Floella Benjamin reveals surprising side effect of her fame

Play School star Floella Benjamin reveals she has to allow extra time when she goes shopping for fans to reminisce with her.

Baroness Floella Benjamin attends the Nominees' Party for the BAFTA Television Awards with P&O Cruises and the BAFTA Television Craft Awards at the Victoria and Albert Museum on April 24, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Baroness Floella Benjamin has to factor in extra time at the supermarket to chat to fans of Play School. (Getty Images)

Floella Benjamin has revealed she has to schedule in an extra half an hour every time she goes shopping to allow for fans spotting her and wanting to reminisce.

Baroness Benjamin is known to a generation as the face of children's television shows Play School and Play Away. Appearing on The One Show the 74-year-old TV presenter admitted that whenever she goes out in public she is recognised by a fan wanting to chat about their child memories of growing up watching her on TV.

Baroness Benjamin is an author, a singer, an actor, patron of multiple children's charities, has worked on political education committees, chaired the Windrush Commemoration Committee and was a member of procession at King Charles III's coronation. But to many she will always be remembered as the face of BBC pre-school educational show Play School asking: "Get ready. To play. What's the day?"

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: Baroness Floella Benjamin attends British Vogue's 2023
Baroness Floella Benjamin is always being stopped by fans who remember her from kids' TV. (Getty Images)

Baroness Benjamin was on The One Show to talk to hosts Alex Jones and Jermaine Jenas about being chosen for a Bafta Fellowship. And fellow guest, Patrick Grant, designer and judge on The Great British Sewing Bee.

As the guests were introduced Grant, 52, gushed: "I grew up with Play School. I spent half my childhood eagerly awaiting to find out what window we were going to go through and what was going to happen to Humpty and Little Ted and Big Ted and all the rest of the gang. It was a huge part of my childhood."

As Grant confessed his excitement Baroness Benjamin stroked his shoulder affectionately. She admitted she is stopped in public "all the time" by fans who want to tell them their childhood memories of her.

She said: "When I go shopping it takes me an extra half an hour or more, because people when they see me, want to come up and tell me which window they loved, what I did for them, how they remember that I love them, the way I used to speak to them. And it really is so affectionate, the amount of love that I get is unbelievable!"

Play Away, photo-call with presenter Floella Benjamin, ahead of new series starting next month, Tuesday 8th November 1983. Our picture shows Floella Benjamin dressed as Tarzans Jane. (Photo by Bill Kennedy/Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Floella Benjamin on Play Away in 1983. (Getty Images)

Baroness Benjamin will receive the Bafta Fellowship at the Bafta TV awards ceremony on Sunday 12 May. The vice-president of children's charity Barnardo's has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make children's programmes a requirement of public service broadcasting. She updated childcare performance regulations for live television and persuaded the government to introduce tax breaks leading to more children's programmes being made, as well as championing diversity on screen.

She said: "I want everybody to understand that childhood lasts a lifetime and everything we do in life affects children, directly and indirectly. So we've got to do it right. And I've always made sure people understand the responsibility that they have to be a decent human being, a good human being.

"To be somebody who really cares, to show empathy and understanding and unconditional love. That's all I'm after. People have a duty to the future and the future is our children."

Baroness Floella Benjamin (R), carrying the The Sovereign's Sceptre with the Dove, General Sir Gordon Messenger, (C) the Governor of HM Tower of London, carrying St Edward's Crown as Lord High Steward of England, and Dame Elizabeth Anionwu (L) during the coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey, on May 6, 2023 in London, England. The Coronation of Charles III and his wife, Camilla, as King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the other Commonwealth realms takes place at Westminster Abbey today. Charles acceded to the throne on 8 September 2022, upon the death of his mother, Elizabeth II. (Photo by Andrew Matthews - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Baroness Floella Benjamin carrying the The Sovereign's Sceptre at the Coronation of Charles III . (Getty Images)

Viewers were just as delighted as Grant to see Baroness Benjamin on the sofa.

One wrote on social media platform X: "Floella Benjamin has that magical aura that radiates positivity. Whenever she appears on TV, I can't help but feel happy. I’m a Play School baby! #TheOneShow."

Another gushed: "@FloellaBenjamin you're an inspiration, you were in the 1970s and nothing has changed today! Thank you for leaving a legacy that decent programmes are made for children forever #TheOneShow."

One viewer exclaimed: "We need more floellas, She just glows. Lovely woman. #theoneshow."

Someone else shared: "Floella Benjamin on #TheOneShow One of those rare people who you stop what you’re doing to listen to." One even said: "Floella Bejamin - like a fine wine. Legend. #TheOneShow."

The One Show airs on BBC One at 7pm Monday to Friday.