become real.
Right. With that in mind, it's time for me to have a go.
Oh, no! I'm going to have to get everything cleaned up.
I think you've definitely got the emotion of it.
We'll work on trying to keep everything that little bit smaller.
-Becky, it is time for your close-up. That way, methinks.
I'm still in character. I was doing the walk.
Of all the places to make a puppeteering debut,
my scene involves Becky and co having to clean the boys' loo.
The Strange Hill team are currently putting the finishing touches
to the set by throwing on some lovely brown gloop.
-I'll hand you Becky.
-There's a step there.
So this is the screen you use to work out what Becky's doing?
One of a few. We normally have at least one for every two puppeteers.
Now I get the hand-eye coordination thing.
You're looking at that, but you're moving your hands up here.
-I'm warmed up. I think Becky's ready for action.
All of a sudden it's getting quite cosy in here.
This is more stressful when there are three people here,
because if I get my bit wrong, all of their bit is wasted.
No pressure then. Here goes.
With so many people down here, it's difficult to see the screens.
This is stinking.
But thankfully Lisa is helping me out
by talking through the characters' emotions.
-And before I know it, it's all over.
-But will my puppeteering make the cut?
-How do you think it went?
-We think it went well. Shall we have a look?
Do I manage to get enough emotion into Becky's movements?
-She's looking scared. That's great.
And look at that.
-Will that scene make into it the series?
-Yes, I think so.
-It's a crucial moment in the episode.
-And I didn't muck it up?
-Not at all.
-It was lovely.
-It was a millisecond of TV,
but I will be telling everybody I was a puppeteer on that.
Thank you so much for your time, patience and expertise.
-Good luck with the rest of it.
-Thanks a lot.
We've won the task! We're safe for one more week.
What an absolute privilege. That was brilliant.
I am positive this series is going to be a hit.
I feel so lucky to have been able to be part of it.
I didn't realise how patient and strong you need to be a puppeteer.
Good work, good series, enjoy.
He's coming in!
And here it is, my bit in the finished episode.
Oh, my goodness.
I've never seen such a clean lavatory.
I suppose it will have to do.
Thank you so much to all the puppeteers
who humoured me, helped me and let me have a go.
You will love that series.
If you want to know more about what they do,
tune into CBBC this coming Monday,
because there are loads of exclusive bits and bobs going on
in preparation for the big launch on Wednesday 8th May.
One of the things that is exciting about this show
is they use a brand-new technique called...
I kept that link going cos I could see him at the side!
Waiting for my big entrance!
That technique involves playing with a bit of your mouth.
This inspired us to have a bit of fun in the office,
-and it resulted in some quite funny things.
What's funny about this?
You can have a go yourself.
If you get a smartphone you can do the video thing,
or just take some photos, which is what we did earlier.
-It's tap-screen, that.
The top of my head, bottom of Helen's face. It's quite weird.
I've got your eyes covering mine, so we have a Barney/Helen mash-up.
That's Hayley from Newsround.
If you haven't got a smartphone, don't worry,
as you can cut a picture from a magazine and do this.
That's Jessie J, by the way.
Or why not draw your own?
Hiya. How you doing? Isn't that good? I love it.
As always, if you do have a go, take a photograph, send it to us
and let us know how you get on.
We'll try and show it on next week's show.
If this has inspired you to mash up faces, get online...
This is where you find Mash-up Mayhem. You can do all sort of things
with Barney the dog's face or my face.
Barney is royalty, so we are going to stick a crown on there.
And he likes to wear jewels. That's his necklace.
If I see you put a necklace on Barney, we'll have serious words.
He does sometimes go into my jewellery box
and put his head through necklaces.
He especially likes to put his head in bags.
-He likes to wear a handbag.
We love it when you get in touch.
We do. Let's talk about this.
This is a bee hotel that we made some time ago,
but Ellie has drawn one. You can see five bees enjoying the hotel.
One single and two doubles.
We're always so overwhelmed by the things you send in.
Natalie sent in this colourful poster.
Natalie's ten and lives in Warrington.
There's everything on there, stars, Comic Relief, red noses, Blue Peter.
It is important that you talk about use of colour when referring to art.
This one is brilliant. Keep calm and love nature.
We would love to give the person who did this a Blue Peter badge,
but you didn't put your name on it.
If you want to get a Blue Peter badge and you send us some stuff,
make sure you put your name on.
But if you didn't do that, don't try and claim it!
Isaac created this Blue Peter ship for us.
Thank you very much for that, Isaac.
He'll be getting a Blue Peter badge.
As will everybody else who named their pictures.
And if you head over to the Blue Peter website,
you will find more details.
Our postal and email addresses are there.
One guy who did send us
something in the post is a 14-year-old called Gareth.
He sent a recipe book, and we were so excited we were fighting over it.
Have a look at this.
All kinds of things in here.
We've been fighting over this.
-We've both been flicking through it.
-I want the ice cream cupcakes.
Everything's got sugar in it. It's a great idea.
There's no way I have enough sugar!
We couldn't decide what to make,
so I went to Gareth's school to surprise him.
Our chef and author, Gareth,
is in history class behind this wall.
The principal is about to get him,
so we can sneak in and set up our hidden cameras.
I think the coast's clear.
There we go.
Yeah. That'll do.
Gareth's back in class, and that's my cue.
We thought that we would come and say hello. You must be Gareth.
-Nice to meet you.
-Am I right in thinking this was written by you?
It's absolutely phenomenal. We were so impressed with it.
We wanted to come along in the hope you would cook something with us.
But we heard you have an inspiration.
Do you like The Hairy Bikers?
-Turns out you are an inspiration to them, as well.
-What shall we have for tea?
It's too cold for that.
That's what we want, the summer lamb with carrot and fennel salad.
Mate, this is brilliant.
This puts us all to shame. That book is absolutely wonderful, Gareth.
The recipes are so well written.
Honestly, we are going mad trying to decide what we want to cook from it.
Gareth, very, very well done to you, mate.
We're very proud to look at your book and we are proud of you.
Yeah. Excellent work, man.
Now, it took work, but I managed to get it back off them.
We were wondering if you would cook with us today. Is that all right?
So it's straight from the classroom into the kitchen.
Welcome to Gareth's cookery class.
You are going to lead me through two of your top recipes.
-Yes, I am.
-Toad in the hole and chocolate brownies.
We've washed our hands and turned the oven on, now what?
Weigh the flour out.
125. So, we need to crack the eggs.
Crack the eggs.
Oh, right. Just pour it in now?
-Pour it in.
When you are cooking, you have to make mess.
You know what, I often say that to Barney.
I have seen that he loves to keep things clean.
-It's unnecessary, isn't it?
Maybe we need to whisk it.
-Who taught you all this?
-My grandma. She used to teach me all sorts.
-How many sausages?
-As many as we can fit in.
How long is that going in the oven for?
Ten minutes before we can pour the batter in.
OK. This is why I'm not a good cook,
because I like things to be ready now!
Well, you have to wait!
Not too much!
Make a wish.
Do they look slightly brown?
-That's the colour we want.
-Happy with that, Chef?
With the batter poured over, the toad is in the hole,
and whilst it cooks in the oven,
it's time for us to get cracking on something a little sweeter.
How does Barney work with you?
I am categorically not eating chocolate!
Two whole eggs and then one egg yolk.
That's 5-8 minutes.
Are you determined to splatter stuff at me today?
-There we go.
-That looks good.
So, we've got some milk poured. Helen!
-How long does this need to cook for?
-About 20 minutes.
Brownies in, toad in the hole out.
-That's not bad.
There's always room for my favourite part, dessert.
I'd like to say, Barney, that we'll save you some,
but I can't promise that's going to happen.
Gareth, thank you for having me in your kitchen.
Thank you so much for sending us your recipe book.
You genuinely are an inspiration.
Thank you very much, Gareth, for all your hard work.
And if you head to the website after the show,
you'll be able to see a few exclusive clips.
The crew were into that toad in the hole
faster than you can say toad in the hole.
That's quick. Let's talk about herbs.
Any good chef knows that herbs and spices can bring a dish to life.
It's not just about sprinkling and garnishing.
We've brought to you the garden to show you how to grow herbs.
You can grow them like this and use them in food.
Cheese and chive muffins.
The chives adds a little bit.
-These are delicious.
-Strawberry and chocolate mint smoothies.
So, over the next six weeks, we are going to show you how to...
Grow it, cook it, eat it.
I was the glamorous assistant!
I am going to invite Katherine Kennedy in, our herb expert.
You'll show us how to get to this, but this happens in a few weeks?
-Tell us what you do.
Well, I teach people how to grow fruit and veg and herbs at home.
We are going to be growing chives today.
-They look like this here.
-BARNEY THE DOG WHIMPERS
There are lots of other things that you can grow
like the mint in your smoothies. This is chocolate mint.
I love that it's chocolate mint.
You don't expect chocolate to be a herb, it's more of the smell.
You have the mint flavour with a hint of chocolate.
It smells incredible. You can tell people want to use this in food.
It adds so much flavour.
You think of herbs and think of tarragon or basil,
which you've probably seen a lot on pizzas.
But these are more exciting.
You can grow most of these on your windowsill at home.
Lead the way. Take to the table. Show us how to grow these chives.
First of all, we need a container.
We have all kinds of things. We even have a welly.
-You have to put holes in the bottom.
-To let the water drain through.
-It is. So, we have these.
Cardboard boxes, old cartons, bottles, yoghurt pots,
all make good holders.
They do. Just remember the holes in the bottom are important.
Our seeds are going to be made in an orange carton,
cut in half and holes in the bottom.
-First things first?
-We need compost.
-Fill up right to the top, no pressing down.
Seeds are quite easy to get hold of?
It's quite cheap, usually cheaper than having to buy the plant.
I have seen seeds in supermarkets now.
-Is it too late to plant seeds?
Because we had a late spring, it's great to actually get them in now.
-Tap the pot and make sure that sinks, and we need these seeds.
-So... hand out.
We only need a few seeds because these get big.
So, we need a little sprinkle on top.
A tiny covering, otherwise they'll struggle to get out.
-A little bit of water.
I love how messy you've made that!
We do have a messy person. Clear plastic.
It's important to keep the heat and moisture in,
and they need to go on a sunny windowsill at home somewhere warm.
Over the next six weeks they will grow,
because Helen and I are having a competition
to see who can grow theirs the fastest.
If you don't want to get into a fight with a person
who owns the kitchen table,
put a tray under there so it doesn't get messy.
-All the details are on the website.
Katherine, thank you so much.
-Good luck on the competition.
-Thank you very much.
-Bring it on!
Now have you seen Iron Man 3 yet?
It's amazing. If you haven't, watch this.
Listen to me. See that guy?
I'm going to swing by and you're going to grab him.
You got it?
I will electrify your arm. You won't be able to open your hand.
We can do this.
Iron Man's awesome, a bit like Katherine's herbs.
Thank you to Katherine for coming in.
We will keep you posted on how the herbs grow.
Back, to Iron Man, the bionic suit gives him amazing superpowers.
It's not readily available on the market,
but some human beings, as we've seen, have got a bionic arm.
It's not just humans who are making the most of this technology.
Meet Mr Stubbs.
He is an alligator who lost his tail in a fight.
He is having difficulty swimming,
so a team of people in the USA made him a fake tail
and he can now swim happily. That is brilliant.
It's amazing. This is Gamera, a tortoise from Washington.
He lost his leg left and has been fitted with a wheel to get around.
Absolutely brilliant. We knew you would want to know more,
so we have invited an expert into the studio.
Noel here knows how to help animals who are born without limbs
or who lose them in accidents.
This is one of your patients. Tell us about Bumblebee.
He was born with a poorly shoulder that was deformed and no foot.
We have effectively put a foot on to him now.
And the key thing, the difference between him and the other animals
is all of those animals have strap-on legs,
so they're strapped on and they can get a socket
that gets sore underneath that, the same as people.
So it's like a Paralympian, it attaches on the outside.
-This is on the inside.
The key difference between Bumblebee and other animals
is there is a peg protruding through her skin.
You can pinch it up here and it doesn't fall off.
The key thing is there's a piece of metal actually inside her bone.
It sticks to it like superglue.
Then the skin sticks to a honeycomb outside this peg
and the peg pokes through and the bugs can't get in.
It can't get infected.
It's comfortable for them to wear, it's internal.
Like Iron Man, it's actually bionic.
Everything else you have seen is not bionic.
Bionic is the replacement of parts of your body
with functional metal bits or mechanical bits that actually work.
Which you have pioneered. Oscar the cat is here.
You were the first bioengineer to attach these to a cat.
What is Oscar's story?
Oscar had both feet chopped off by a combine harvester,
and we put this peg through the ankles and put blades on.
You can put endless numbers of blades on.
You can change them like a shoe.
The skin seals tightly around the end.
That's been the Holy Grail forever and ever,
and now we truly can call a dog or cat bionic.
Would you need to replace that? Might she wear that out?
Absolutely. Just like you replace your shoes,
we can replace these as often as Bumblebee needs,
and it slots on like that.
This isn't something that humans have yet, is it?
It's difficult. It's a difficult technology.
We are pioneering it for animals,
and we hope that this will light the way for humans in the future.
Humans can also have this peg inside their leg
with a skin seal that never breaks down.
It's incredible. How accessible is this? Surgery is expensive.
Yes. We hope the expense of it will come down over time
to the cost of a hip replacement like a dog or your nan might have.
The reality is now, yes, it's expensive,
but it's giving all of the animals all of the options all of the time.
And let's remember lots of cats and dogs
can actually handle fine with three legs.
Absolutely. I want to emphasise
there's loads of cats and dogs perfectly happy on three legs.
The reason it didn't suit Bumblebee is she's got a deep chest
and would find it difficult on three legs.
We gave her the option.
Thank you. And thank you Bumblebee for sitting there patiently.
She's better behaved than our Barney.
Definitely better behaved than my nan. I might get the Iron Man suit.
She's amazing. She runs through the fields.
Thank you very much.
Loads of you have been getting in touch because we asked you
to let us know what your favourite word in the dictionary is.
Alex says it's abbreviation. Because it's a long word.
Why is a word that means short word such a long word?
Carla says my favourite word is flannel
because it sounds funny when you say it.
Megan who's ten says my favourite is disestablishmentarianism.
"It's a real word!" she says with exclamation marks.
Ellie says my favourite word is flabbergasted.
Felicity loves discombobulated. Great word!
Isabella loves jelly.
You have left the next one for me!
That's the habit of thinking something is worthless.
That was learned in an English lesson a month ago.
It's from Lauren who's 14.
My favourite word is haberdashery. It's materials you use for sewing.
That's from Esme. PS, she's a big fan. Hi, Esme.
And Danielle says jambalaya, because it's so much fun to say.
Thank you so much for getting in touch.
You might remember, Barney, at the top of the show
I said we have a surprise. He has no idea we've done this.
I have entered you in a trombone competition on 24th May.
You have a few weeks to learn a new instrument!
This trombone you have to learn to play.
Before we started the show, Barney went, can you believe
they're making us stay behind for a meeting.
That's your first trombone lesson!
You've got to be kidding!
He is going to be in an actual competition.
Have a look at what's happening next week.
-Have I got to play this for real?
-How am I going to do that?
On next week's Blue Peter we will be heading to Forest Green Rovers
to find out how they're super eco-friendly.
And we'll be taking to the skies in a high-flying challenge.
I can't believe you have done this.
And Stooshe will be performing their latest single.
Hopefully with a trombone solo from me.
And we will show you how to make your own funky sunglasses.
Get some sunglasses ready and you can join in the make.
-Good luck, Barney!
-See you next week. Bye!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd.
Helen visits the set of brand new CBBC series Strangehill High, where she learns how to be a puppeteer. Helen also surprises a cookery mad Blue Peter viewer when she pops in to his house to make a favourite recipe with him.