Little Miss Sticky Backed Plastic

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Alex's story is about her 15 minutes of fame - starring on Blue Peter with her pet rats!

By Alex Henry

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"I see your rat is eating dried pasta - is he Italian?" the presenter joked. It wasn't funny the first time I heard it but after the third rehearsal it was even harder to feign enthusiasm.

How did I - a teenage girl of fourteen end up here?  Standing in a BBC studio in central London amongst a group of other young people, rat cages on stands in front of us talking to the latest Blue Peter presenter about our pet rats and how they make great pets.

I'll tell you one thing - I never imagined my fifteen minutes of fame would happen quite like this.  Let me try and explain the rather bizarre sequence of events that led me to this situation.........The programme researchers got in touch with the National Fancy Rat Society (yes, such a society does exist). One of the Society's members was a judge for the pet shows held at my local pet club. The programme researchers rang me up and asked me to be on the programme.  Unfortunately, a week or so beforehand, a couple of friends played a joke on me and had rung me up pretending to be a local radio so when the BBC called, you can imagine I was less than enthusiastic on the phone. A few weeks later I am standing in a TV studio about to be broadcast LIVE to millions.

I'll admit it was quite exciting being in a real TV studio seeing all the cameras, cables, curtains, and people hidden behind the scenes.  My rats and I got our own dressing room to prepare ourselves for our Blue Peter debut and I even got a badge which came in very handy as a poor student when I unashamedly used it to get free entry to the Beatles Story in Liverpool.

I didn't tell many people that I was going to be on TV - I think I freaked a few people out as they were sitting down to watch telly that evening.  Someone who did know recorded it for me on video tape, but to this day I still haven't watched it - I don't know why, I just can't do it.

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