Celebrities choose the TV moments that have shaped their lives. Intrepid adventurer Helen Skelton joins Brian Conley for a trip down memory lane.
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Telly - that magic box in the corner.
It gives us access to a million different worlds,
all from the comfort of our sofa.
'In this series, I'm going to journey
'through the fantastic world of TV
'with some of our favourite celebrities.
'They've chosen the precious TV moments that shed light...'
-Pick that one out.
-It's called scone pizza.
'..on the stories of their lives.'
I used to go mental if a swimmer was on.
It would just, like, make my life.
'Some are funny.'
Oh... Ooh, sha-bob...
-Oh, my word!
-There's been a murder.
-My mother didn't laugh that much.
It was hard going but, God, she laughed at that.
'..some are inspiring...'
In all of those programmes, in different ways,
-there's something special going on.
-'..and many are deeply moving.'
-The death of John F Kennedy...
Now we can't imagine what it was like
to see receive such devastating news then.
'So come watch with us as we hand-pick the vintage telly
'that helped turn our much-loved stars
'into the people they are today.'
Welcome to The TV That Made Me.
My guest today is a former Blue Peter presenter
and the most intrepid woman I have ever met.
'Helen Skelton is the ultimate all-action heroine.
'As Blue Peter's 33rd presenter,
'we marvelled at her daring spirit as she took on
'some of the greatest physical challenges across the world.
'Marathon running, high-wire walking
'and kayaking over 2,000 miles of the Amazon River,
'to name just a few.
'The TV that made her includes a dart-playing bull...'
So it's pounds for points.
'..and the early antics of our two best-loved Geordies.'
You're all right, man. You're all right. I'm here.
'But it was her love of adventure and sport,
'combined with her determination and drive
'that established Helen as the daredevil presenter she is today.'
-Helen Skelton, here she is. How are you?
-Hello. I'm very good thank you.
-You should be.
-I'm very pregnant, yes.
-But, yeah, well, it's got to come out so it will be fine.
All right. And when are we hoping it's going to come out?
-Yeah, so don't overexcite me.
-No, no, we will try.
And that's my mitigation in case I cry.
Why do you think you might cry?
-Well, you're emotional, aren't you?
-And I had a great childhood so I'll go, "Oh, that was when Granny used to sit there and..."
-Telly takes you back like that, doesn't it?
So, this is a collection of TV highlights that you've chosen.
A lot of them you haven't seen for many, many years
and we're going to rewind the clock now
and just have a look at a young Helen Skelton.
'Helen was born in 1983, the same year that both Breakfast TV
'and comedy favourite Blackadder made their debuts onto our screens.
'Helen and her older brother, Gavin,
'were brought up on a dairy farm in the Lake District by mum Janet,
'a nursery school teacher, and dad Richard, who ran the farm.
'With the great outdoors on her doorstep,
'it's no surprise she developed a thirst for travel and adventure.
'But even as a youngster, Helen knew she wanted
'to work IN the world of TV she grew up watching.'
You always wanted to be a telly presenter?
-I always wanted to be a camera person...
..because I thought they went places first
and I wanted to be a newsreader for a long time
because I thought they knew everything first.
-But, yeah... I think...
-So you're just nosy?
My first boss said I used to listen into everyone's phone conversations, it was really rude,
and I was like, "I can't help it." It's nosy.
Yeah, but that's what a great news correspondent is, isn't it?
-Exactly. That's it, yeah.
-Someone who wants to be nosy
-and wants to find out what's happening.
-I just like people.
-And like knowing something before anyone else.
-I've got a little snack for you, Helen.
I've got your favourite. I've got it out in the kitchen.
I shan't be a moment. Just talk amongst yourselves.
At the minute, if it's not moving, I'm eating it.
-So, yeah, anything should be good.
-You're eating for two now, girl.
-Oh, what have we got?
-We've got a nice, weak...
And we've got some... Do you remember this?
What is it?
-It's salmon paste.
That smell has instantly, already prompted my memory.
-That takes me back to my friend's nana's house, Mrs Wills.
-I like the way you've got to put the lid back on.
-It's the smell!
You don't like it?
No. That looks a lot more orange than the type Nana Wills got me, but I trust you.
-Well, it's probably fresh.
-Yeah, the type we had
was probably in the larder for about six months.
So when did she used to give you this?
Wednesday evenings, before Brownies, we used to go to my best friend's
gran's house and she made us salmon sandwiches,
and then you got your face washed rather aggressively with a dishcloth,
as only nanas can do. Then we used to sit down for a bit of Pingu.
Isn't it mad how that smell made me think "Pingu"?
I don't think I've eaten salmon paste since.
Well, this will make you feel at home.
You've got your little snack and here's a bit of Pingu.
-Go on, you can have a bit.
-Oh, do I have to?
PINGU THEME MUSIC PLAYS
Oh, how come you get a little bit and look at the size of that?
# P-P-P, P-P-P Pingu, Pingu... #
Using good old-fashioned stop-motion animation,
this Swiss-made children's series followed the mischievous penguin
and his family's adventures in their igloo at the South Pole.
It first aired in 1986
and it wasn't long before the perky Plasticine penguin
and his naughty friends attracted a massive cult following.
The thing I loved about Pingu was that he never spoke.
-He just went, "Ooh, ooh."
The show's magic lay in the mysterious language Pingu spoke
that children worldwide could recognise.
It meant an international appeal for the little flightless fella
that quickly lead to global TV stardom.
But also, the animation isn't brilliant, is it,
compared to what we have now? But that's the best thing about it.
Like, the little fins...
To date, it's estimated that Pingu has been seen
by more than a billion people on 140 TV stations worldwide.
-And he was kind of cheeky, wasn't he, Pingu?
-He was. He was naughty.
-Which is what you love when you're a kid.
But I think the seal was even more naughty than Pingu.
I loved the noises. That was my favourite thing,
the way they just... The sound effects are so good.
Listen to it when he eats that fish.
HE SLURPS AND SMACKS LIPS
The little giggle. And I love the movement.
You do feel as if they make it up as they go along, don't they?
And his mouth. When he gets really excited, his mouth goes out a long way, like a little trumpet.
-And then it just gets big at the end.
Noot, noot, noot!
And, for me, that's the kind of precursor to all the great animation
you get now like Finding Nemo and Toy Story and all that kind of stuff.
-Oh, this is it, yeah.
-This is the good stuff, back in the day.
You do not have to worry about what Pingu's going to say or do.
-Because he can't say anything.
-It's just entertaining.
Well, exactly. You don't have to worry about your child
-repeating something inappropriate.
Noot, noot, noot!
So it was the simplicity of it that was appealing?
-I think so. I just thought it was funny.
And I just liked the little noises. I thought he was cute,
I thought he was naughty, he was mischievous.
It was one of those that you always think,
"Aw, Pingu, you silly sausage."
So what was it like growing up? What was your living room like?
Our living room hasn't changed that much, to be honest.
We had a big fireplace. Real fire, cos I grew up in a big, old farmhouse
-so it heated everything.
And me and my brother used to fight to get close to the fire
so one of us would sit there, red-raw on one side
cos we were so hot but we weren't moving.
-No-one was giving up that space next to the fire.
I want to ask you about something...
Well, a show that possibly moved you when you were a kid, you know?
We talk about TV tears, you know?
Something that really touched you?
I was a very loyal telly viewer when I was growing up
so had my programmes that I liked to watch.
I loved to watch Grange Hill, loved to watch Newsround,
loved to watch Byker Grove.
We just need to be sure what we're getting ourselves into, yeah?
Filmed in Newcastle, and based around a local youth club,
the BBC's gritty teen soap told tales of hi jinks and tragedy,
with a cast recruited from ordinary schools.
It ran for a mammoth 18 seasons,
quickly becoming an institution and the one TV show
that's guaranteed to get you talking in a Geordie accent. Why-aye.
Don't worry, we'll have your money. Won't we, Duncan?
-Don't you find you want to go,
"Grove." Oh, yeah.
And, unthinkable as it is, let's not forget
that Ant didn't have Dec at his side until Byker Grove.
Casting two unknown actors to play friends PJ and Duncan,
was the start of the celebrity duo's incredible careers.
I have never been paintballing because of Byker Grove.
Ah, well, we've got a moment that will...
It'll come flooding back to you now. Here it is.
So what's the background to this moment, then?
-They were on an awayday or something like that.
Put it back on, put it back on!
-Oh! I can't even watch it.
-Aw. Is it really...?
It's awful because, as someone who
wears contact lenses, has terrible eyesight,
my eyes meet in the middle, it's awful if you can't see,
and when he did... And I'm very protective of my eyes
and when he did that, I was just thinking,
"Oh, wow, that must have hurt."
And I think I knew what was coming. I knew he was going to go blind, and the following weeks,
where he's learning to do things and coming to terms with the fact he's blind....
But didn't the series end on that
and then you had to wait some time for the next series?
I just remember the subsequent episodes where his girlfriend
took him out and she had to lead him down the steps
and had to teach him how to live being blind,
-and it was heartbreaking. I wept... It was heartbreaking.
He can't see!
It's not real.
Yeah, but it is. It was as a kid, to me, you know? I felt his pain.
But it all comes flooding back, doesn't it?
What, with the sandwich and that,
I mean, it really does move you again.
I think you cannot underestimate how important children's TV is
in helping young adults form opinions and stuff.
And I think a lot of those programmes, you do store them,
there's no denying it. If you watch them as a kid, you store them
and they impact on your memories and how you think about things.
Byker Grove, Grange Hill, all those shows taught me about drugs,
-taught me about stuff like that even though...
I remember watching things on those shows and thinking,
-"Oh, is that really what happens?"
When you talk about drugs, it's obviously saying how...
The effects it had and how wrong it is.
Yeah. There was a character on Byker Grove who was doing loads of things
and then got himself in all kinds of trouble,
got himself involved in drugs and then you saw him
physically go downhill and you saw him lose out on loads of things,
and I think for a lot of people in my generation that was a warning.
Helen, we're moving on to must see TV.
Something that was unmissable to you.
-Oh, look at him.
-Oh, look at him!
-Look how young he is.
Look how chiselled he is. You could abseil off those cheekbones.
A year ago today, Iraqi tanks rolled into Kuwait, an invasion...
A young Krishnan Guru-Murthy was just one of many correspondents
breaking news headlines on Newsround.
It ran for over 40 years and was one of the world's first
TV news magazine shows aimed specifically at children.
-Now, as a kid, did you watch Newsround?
I was one of those kids that was always out doing stuff
so I used to record it on a VHS tape and then get in and watch it.
-Well, of course, now it's totally different.
-Well, of course.
You've got to catch up on everything, haven't you?
Well, you just look at your phone to get the news but obviously then,
I had to put my VHS in, rewind, make sure my brother hadn't re-recorded something,
so I could catch up on what was going on.
Elsewhere, there's suffering too after what Saddam Hussein did.
On the borders of Iraq, the Kurds
are still living in refugee camps, scared to go home.
..how gritty and how serious it was.
Oh, yeah, people think that Newsround is all about dolphins and whales.
It isn't at all. You're doing exactly the same stories
-as in the six o'clock news, the ten o'clock news.
You just have to be careful about how you tell that story.
The effects of the invasion, a year ago today,
may be felt for years to come.
When I joined Newsround, sometimes you'd go to events
and the six o'clock news would be there as well and they'd be like,
"Oh, Helen will go last, it's only Newsround."
And I used to think, "We're doing the same stories as you are
-"only we have to use language that is appropriate for seven-year-olds."
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And tell it in a different way. So I never let them go first.
I used to get my elbows in... "Wait your turn. We're on air first, you."
-I'm going to move onto guilty pleasures now.
This is something you loved watching but didn't really
want anyone else to know.
-Yes. Bit of Bully.
Welcome to another edition of Bullseye.
We've got a great audience in here tonight, raring to go
but they've got to stay in, we've locked the doors.
Let's play Bullseye.
This, for me, was after I'd had my Findus crispy pancake
-and before I had my bath.
OK, let's play Bullseye. Questions in the first round are £30 each.
There are the three brains sitting all ready to play the game.
'This legendary ITV game show combining dart playing
'and quiz questions was an instant hit.
'During the 1980s, in its prime slot on Sunday evening,
'as many as 17 million of us tuned in to watch.'
Bully says it's correct. 30 points, you've got.
'It was hosted for 14 years by one of TV's most-loved personalities.'
Who would you like to be if you weren't Brian Barnes?
Oh, Clint Eastwood, of course.
Jim Bowen has got a great voice as well, hasn't he?
-Gravelly, like yourself.
-Thank you very much.
Well, he was a comedian, wasn't he?
He was a comic but he was a schoolteacher as well.
What did you love about the show, then?
I loved Bully. I loved it that they went home with a Bully.
One of those little, fat ornaments.
-I thought, "Oh, I would have liked one of them."
-Did you never...?
-You can't get them unless you go on it.
And I loved the prizes. Here's what you could have won.
And they were always offering people speedboats.
Not that many people have use for a speedboat.
-You live in a terraced house in Wigan. Here's a speedboat.
£100 a question now, questions even more difficult...
I never, ever, ever got the opportunity
-to possibly even touch a Bully.
Well, we're going to put that to the test
and give you the opportunity to have a little game
of our own version of that iconic show.
It's like Surprise Surprise.
I know, I know. Behind this, which weighs about four tonnes...
-..we've got a dartboard.
-There it is.
-And, one moment, I shall get the darts.
-So, you come round here.
-And we'll play our very own darts quiz.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. OK.
In one! Didn't put you off then, did I? OK, sorry, go on.
Go on, go on.
-Oh, it... Uh...
-Didn't have the height.
On Bullseye, the consolation prize was a...?
-Bendy Bully, that's not the answer.
-And your BFH...
That's what he used to say, "And your BFH..."
What did BFH stand for?
Before you go home?
-Bus fare home.
-Bus fare home! Sorry, sorry.
-Well done, you got that one, Helen.
-There's no question.
-Oh, it's a treble but not the right one.
-It's a treble 12.
OK, here we go.
When deciding whether to gamble their winnings from the prize board,
what period of time did contestants have to decide?
Oh, I'm going to go 20 seconds.
It was actually the time it took the board to revolve round.
Oh, OK. Right, yes. Big board, yeah.
It's all right, you've got one right. Well, nearly.
OK, so let's go for the big one, the big finish.
You'll get this, you'll get this one.
-Ooh, you do like that 12.
-There it is, another 12.
-I wanted a treble 20.
Now, please, stand on the oche.
Despite the fact Jim Bowen claimed to have never said this line,
what is his best-remembered Bullseye catchphrase?
Well, I loved it when he said, "Here's what you could have won."
That was harsh. But "super, smashing, great".
You are absolutely right. Well done indeed. Sit yourself down.
Now, sit there, close your eyes because I've got a surprise for you.
-Are you ready?
-If it's not a Bully, this is going to be really harsh.
Don't be nervous. Open your eyes.
I just said, "If it's not a Bully this is going to be really harsh!"
Oh, you've raided a lot of car-boot sales for that, haven't you?
I think you have... Do you know what?
We've all done this,
and can I just show you what he used to have under his shirt?
-I don't know what that is.
-That's a terrible spray tan, that's what that is.
-I know it is.
-Oh, that is brilliant.
-So there you are. You didn't get all the questions right
but we're happy to give you that with our love.
Oh, that's the best thing I've ever been given in telly.
-Oh, isn't that lovely? Thank you very much.
Now, this is the family favourite we're moving onto.
I won't say any more.
Let's have a little look at it. Here we go. Helen's family favourite.
And tonight's test examines the ability to retain
and discard information.
-What is it, Helen?
The Krypton Factor.
'Another hit game show from ITV that began in the '70s,
'The Krypton Factor ran for nearly 20 years,
'pushing contestants to their limits...'
..and Steve is going to have to work really hard to get back...
'..testing their mental ability...'
..74, third letter...
'..and their physical endurance.'
He's trained so hard for this race.
Everything on this, you've probably done, haven't you?
I've never done this assault course. I used to go and watch people at a local Army assault course
because I thought it was like Krypton Factor.
And he falls, which allows Nick Clarke to pass him
so disaster for Steve,
from first to fourth in just two obstacles.
They put them through their paces, didn't they? There's no denying.
The instructor and judge for the round
is Lieutenant Commander Trevor Toms.
Which bit are we on now? Oh, the simulator!
And next goes Mike McEwan, takes the pilot seat first.
I loved the idea of doing something like that.
Directly ahead is HMS Illustrious, steaming along at about 20 knots.
At the time, there weren't any fancy video games like that.
-Oh, I agree, yeah.
-There weren't any fancy simulators.
Now you can go to a theme park and go in a simulator
and have a go at something like this or rig it up in your living room
with your Xbox or whatever but you couldn't then.
My computer games at the time were those ping-pongs,
-one ball going across the screen. Doink.
And both the interior and exterior views
show he's coping pretty well at the moment.
This was family viewing.
This, with my mum, dad, brother and my grandad.
Well, here comes Mike probably now regretting
those earlier mistakes as he watches Norman charging on towards
-the final of obstacle, the maze.
-He should have lifted his legs up.
-I know where you're going, I know where you're going.
-You watch it...
Disappointed with Red. Lift your legs up, love!
Yeah, but there's probably a small word called exhaustion kicking in there.
..crosses the line for 6 points for second place.
My audition for Blue Peter was very similar to that assault course.
You do take things very seriously.
Oh, I wish I wasn't so competitive but I can't help it.
-It's my brother's fault!
I was brought up with an older brother and our house was always full of his friends,
and if I wanted to hang out with them and play with them, I had to keep up.
He wouldn't let me play cricket until I could overarm bowl, stuff like that. We're the same now.
-But there was no, sort of, leniency to you, being a girl.
If couldn't do it, then I wasn't allowed to play.
And my husband knows how to push a button.
If he says, "Oh, go downstairs and get the remote."
I say, "No, don't be lazy!" and then he'll go, "I'll time you."
And then I go. Why is that? What is that?
-Well, Blue Peter continues to this day, doesn't it?
It is the longest running kids show in the world.
We celebrated its 50th anniversary when I was on it
and I was on it for six years and left in 2013.
What we have got for you now is a little treat.
This is your first introduction to...
Well, you being introduced to the nation on Blue Peter
for the very first time. Here it is.
Well, you know my name's Helen.
I'm 5' 4".
I've got brown eyes.
This is Cumbria in the North West of England. It's where I'm from.
This is the farm where I grew up.
-So, do your parents still live there?
-Yeah, they do, yeah.
-Yeah, it was a very Famous Five kind of childhood.
Like, play in the barns, swim in the river, build a raft,
all that kind of stuff. Yeah, I loved it.
This is my family. They know way too much about me.
-Oh, my grandad's not with us any more.
It takes you about half an hour in front of the mirror, doesn't it?
-Is nice to see him again?
-He loved it.
He used to carry a Blue Peter annual around all the time.
This is where I learned to dance. I even helped teach some of these guys.
Oh, my word. What?
There you are giving it some welly.
There's no getting away from anything now, is there?
DANCE MUSIC PLAYS
-You are a good mover.
-No, I THINK I am. There's a difference.
No, there's no denying.
I just liked the kids. I used to do a lot of tap dancing.
I got invited to the Ken Dodd Tap Awards once
and that is invitation only so...
Say no more. Cos you obviously auditioned for it.
Well, I was on Newsround at the time.
So I got in trouble because I was blonde when I auditioned
and I just went in and dyed my hair one day.
And they went, "What? You can't do that any more."
But I was on Newsround so my audition was a bit weird.
-The audition involved an assault course.
And I took it really seriously and did it really quick
and I didn't do any presenting and they said, "Go back and do it again."
And something I am genuinely excited about is the fact
-that I've got two new friends. Helen!
-Go on, bring the cats over.
-Yeah, I've already bonded with these guys.
Socks and Cookie, sounds like they've had a cracking summer.
-But so have we, haven't we?
Andy and Joel used to pretend that they were allergic to the cats
so they didn't have to hold them.
And I used to carry that cat around and its hair would get stuck
to all my lip gloss and my lip balm so I looked like I had a beard
and a moustache by the end of each link.
Our first challenge sees all three of us
trying to get a massive kite up in the air.
-You look tiny!
-And Andy and Joel... I mean, that studio was huge!
Andy and Joel, they become like your brothers
-because you're together so much.
You know, my first day at work, we went to Alaska
and we were in a tent living together for weeks on end.
-On your first day at work?
We flew to Alaska, the three of us, and the crew, obviously.
We were in a tent, living in a camper van,
and they're like your family in the sense that you love them
and you wouldn't let anybody say anything about them
but you can fight with them like cat and dog.
-It was great.
You're just exploring the world, having a great time,
and the thing about Blue Peter is, your job is to experience stuff.
It's not work, it's just playing out.
And hopefully we can get our giant train of 50 Blue Peter badges
in the air at one time.
-Why are you laughing?
-Because it feels like another lifetime.
We've made 50 giant Blue Peter badges, with the help
of this very creative gang of children.
On Blue Peter, it takes you to... It sounds full-on
-but it takes you to emotional highs and emotional lows, you know?
I filmed with, you know...
I filmed with terminally ill children in my arms,
I've filmed facial surgery on orphans in Indian slums
and then the other times, you're flying...
I flew an RAF... I flew a Red Arrow, flipped it.
So you're really high and really low so with the crew...
But at that young age, how do you cope with those sort of emotions?
You do it on telly. You share everything with the viewer
and I think that's the unique thing about Blue Peter.
You're never asked to be a telly presenter, you're just asked how you feel about stuff.
So thank you very much, guys. You've done a fantastic job.
Fingers crossed we're going to do it.
But it's a hard lifestyle to maintain.
I got to the point where I knew I wanted to get married
-and all the rest of it and... I knew it was time to go.
-And have children.
Yeah, Oh, God. It took me a year to leave.
-It took me a year to build up to handing my notice.
And finally, what did it for you?
What was it that just went, "I've got to tell them now"?
-I went to Heathrow to park a plane and...
-Like you do.
I'm going to Heathrow. I'm going to park a plane, left hand down a bit.
And I walked in and the guy went, "Oh, you're back again?
"What are you doing today?"
And I thought, "Right, it's time to someone else to have a go."
So, what do you enjoy watching today? If we do a full circle?
What is it you love?
-Massive Game Of Thrones fan.
And I'm not normally into that kind of stuff.
Massive DIY SOS fan.
-I weep from the start.
-Yeah, yeah, it is...
It is... You know, those home improvement shows,
where it matters, where that person is having what they are having done
-for a reason because they've done such good.
You're just gone, aren't you, from the start. I've gone, I've gone.
Well, good luck with everything. Did you enjoy it?
-Have you enjoyed this experience?
-Oh, I've had a great time!
-You've got your Bully.
So we want to thank you very much for being part of TV That Made Me
and you get a chance now to pick a theme tune for us to go out on.
Any theme tune you wish.
Can I have It's Only A Game Show?
It's Only A Game Show.
-Cos, again, that takes me back to good old family game show...
family time around the telly together and it will be in your head all day.
All right, then. This is going to be in your head all day.
My many, many thanks to Helen Skelton and It's Only A Game Show.
Thank you, bye-bye.
# It's only a game so put up a real good fight
# I'm gonna be snookering you tonight
# I'm famed for my aim so you better believe I'm right
# I'm gonna be snookering you Snookering you tonight!
# Snookering you... Snookering you tonight. Whoo! #
Former Blue Peter presenter and intrepid adventurer Helen Skelton joins legendary entertainer Brian Conley for a trip down memory lane, enjoying the classic archive TV that made her the go-getter she is today.
How did long-running children's news programme Newsround, the early antics of everyone's favourite Geordie duo Ant and Dec and the extreme challenges of The Krypton Factor all come together to set Helen on the path to TV presenter and endurance record breaker combined? And what part did the wordless, flightless, animated bird Pingu have to play in her success?