An important part of our childhoods came to life last week when we met Floella Benjamin!
She’s one of the most recognisable stars of 1980s TV and I seem to remember that there was much talk of the fact that she appeared on TV while – shock, horror – pregnant!
She was pretty much how we remembered her from Playschool all those years ago. She hasn’t aged at all and was really lovely and welcoming. We’d emerged from the outskirts of a protest outside into the House of Lords where she was hosting an alumni reunion. Bring inside Parliament on Bonfire Night is quite an experience at the best of times, but the whole evening seemed to be set to a soundtrack of police sirens.
Anyway, back inside, she spoke about her 10 years at Exeter University as they’re about to come to an end. In that time thought, she’s made quite an impact. She’s given 35,000 hugs to graduating students, she’s attended 172 degree ceremonies and has even had her feet kissed by one graduate. (Were we supposed to do that at our graduation? I was too busy trying not to fall over to remember).
Steve and I probably know our shapes, colours and numbers thanks to Lady Benjamin, although both of us struggled for a while to remember that there was a Hamble in addition to Humpty, Big Ted, Little Ted and Jemima! While Steve talked about round, square and rectangular windows, Floella gave us a huge smile and called us her “Playschool babies” and remarked that we were a special generation.
I just love this picture, even though I’ve ruined it by looking completely bedraggled and by carrying a massive rucksack!
I wonder if any of the TV programmes that LO watches now will make such an impact. Will he be photographed years later with a star from CBeebies? Perhaps Dr Ranj? Mister Maker? Or Mr Bloom? My money’s on Mr Tumble….