Petra - the "first" Blue Peter pet
In 1962 the producers hit on the idea of having a Blue Peter pet, so that children not allowed to have animals of their own could have a virtual pet on the box.
The mongrel chosen made her debut just before Christmas (this was before the RSPCA told us a pet wasn't just for the Yuletide), but unfortunately she was a sickly little mutt and died after just one appearance.
Not wishing to upset the kids, the production team scoured the country for a lookee-likee and a new dog was found in a shop in Lewisham. The puppy was named Petra in a competition, thus establishing a tradition that is still upheld to this day.
On 9th September 1965 Petra gave birth to eight puppies, seven of which were given to homes where they could give a great deal of pleasure, or to organisations where they could be of some use.
Candy, Peter and Kim went to children's homes; Rex and Bruce went to farms as sheepdogs, Prince went to some old people, and Rover became a regimental mascot. The eighth puppy, named Patch, stayed on the show and became John Noakes's pet when he joined the show in 1966.
Sadly, Petra became ill in 1977 and was retired from the programme on 30th June, she was finally put down on 14th September. News of her death even made the national press. A statue of Petra by sculptor William Timyn now resides in the Blue Peter garden.