Children's TV star Barney joins Blue Peter

CBBC star Barney Harwood is to follow in the footsteps of children's favourites such as Val Singleton and John Noakes, by becoming a presenter of Blue Peter.

Harwood, known to young viewers for his role on shows such as Bear Behaving Badly, and as a co-host with Basil Brush, will become the 35th presenter on the magazine show.

He will replace Joel Defries, who leaves the flagship programme this week.

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Harwood, from Blackpool, will take his seat alongside co-presenters Andy Akinwolere and Helen Skelton on 17 January.

He said: "Being a children's presenter is an ambition that I have already fulfilled but becoming a Blue Peter presenter is simply the icing on the cake. I cannot wait to start work with Andy and Helen, wear my badge on screen and tackle some exciting challenges."

Blue Peter, which is screened twice a week, was launched in 1958.