Welcome to Blue Peter: Wheelchair racer Abby Cook announced as 42nd presenter

Everything you need to know about the young wheelchair user taking up one of the most iconic roles in television

The best Blue Peter presenters are born to wear the badge. It’s not a job. It’s a vocation to which only a few are called. There’s no training because there’s no other role that combines daredevil stunts, dog handling, and high-pressure craft projects on live TV. One show you’re making a Mother’s Day card, the next trying to run across the Irish Sea in a giant inflatable ball. Applicants must be endlessly enthusiastic but never patronising, completely fearless but highly relatable and willing to become an icon for a generation of children.

They don’t come any more perfectly suited than Abby Cook, who's just been announced as the 42nd presenter of the world's longest-running children’s TV show. And that indicates how iconic being a Blue Peter presenter is. Only US Presidents, James Bonds, royalty and Doctor Who get numbered like that.

Abby has just started co-hosting with Mwaksy, Joel and Henry the dog, and we couldn’t be prouder that she’s also a young wheelchair user.

What makes her such a perfect pick as a presenter? Well, she’s super-sporty, loves animals, and is very musical for a start. She even said, “here’s one I made earlier” at her first audition despite not knowing which programme she was trying out for. That’s how brilliantly Blue Peter she is.

Falkirk-born Abby, 20, left school with straight A’s before studying Applied Biological Science. Since then, she’s supported disabled and non-disabled young people to enjoy being active together at Valley Disability Sport. She promotes inclusion as a mental health administrator for Scottish Disability Sport.

She loves wheelchair racing, training twice a week at Forth Valley Flyers alongside several Paralympians, and is a big fan of wheelchair basketball. Her bio reveals, "She describes herself as a big kid at heart and a bit of a thrill seeker and in her spare time can be found training at the track or doing wheelies at the local skate park.”

Crucially for Blue Peter, she’s an animal lover, including scary insects and her family dog, Tato. When it comes to music, she plays electric guitar, bass and ukulele. And no prospective Blue Peter presenter would even get to interview without liking crafts. Luckily Abby enjoys pottery and embroidery.

Abby has been a big fan of Blue Peter all her life. She’s still stunned that she will now be presenting it. "I was speechless when I found out, I had to check it was true.

It was a very emotional moment knowing I would actually be presenting a show I love and had grown up with.

Everyone remembers which Blue Peter team members they grew up with, dogs and hibernating tortoises included. Abby said: “Helen and Barney were my era, but I also became obsessed with watching ‘You Decide’ when the public got to choose the latest presenter, and they picked Lindsey. I remember thinking what a great role model she was, she had never presented before but here was this strong woman going on the show and doing an amazing job. I’m hoping to do the same because I know what a lasting impression the presenters can have on the audience.”

Abby explains in a video introducing her that she has a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), “which causes defects in the collagen that holds your joints together. I can stand and walk, but my condition can make me feel really tired and sore, so I use a wheelchair to get about.”

Blue Peter Editor, Ellen Evans, says: “When Abby came to the studio, we knew she would be great for the show because she has an unstoppable ‘can do’ attitude.

She’s up for any challenge, and we know she’ll connect beautifully with our audience because she has a real affinity for working with young people, but she also has the biggest of hearts.

We can’t wait to see how Abby makes the role her own. It’s fantastic to think that a whole generation of viewers will see a young wheelchair user in such an iconic position, taking on everything Blue Peter can throw at her and more.

Blue Peter is on CBBC every Friday at 5pm and is available on BBC iPlayer.

What does Kidz Board think about the Abby announcement?

We asked the members of our Kidz Board how they feel about the  appointement of Abby as the new Blue Peter presenter.


“I was very pleased when I saw the announcement that Abby Cook would be the latest Blue Peter presenter. She will be a great asset to the team while promoting diversity, inclusion and accessibility as a wheelchair user within the media.

"As well as becoming a role model by showing young audiences watching today, who are wheelchair users and future generations, that anything is possible, seeing someone who’s like them, and continuing to educate and raise awareness.

"I’d like her to show some wheelchair tips and tricks – how to propel, break and transfer etc.”


“I am overjoyed for Abby Cook. I didn’t watch much English TV as a child, but I remember when Cerrie Burnell started to present on the children’s channel, CBeebies. There was an uproar on the cover of newspapers. Parents concerned about their children being exposed to a disabled presenter. In that context, it is absolutely brilliant to be shouting about and representing disability.

“It is impossible to talk about disability too much. This has been my job for 15 years. Regarding what Abby should be covering or talking about on the show, I am hesitant to have her talk about disability too much. Not because she shouldn’t do it, but in the context of her being one of the first presenters being a wheelchair user, able-bodied are already going to think her just existing is going to be too much and it could end up in a situation similar to what happened to Cerrie.

"It may be better to spoon-feed the idea of disabled people slowly. She should have the right to talk about her experience with disability, but if long-term progress is to be made, unfortunately, she may need to bite the bullet with disability-related topics.”

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