Biddy Baxter MBE (born 1933) is best known as
the former editor of the long-running
popular BBC One children’s magazine show
Peter, a position she held from 1965 to 1988.
She was also its producer from 1962 to 1965. As editor of the
programme, Baxter devised much of the format that is still
born Joan Maureen Baxter in Leicester to a teacher father who became the director of a
sportswear company and a mother who was a pianist.
educated at Wyggeston Girls' Grammar School, Leicester and St Mary's
College, Durham University.
Baxter devised and introduced the Blue
to encourage children to send in programme ideas,
pictures, letters and stories and also she introduced the now
famous annual appeals. She was awarded a gold badge herself when
she retired as editor from the programme. Having been disappointed
as a child to receive the same reply twice to different letters
that she had written to Enid Blyton
also introduced a card index system so that Blue Peter
viewers could receive more personal responses.
In September 2008, Baxter expressed dissatisfaction with the way
was being run and said that she believed that
the BBC was trying to close the programme down.
New Year Honours, 1981, Baxter was
honoured with an MBE (Member of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire), in
recognition of her work as editor of Blue Peter; she received her MBE from The Queen at Buckingham
Palace, on 10 February 1981.
She is also a fellow
of the Royal Television
, and received an honorary D. Litt from the University of
Newcastle in 1988.
Biddy Baxter was married to the BBC Schools music producer and
musical educator John Hosier
, who died
In 2009, Baxter published a selection of children's letters
received by the Blue Peter team. Amongst them was a letter from
who wanted to
become a doctor: he went on to become Professor of Rheumatology and
Tissue Engineering at Bristol University, and said that he owes his
career to Miss Baxter: "If her letter had shown any hint of
ridicule or disbelief I might perhaps never have trained to become
a medical scientist or been driven to achieve the impossible dream,
and really make a difference to a human being's life."
Publications by Baxter
- 2009 (editor) Dear Blue Peter: The Best Of 50 Years Of
Letters To Britain's Favourite Children's Programme
- The Mark Lawson Interview, repeatedly broadcast on BBC 4
throughout May 2007 as part of the 'Children's Television'