By Paul R. Jackson
456 pages, 215mm x 215mm, softback.
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The iconic children’s programme Play School opened its doors for 24 years and importantly was the first programme to appear on the newly-launched BBC 2 channel in April 1964. The programme’s creator Joy Whitby derived its title because “play is the child’s first school” and this book finally chronicles the history of a well-loved programme as well as featuring many household names.
There were nearly 5,700 editions of which only 1,900 survive in the BBC Archives. Each day had a theme from Dressing-Up day on Tuesdays to Pets Day on Wednesdays. 104 presenters appeared and only four (Brian Cant, Carol Chell, Johnny Ball and Chloe Ashcroft) appeared in all three decades. Whilst presenter pairings changed weekly, the format of the programme remained constant – who can forget the Windows (Arched, Square & Round) showing films of ever day life, the clock preceding the story, the toys (Humpty, Jemima, Big and Little Ted and Hamble) and the music that played an integral part from movement to well known rhymes and songs.
Play School archives, covers the 1960s and 1970s chronologically within volume one and includes entries on every presenter, major milestones like the first colour programme in 1968, and various anniversary editions. There are contributions from hundreds of presenters, directors, musicians, designers and graphic designers and within the 450 pages are included many previously unseen photos, many in colour, that will evoke fond memories of your childhood watching., keeper of the
A separate reference section is now available as a free download.