Freeze frame with Yearsley Group

Arctic conditions for Blue Peter presenters’ challenge.

It was just another day at the office for Blue Peter’s young adventurer Helen Skelton when she joined presenting partner Barney Harwood for a frozen filming session in Manchester this week. The pair donned thermal suits for the 30-second segment, filmed at Yearsley Group’s 165,000 sq ft cold store in Heywood, which forms part of a three-part challenge to test a traditional hard back book against a state-of-the-art e-reader.

Both items were placed in the giant cold store over night, where temperatures dropped to minus 22oc, and were retrieved the following day by the presenters who then attempted to read excerpts from the children’s classic Alice in Wonderland. On hand to help set up the experiment was Yearsley Heywood’s cold store manager Ian Wantling.

Ian said: “The challenge was between the presenters, Barney who thinks e-readers are great and Helen, who prefers a good old fashioned book. Ours was one of three challenges, the others involved who was the fastest to buy a copy and which would survive being run over by a tank. It was pretty clear to which one won our challenge as it was Helen leaving the cold store with the biggest smile on her face, but we don’t know how the other two challenges got on so we’ll have to watch the show ourselves to find out.”

Helen Skelton is no stranger to filming in extreme conditions, having recently completed the BBC Sport relief challenge to reach the South Pole by ski, kite-ski and snow-bike, covering an incredible 500 miles in just 18 days.

Ian added: “We made sure everyone was well wrapped up and put the presenters in our special cold store thermals, including salopettes, padded jackets, gloves and hats. I think Barney was pretty chilly but Helen’s just back from the Antarctic where it was minus 40oc so everyone was joking that it was almost warm for her at only minus 22oc. But she was as glad as anyone when we got back to the office for a warm cup of tea. They were both really friendly and even stopped to chat to the staff who were on shift and sign autographs for some of the children who had come in to see them, as they’re all big Blue Peter fans.”

This is the second time the BBC has called upon the cooling powers of Yearsley Group’s cold stores. Last year the One Show demonstrated the formation of frost crystals with slow motion photography at Yearsley’s Bristol warehouse.

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