Blue Peter presenters will today apologise to viewers after production staff fixed a poll to name the show's cat.

The apology, which will be broadcast as the long-running children's TV show begins its new series this evening, comes after it emerged an online survey to choose a name for the studio's cat was ignored.

People voting on the Blue Peter website had chosen the name Cookie, but this was rejected in favour of Socks.

Accompanying today's apology will be the introduction of a new addition to the Blue Peter pets, a kitten called Cookie.

The bad publicity over Socks follows the breach of trust fallout when it emerged a teenage visitor to the Blue Peter studio had been asked to stand in as a phone-on competition winner, which led to a £50,000 Ofcom fine.

Yesterday the BBC announced the full-time appointment of Tim Levell as Blue Peter editor, with his predecessor Richard Marson reportedly sacked after the fake phone-in row.

"There is no programme in the world quite like Blue Peter – it holds such a special place in the nation's heart," Levell commented.

"I really want today's children to love it with a new passion, and I beliEve we've got an amazing mix of great talent and ambitious ideas which will make Blue Peter more relevant and exciting than ever."

25/09/2007 12:29:06