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29 October 2014
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Blue Peter presenters: (from left) Joel Defries, Andy Akinwolere and Helen Skelton

As the longest running show in children's television celebrates its 50th year, Joel Defries is unveiled as the second new Blue Peter presenter

Children's BBC is delighted to announce that Joel Defries has joined Blue Peter, CBBC's flagship programme, as its third presenter.


Joel will join current presenter Andy Akinwolere alongside other newcomer Helen Skelton, for the new series which begins on CBBC on BBC One on 23 September 2008.


Londoner Joel, 23, said: "Being the presenter of Blue Peter is one of the finest jobs in the world. I wake up every day thinking I can't believe this is happening. I have never been so happy and can't wait to see what other adventures Blue Peter has lined up for me."


Helen, 25, from Cumbria, said: "I still can't quite believe I am one of the new Blue Peter presenters. I've always been envious of the BP team because they just look like they're having a great time.


"We've done so much exciting stuff for the new series – I'm covered in bruises already, but I'm early for work every day!"


Current presenter Andy said "I'm really excited to be working with Helen and Joel. Helen is very sweet and sensitive and Joel is very funny – I'm sure that Blue Peter fans will love them both."


Joel's fellow school mates spotted his talent at a young age, and voted him "person most likely to present a TV show".


He spent time growing up in both India and New Zealand, and it was in the latter that he had his first taste of television presenting, despite having no previous experience, a three-hour live music show, C4, which was broadcast five days a week.


Outside presenting, Joel is a season ticket holder to Fulham FC, is a self-confessed pop fan, an avid cinema goer and enjoys "jogging really slowly".


Helen started in commercial radio and television when she was 18, presenting a children's programme for ITV Border and working in the newsroom at CFM Radio.


From there she moved to BBC Radio Cumbria, initially as a reporter, but she went on to co-host the flagship breakfast news aged 22.


Helen joined CBBC's Sportsround in 2007, presenting both live on location and from the studio and from January 2008 she also reported and presented for CBBC's Newsround.


She has also been a dance teacher in Penrith – she is a qualified tap dance teacher – and, as befits a Blue Peter presenter, she will soon start taking flying lessons.


She has a strong interest in sport and likes to keep herself active.


Tim Levell, Editor of Blue Peter, said: "In our 50th birthday year, we want Blue Peter to be as fresh and as relevant to children as ever, and we believe that our two new presenters will really help us achieve that aim.


"They are passionate about discovering the world and dedicated to broadcasting to children.


"Blue Peter has a long tradition of discovering talented presenters, and we believe that our new stars, Helen Skelton and Joel Defries, will be as popular with today's children as John Noakes, Peter Purves and Valerie Singleton were in the past."


Blue Peter is on BBC One on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 4.35pm and repeated on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8.30am on CBBC.






Category: Children's; BBC One
Date: 05.09.2008
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