Baroness (Floella) Benjamin of Beckenham

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Floella was born in Trinidad and brought up in England. After leaving school at sixteen she spent three years in the world of banking and accountancy, but that world didn’t suit her effervescent personality and she soon found her way into the world of showbusiness. She has had a diverse and varied career in several sectors of the entertainment industry as an actor, presenter, writer, independent producer, businesswoman, and media regulator. She is best known as the iconic presenter of the BBC’s legendary children’s programmes, Playschool and Playaway, through which she became a household name.


Floella Benjamin is a member of the House of Lords. She was born in Trinidad but was brought up in England. She was the first woman Trinidadian to be elevated to the House of Lords, and speaks on children’s, diversity, and media issues. Floella was successful in getting the government to bring in legislation for commercial broadcasters to provide UK made television programmes.

After leaving school Floella spent a short time in the world of banking and accountancy, but soon found her way into the theatre. She then appeared in numerous films and television dramas and became a household name after presenting children’s programmes Playschool and Playaway, before forming her own award-winning film and television production company.

Her broadcasting work has been recognised with numerous awards, including an OBE, a Special Lifetime Achievement BAFTA Award, and the J.M Barrie Lifetime Award for her lasting cultural legacy. She was made a Fellow of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and appointed as President of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. She also received a Damehood for her years of charitable work.

She has written over twenty-five books including Coming to England, which is now used as a resource tool in schools to explore the Windrush journey. It was also adapted by her production company into a film for the BBC.

Floella has sat on several boards and committees, including the Ofcom Content Board, the Millennium Commission, the National Film & Television School, and BAFTA.

She is particularly concerned with the plight of children and their human rights throughout the world and dedicates a great deal of time to supporting pressure groups and charitable organisations. Floella campaigned tirelessly for a Minister for Children to oversee joined up Government policy, a position which is now successfully in place. Much of her time is spent touring the country, visiting children's hospitals, schools, and children's homes to help advance the idea that the welfare, care and education of our children is of vital importance to our future.

Floella was the Chancellor of Exeter University, a Vice President of Barnardos, a trustee of SPARKS, as well as patron of several other charities including, The Home Farm Trust, The Sickle Cell Society and British Association of Play Therapist.

In the past she has been an advisor and supporter of many other organisations including Pre-schools Playgroups Association, Oxfam, Save the Children, Friends of the Young Deaf, Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund, Parent Network, WATCH (What About the Children), Turning Point, and Brixton Prison Education Department, Save the Children.

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Book written by Baroness (Floella) Benjamin of Beckenham DBE DL
Book written by Baroness (Floella) Benjamin of Beckenham DBE DL
Book written by Baroness (Floella) Benjamin of Beckenham DBE DL
Book written by Baroness (Floella) Benjamin of Beckenham DBE DL


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