The most popular
children's television program in Britain, Blue
Peter, is currently discovering Belize and reportedly,
loving every minute of it.
The Blue Peter crew,
led by Producer/Director/Cameraman Alex Leger, filmed life in and around
San Pedro on Monday and The San Pedro
Sun was invited along for part of the adventure. The day
started with the crew fishing for lobster with an experienced guide -
Belize Rural South Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr. - who led the
film crew to his traps at picturesque Congrejo Caye. Following this, the
day was spent sailing the crystal blue waters of Ambergris Caye, courtesy
of TMM Bareboat Vacations catamarans with one brief stop to swim and
snorkel with the sharks and rays at Shark-Ray Alley. The day ended in a
relaxing beach barbecue at Casa Caracol. This segment of
Peter photo shoot featured the soothing
rhythms of Lenny and Neville, scrumptious grilled lobster and a few
lessons in mastering the "limbo stick".
Peter Producer Alex Leger, who has been with the show
for some 28 years, commented on the "equable" climate and the lovely
breezes of "La Isla Bonita." He explained he first learned of Belize
while "chatting in a pub" more than three years ago. As a matter of
coincidence, it was a man from his own village, Claude Belanger, an
"archaeologist of a sort" who has spent the past ten years at Belize's
Lamanai Maya ruins, who shared the information and encouraged the
producer to visit. A "scouting trip" made in July established the
necessary contacts and production plans were set into motion.
The Blue Peter Belize
expedition includes "presenters" Liz Barker and Simon Thomas, and Sound
Manager Collin Bowes. According to the show's producer, the Belize
program is split between the mainland and the cayes. Before arriving in
San Pedro, the group began their adventure at the ruins of Lamanai
accompanied by Belize Commissioner of Archeology Jaime Awe, and then
witnessed how the Mennonite people have influenced life here in Belize.
On Tuesday, the Blue Peter crew captured
exquisite footage while traveling by helicopter to the Xunantunich Maya
ruins for a glimpse of this ancient culture. From there they ventured
south to Punta Gorda via a cocoa plantation and a stop in Hopkins. The
Blue Peter team received a real taste of
the Garifuna culture, as they learned to make Cassava bread in nearby
Barranca, and concoct a drink called Kuhuh. A stop at Green Hill and
Fallen Stones Butterfly Farms gave the group a splendid opportunity to
observe the magnificent Blue Morpheus butterflies raised there.
"These brilliant creatures are shipped from Belize to
as far away as Stratford-on-Avon, Shake-speare's birthplace, in England.
Since Belize was formerly British Honduras, this act of sharing,
illustrates a small historical link, a type of bond between our two
countries," commented Mr. Leger.
Peter returns to San Pedro this weekend
for one more glimpse of the beautiful Belize Caribbean. Aided by Amigos
del Mar Dive Shop, they will dive the world's second largest barrier
reef, experience the wonders of Hol Chan and then explore the magnificent
These particular episodes of Blue
Peter in Belize will be aired in the United Kingdom
sometime in early January on the British Broadcasting Channel (BBC). The
first viewing will take place on BBC1 on a Monday at 5:00 p.m. with the
second to air the following day, at the same time, on BBC2.
Peter is not filming in exotic locations, the show is
produced inside studios located at Shepherd's Bush, London. Originating
in 1958, a popular part of its program is awarding deserving members of
its viewing audience with Blue Peter
badges, a coveted token among British children (and adults, as we
recently observed!). Entertaining as well as educational,
Blue Peter honors those who promote
conservation, humanitarianism, and demonstrate unselfish acts of
kindness, which benefit all creatures. Currently in its
45th year of
production, the program is said to appeal to a broad range of viewers,
from six to eighty years of age.
The entire Blue Peter production crew expresses their
gratitude to all the wonderful people of Belize who made this segment
possible, with special thanks to Archaeological Commissioner Jaime