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What would you add to the Blue Peter time capsule?

Blue Peter badge

This week, workers at the O2 accidentally dug up a time capsule buried by Blue Peter in 1998. As a proud three-time badge awardee, you can imagine my horror when I heard the news.

The container, carefully laid down at what was then the Millennium Dome, was meant to remain undisturbed until 2050, but was unearthed in rough and untimely fashion by builders preparing the way for a shopping centre.

While the capsule has been damaged, its contents remain intact and evoke heaps of nostalgia for the early Blair years; a Spice Girls CD, a Tamagotchi, some Teletubbies, photos of Princess Diana and a Roald Dahl book are just some of the items preserved, selected at the time by Blue Peter viewers.

The programme’s current hosts intend to repair the damage and rebury the pod soon, but not before topping it up with some items from 2017.

Adding value

Immediately deciding that an opportunity of this magnitude couldn’t be left to the after-school TV audience, I asked our team which items they would preserve for 2050.

Here’s what they told me:

Lauren Deitz: A selfie stick, because surely these awful tools won’t last forever. Maybe a photo of green space in London to prove that it did once exist. And a book – Harry Potter would be my choice, just in case e-readers do take over and books are no longer produced.

Katie Bannister: A bottle of Pressure Drop Brewing’s Bosko Absoluto; my favourite vinylIs this it by The Strokes; and my GameCube. This makes for a fabulous evening, too, by the way.

Mel Train: A bottle of prosecco (to see what it tastes like in 33 years’ time), a Nutribullet and a copy of Which?.

Rachel Collinson: A packet of cheesy Wotsits, just to see if they survive.

And for myself? A hoverboard seems fitting, or perhaps an e-cigarette. Maybe a copy of some software terms and conditions, although the end recipient might need another 33 years to get through them.

Before they close the lid for the second (and hopefully final) time, I’d like to know what items the Which? Convo community would hoard for future generations. So, what would you put in the Blue Peter capsule?

Comments
Profile photo of Ian
Member

A list of things we would gain as published by the Brexit campaigners.
A photo of a GP’s surgery so people can know they existed.
A first class stamp that didn’t require a second mortgage.

Profile photo of Adam Gillett
Member

I recently rediscovered a stash of 28p first class stamps in the bottom of a box of stationery. While not quite on the same level of financial reward, the feeling was akin to discovering forgotten Apple shares bought in the 80s. My elation was arguably only 30% of that which a resident of 2050 would experience on lifting the lid to find your last suggestion, and as such I think it has to go in.

Profile photo of william
Member

Packaging for many household and food items, so when opened in X years time, people can see how much products have shrunk.

Profile photo of Adam Gillett
Member

I like this suggestion, william – although I’m concerned about products like the Toblerone, which may have identical packaging that contains nothing but a triangle at each end as struts by then.

Profile photo of Ian
Member

LOL! Nice…

Profile photo of william
Member

The packaging may still be the same size, but I would like to think it’d still be against the law not have have an accurate weight listed.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

We buy many products because of their packaging. Children’s plastic toys look so much more appealing in flashy boxes. Perfume in expensive caskets and glass bottles. And how much nicer to receive a gift properly wrapped with ribbon and bow; often more exciting than the contents. But all adds to the consumer experience.

I’d put an M&S Swiss Mountain bar alongside the deconstructed Toblerone to show the problem consumers faced when chocolate, extinct by 2050, was available,

Profile photo of rkemp800
Member

A set of today’s coins while they still have value. And to go with the Brexit campaigners expectations, a copy of the ‘promises’ by the Remainers.

A smartphone as I’m sure they won’t be in use in 2050.

Finally, is 2050 long enough? These capsules should outlive those burying then.

Profile photo of Adam Gillett
Member

I was nine when they first buried this capsule, and will be 61 when it resurfaces. If we consider how much things have changed in only the last decade (the dawn of the smartphone, social media etc.) I think the contents will offer plenty to surprise my sexuagenarian self about how things were in childhood.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Member

A copy of the American Constitution + the Magna Carta to show alien invaders what this world should have been like before we nuked it.

Profile photo of Adam Gillett
Member

I, for one, welcome our new constitutionalist insect overlords.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

So much pessimism in this topic! I won’t make it all the way to 2050, although I’m hoping I might last a few more years, but you’re all making it seem that life won’t be worth living over the next thirty years. Heaven help the younger generations! Let’s rekindle the spirit of Blue Peter and put in something we made earlier.

Profile photo of Adam Gillett
Member

Thanks for the injection of positivity, John. Fully on board with this, although I fear we may need rather a lot of sticky-back plastic to mend some of our current problems!

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

An electricity bill. What things used to cost is staple conversation food. An unarranged joke overdraft – frighten them with 33 years of accumulated charges.

Profile photo of Adam Gillett
Member

Passing on debt to future generations is certainly a time-honoured tradition – doing so as a joke might be a little too real for some!

Profile photo of Ian
Member

I wonder if people have always seen the future as bleak? There’s an inbuilt tendency to remember only the pleasant things of yesteryear and conveniently forget the problems. But this past 15 years, in particular, have changed the world beyond recognition. And almost all of that change is attributable to communications advances.

Profile photo of Adam Gillett
Member

When things change as much as they have, I think there’s naturally a need to adjust – part of which requires rethinking our next steps. Let’s hope we can do so with the best of intentions and not out of our worst instincts. Perhaps we should write down our ideas for how 2050 should or could be and pop them in the capsule, so we can evaluate how we got on (either with a chuckle or a note of alarm).

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I think it would be interesting to include one of the latest and greatest smartphones – the current equivalent of the Swiss army penknife. In 2050 it might be necessary to consult a dictionary of technology to find out what a smartphone was.

A robotic vacuum cleaner, a Nespresso machine, breakfast biscuits, some 2017 vinyl records and one of the monster e-cigarettes that produces great clouds of blueberry-scented steam. A few of the latest coins and plastic notes could be included, though the latter might have crumbled to dust long before 2050.

Profile photo of Adam Gillett
Member

If I can’t understand breakfast biscuits now, I’m not sure what chance the people of 2050 will have. I am intrigued to know how well they’d survive, though. There’s a niche community on YouTube that opens sealed ration packs from World War II and tries the food – perhaps there will be people live-hologramming themselves opening packs of vintage belVita in 2050!

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Good point, Adam. Maybe just include the wrapper. These might be a timely addition:

Credit: BBC

Profile photo of alfa
Member

We recently found our own little ‘time capsule’, a few things that had been stuffed in a wall presumably when an extension was built. A price list for Nordic Saunas dated 1970 when a cottage log sauna would have set you back £3427 , an empty Woolworths waste bin liners packet and an empty Typhoo tea leaves packet that cost 9.5p for 4oz.

Profile photo of Adam Gillett
Member

Finds like that are brilliant. Sauna technology has come on some way in the last 47 years, and you can now get one for significantly less. Can’t say the same for loose leaf tea!

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

That sauna cabin would have cost half as much as a London suburban flat in 1970. The tea at 1/11 a quarter would now equate to slightly less than a 125g packet of Typhoo loose leaf tea today at around £1.09.

Is there a table anywhere on-line that shows the prices of domestic staples down the years? I accept that some products change over time but tea, sugar, milk, soup, meats, cereals, bread, w-up liquid, and many other everyday products are constant in composition. Reducing the prices to unit prices would show how prices have moved both individually and relatively to other costs of living.

Profile photo of Adam Gillett
Member

I stand corrected on the tea – perhaps my loose-leaf tastes have just got a bit fancy. You won’t get a decent FTGFOP for £1.09!

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I had to look up FTGFOP. 🙂

I remember tea bags being disparagingly referred to as ‘tea leaves in toilet paper’ and ‘floor sweepings’ when I was young.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

You’ve lost me there, Adam. What does FTGFOP stand for?

Profile photo of alfa
Member

Flash The Gash, Fix Our Potholes?

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

It’s alright, Adam – I’ve got it now – you were showing off.

It stands for “Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe”. You can’t get that in Sainsbury’s.

Fortnum & Mason’s Assam Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe Tea in a pretty green tin costs £12.50 for 125g. Is it as tasty as Typhoo, would you say? I am looking for a professional taste test and value for money assessment here.

I prefer Alfa’s interpretation of the acronym.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Apparently you need large leaves and space for then to expand during the mash for a decent cuppa. i certainly prefer tea brewed in a teapot. Our everyday favourite for all-round strength and flavour is M&S Luxury Gold loose lea, but in an emergency (as in a picnic lunch yesterday) their equivalent tea bags are not too bad. What I hate to see is a pot of tea served in a cafe containing a solitary tea bag, betrayed by its tail hanging out over the side.

Profile photo of Adam Gillett
Member

In a former life I worked for a high-end tea company, so perhaps there’s a separate convo in tea myths and expert preparation tips somewhere down the line…

As some of you may have discovered, sometimes FTGFOP it is used as an abbreviation for ‘far too good for other people’, although I wouldn’t be so snobbish myself.

wavechange – that’s actually not far from the truth. Tea is sorted by passing it through different grades of sieve, and the tea in British teabags is generally ‘fannings’, or the lowest grade tea dust that falls out of the bottom.

John – you can get a nice Darjeeling of equivalent quality for a lot less elsewhere. The leaves being largely unbroken is the crucial bit.

To avoid getting too far off the topic – if I were to choose some tea to preserve in this particular circumstance, it would have to be a nice oolong. It might actually improve with the aging.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

In my student days I sometimes stayed up until the small hours drinking tea and coffee and doing our own taste tests. Happy days. Some years later I moved to an extremely hard water and that spoiled the taste of tea for me. I look forward to drinking tea when visiting friends and family in the highlands of Scotland, where the water is much softer.

Pop the oolong in the time capsule. It will take up less space than some of the suggestions so far.

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Member

An orange train ticket? Complete with the words ‘Any permitted route’?

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

But don’t go for Southern in case they have a standing charge.

Profile photo of Sophie Gilbert
Member

A tuft of orange hair (surely it’s a toupet) and a weapon with “you don’t need these anymore” label.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

That deserves discussion. Toupet or not toupet? That is the question.

Profile photo of Sophie Gilbert
Member

lol!

Profile photo of Sophie Gilbert
Member

A European flag with the sheet music and lyrics to “we’re still here”.

Profile photo of RichardBrophy
Member

I would put in a old Nokia 3210, Original Sega megaCD & games, Philips CDI player , & a Blu Ray of Blue Peter eps from the 60’s to Present day. Keeps with the 90’s theme mostly. ( Plus the report the original capsule was dug up)

Profile photo of MandyHolloway
Member

I think we might possibly add the union flag (jack) to the next time capsule in case Scotland gets independence and Ireland unites as an EU country.