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Biddy Baxter

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RealWorld

Biddy Baxter, MBE was the producer of Blue Peter from 1962-1965 and its content editor from 1965-1988. She was thus the virtual showrunner of the programme for all but the last year of Doctor Who's original run, and is credited for starting Blue Peter's long relationship with Doctor Who. She is also responsible for the preservation of important clips from missing episodes of Doctor Who.

Because of a torrent of letters from viewers about the Daleks during the height of "Dalekmania", she engaged the services of Raymond Cusick for her show. He provided the first of what would become semi-regular instalments showing kids how to make various Doctor Who-related objects. He gave instructions which allowed kids to make their very own Dalek out of ordinary household items. The feature was the first public acknowledgment that Cusick had designed the Daleks. She would continue to involve Doctor Who in the production of Blue Peter, bringing behind-the-scenes personnel and actors onto her show. Her ability to inspire the creativity of her young viewers with such things as the first design-a-monster contest in 1967 — which received over a quarter of a million entries — helped make Doctor Who an activity, rather than a passive television experience.

Under her administration, Blue Peter occasionally was a source of genuine news about Doctor Who, such as when Blue Peter became the first programme to reveal the identity of the actor playing the Seventh Doctor or when presenter Peter Purves reported on the theft of two genuine Dalek props in the 1970s.

She also had a role in the physical preservation of Doctor Who footage. Blue Peter almost always included clips from the programme when Doctor Who segments were aired. Two of the more notable were the death of Katarina in The Daleks' Master Plan and the regeneration of William Hartnell into Patrick Troughton from The Tenth Planet. These pivotal clips, from otherwise missing episodes survive only because of Baxter's strict policy of retaining every episode of Blue Peter. It has been remarked that if Baxter had instead been the producer of 1960s Doctor Who, there would be no missing episodes. (DOC: Who Peter)

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