Falkirk-born Abby Cook has been announced as Blue Peter's newest presenter. Abby is the 42nd presenter of the longest-running children's TV show in the world and will co-host alongside Mwaksy, Joel and Henry the dog. An exciting new talent, her first live show from dock10 studios airs on Friday, 10 March on CBBC and BBC iPlayer at 5pm.
Abby, 20, attended Grangemouth High School, leaving with straight A's, before studying Applied Biological Science at Forth Valley College. Since then, she has worked with Valley Disability Sport, supporting disabled and non-disabled young people to enjoy being active together, and as a mental health project administrator for Scottish Disability Sport, helping to promoting inclusion within sport.
As a wheelchair user she loves to get involved in sports like wheelchair racing, training twice a week with Paralympians as part of the Forth Valley Flyers, and she is a big fan of wheelchair basketball. 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.
Abby is a big animal lover, adores creepie crawlies and her family dog Tato. She's also very musical, playing both electric and bass guitar, as well as the Ukulele, and likes nothing more than going to watch a musical theatre show. She's also into crafting which, she says, will come in useful in her new Blue Peter role, enjoying plate painting, pottery and embroidery.
Abby has been a big fan of Blue Peter all her life. When she first spoke to the show's producers she declared ‘here's one I made earlier’ when demonstrating her ability to play the Ukulele, despite only knowing the audition was for ‘a BBC show’. She also impressed when she revealed she loved to collect badges as a child, with her animal impersonation skills, and with her ability to remain unflustered after trying to play a kazoo from the wrong end.
She says she is still in shock at joining the very exclusive Blue Peter presenting club. "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."
Abby says the show had a big impact on her when she was younger: "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, who admits she is afraid of heights, will certainly be earning her Blue Peter Badge with her first challenge - abseiling down Millers Dale Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. On her first show Abby will be showing her skills at track and meeting animals in studio.
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."