50 years of Play School – who was your favourite presenter?

After five decades on our screens, Play School presenters have shown us how to make farm animals from toilet paper rolls, turn cardboard boxes into cityscapes and use blue blankets as water in make-believe play. As the iconic television show celebrates its 50th year on Australian screens, we’re taking a small trip down memory lane to find out who you think did it best.

What face do you see when you look back on your times watching Play School? Or is your favourite from watching with your little ones? Take a look at these clips and let us know.

The first ABC Play School presenters on air all the way back in 1966 were Diane Dorgan and Alister Smart. If you don’t remember them, maybe you can recall another presenter who was part of the original cast in the first three years of the show, Anne Haddy, who later became a household name playing Helen Daniels on Neighbours.

Here’s a clip from the archives with Anne Haddy and fellow presenter Don Spencer.

How about Benita Collings? She was as much an institution as the show itself, with her beaming smile and warm personality lighting up the Play School screen from 1969 to 1999. Or, perhaps it was loveable larrikin John Hamblin, who unleashed his unique cheeky wit on the show from 1970 to 1999, who gets your vote.

The 1980s and 1990s delivered Colin Friels, Simon Burke and George Spartels. Then there are the Australian darlings such as Noni Hazlehurst, always bubbly Monica Trapaga, multi-talented Georgie Parker and the very British Trisha Goddard.

There’s some surprises too. Did you know Offspring actor John Waters, House Husbands’ Rhys Muldoon and Neighbours’ own Tom Oliver have also looked through the round, square, arched or diamond windows?

Check out John Waters rocking some serious hair in this clip from 1983.

We can’t forget to mention the likes of Jay Laga’aia, Justine Clarke, Deborah Mailman, Brooke Satchwell and Christine Anu, who have helped shape the nation’s young minds as well as finding success in other ventures. Hugh Sheridan, Alex Papps, Andrew McFarlane

Here’s some trivia, did you know that as well as Play School, Lynette Curran, Teo Gebert and Jonny Pasvolsky have all had roles in the Underbelly series?

A new generation has begun calling Play School home such as Miranda Tapsell, who joined the ranks this year, and mums were all a flutter when Offspring’s Eddie Perfect first appeared in 2015.

Doesn’t this clip just make you want to get up and dance?

We can agree, it is hard to narrow it down to just one favourite, especially when there are 94 presenters to choose from.

See if you can spot your favourite in this special birthday compilation.

From Babyology, we would like to wish Play School a happy birthday. We look forward to bringing you more as the milestone approaches. Don’t forget, if you’re after a special keepsake, the Royal Australian Mint has released three specially designed collectable coins in honour of the anniversary.



Subscribe to Babyology

Our email newsletters keep you up to date with what’s happening on Babyology.

We also have special newsletter-only offers and competitions that are exclusive to Babyology subscribers.

Sign up below:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Send this to a friend