Happy 50th birthday Play School!

Play School needs no introduction and this iconic children’s show for pre-schoolers holds a special place in many of our hearts. Remember singing along “there’s a bear in there” to the theme song? Plus doing crafts and reading books with the variety of wonderful hosts such as John Waters, Lorraine Bayly and Noni Hazlehurst. Let's not forget Jemima, Humpty, Big Ted and Little Ted and more friendly faces.

Everyone has a special memory of this wonderful kids show. What was yours? Don’t forget to share your Play School stories below to help celebrate Play School's 50th birthday.

Here are 10 fun facts about the iconic children’s TV show Play School.

1. There's not just one but two bears in there – Big Ted and Little Ted!

2. Play School is the second longest running children’s program in the world. First place goes to the BCC show Blue Peter which is in its 58th year.


Reminisce with this 1992 episode of Play School, presented by Noni, John and Pauline McLeod 

3. The first Play School show went to air on July 18, 1966 at 10.05am (in NSW and Victoria only). One of the first episodes included the rocket clock and Little Ted going to the moon as as this was in the midst of the space race!

4. The Mint has released a special memento for this historical milestone with a very cute Play School three coin set featuring the famous toys Humpty Dumpty, Jemima, Big Ted and Little Ted!

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Celebrate Play School's 50th birthday with these coins from the Mint (Images: Royal Australian Mint)


Sing-a-long to the Play School theme song!

5. Play School has attracted an impressive list of high profile Australian actors, such as: John Waters, Lorraine Bayly, Noni Hazlehurst, Benita Collings, George Spartels, John Hamblin, Don Spencer and Philip Quast; Simon Burke, Justine Clarke, Jay Laga'aia, Deborah Mailman, Georgie Parker, Alex Papps and Brooke Satchwell. Guest stars have included Molly Meldrum, Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian, Katie Noonan and Magda Szubanksi.

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Noni Hazlehurst with Humpty (Image: Facebook/Play School) 

6. Play School was originally shown in the UK on the BBC (they have already celebrated their 50th birthday).

7. Benita Collings has appeared on Play School for more than 30 years and filmed 401 episodes. More than any other presenter. The esteemed TV presenter says Big Ted is her favourite toy on Play School.

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Did you know, Benita Collings has filmed the most number of episodes of any Play School presenter (Image: Facebook/Play School)

8. Play School is such an icon there is a museum show currently on display. Celebrating 50 Years of Play School is on at the National Museum of Australia from May 7 until July 24. Entry $4-$8 with under 5s free. Once the exhibition closes its doors in Canberra on July 24 it will tour the country for two years.

9. You can wish Play School a Happy Birthday with the little person in your life you love! Simply print out your favourite birthday card choosing from Jemima doing ballet, Humpty surfing, or Little Ted flying a kite and more. Take a photo of your birthday card and join in the celebrations by posting it in the Play School picture gallery. Want to hosting a Play School party? The ABC has a great free downloadable party pack here.

10. A whopping 80 per cent of kids who are under six are estimated to watch Play School Australia every week. If you want to have mobile access for the little person in your life download the four Play School apps for free. Watch the latest episodes on ABC iview or daily on ABC Kids. Big Ted’s Excellent Adventures: 50 Years of Play School is available to watch on ABC iview until 24th July 2016.

WYZA® staff members share stories of their childhood memories and how Play School impacted their lives.

Playschool -50-nathan -headshot -wyza -com -au“When I was four-years-old Mum took me to Centennial Park in Sydney for the annual Teddy Bear’s Picnic. I took my favourite bear along - called Little Ted after the Play School bear. He won the most loved bear award because he was my favourite toy and I took him everywhere.”
Nathan Cunial, Graphic Designer

 

 

Sandra -hook -headshot -wyza -com -au"Coincidentally the bear that I was given by my Grandmother was called Edward, or Ted of course.  Ted arrived before me and so I’ve had him all 55 years of my life.  When Play School launched I was delighted to see Ted, or Big Ted play such a starring role.  It seemed only fitting that someone (he was certainly a ‘one’ not a ‘thing’) as important as my Ted should be central to this great new TV programme.  When my own girls arrived, my Ted was offered in turn to each, but my youngest, Romy took the biggest shine to him. Holly was given her own Humpty and all four would sit entranced by Play School. Holly, Romy, Humpty and Ted watching Humpty and Ted and the gang,- they looked soo adorably cute, I will always cherish the memory.” 
Sandra Hook, Chairwoman 

Playschool -50-scott -headshot -wyza -com -au“I was always a little bit different when I was little . My favourite toy on Play School wasn’t Little Ted or Big Ted. I really liked Jemima because she used to always go on adventures. Play School obviously made a big impact. When I bought my last Siamese cat she flopped around like a rag doll so I called her Jemima."
Scott-Bradley Pearce, Chief Technology Officer

 

 

  Who was your favourite Play School presenter or toy? Let us know in the comments section below.