‘You’ve got something under your nose.’

With a giggle, Trudy wiped a finger under her nose, inspected the white powder there and sucked it clean. ‘I always get a bit nervous when it’s live.’

Hamish smiled thinly. He didn’t like live tv either but didn’t need any stimulation to get through a ten minute slot in the Blue Peter Garden; his ambition was enough. Ambition which would take him, if all went to plan, to Hollywood within five years.

They straightened as the director, a terrifying platinum blond with ambitions to move into Sunday night drama as a stepping stone to HBO, arrived. ‘Right, let’s get on. Where are the brats?’ Half a dozen small children, all wearing brightly coloured wellies and Blue Peter cagoules, emerged from the shed, led by a production assistant.

‘That’s no good! Give them shovels, or hoes or something. We need them doing something useful in the background. Hurry up Sally, for God’ sake!’

Sally rushed back into the shed, emerged with a handful of shiny new tools, appropriately sized for small people. She handed them out and arranged the children vaguely around the bare soil. ‘Dig, or something. Whatever. Look active.’ She hurried back into the shed, where a Hazelnut Latte and Steve, the production assistant’s assistant, were waiting.

The Director surveyed the scene. ‘You children. Dig harder. Swing these shovels. We’re about to start. Right. Places.’ She consulted her watch. ‘Trudy, Hamish, you ready?’ They nodded, and shuffled into place beside the runner beans. The red light on camera one blinked on. Trudy gave her trademark smile, and Hamish launched into his spiel. 

Behind them, unseen by the presenters, unnoticed by the director, but preserved forever by the all-seeing eye of the camera, a small girl swung a sharp, triangular shovel down on a small boy’s foot. They both looked, amazed, at the bright red blood and the neatly severed toecap of the boy’s yellow wellington. Another child picked up the little piece of rubber. Five tiny toes fell out. She screamed. Everything stopped, with the exception of the camera; the cameraman had his own ambitions, to have his own YouTube channel.

The next day, Huw Edwards looked solemn as he told the world about the demise of the most beloved children’s show in the world, as he portentously put it. Behind him, on a loop, the viewers could see Goldie, the Blue Peter Labrador, enjoying an unexpected meal.


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