Deltra Goodrem, Guy Sebastian and You Am I are some of the big names lining up to help Play School and the ABC celebrate the iconic pre-school program’s 50th birthday in July.
The singing superstars have been co-opted alongside other personalities from the entertainment and sports worlds, to present a variety of special content throughout the birthday month of July, celebrating the occasion with three generations of Australians who have grown up with Play School as an essential part of their childhood.
Actor and broadcaster Kate Ritchie will present Big Ted’s Excellent Adventure: 50 Years of Play School, a documentary that takes a nostalgic journey through Aussie childhood, reliving the laughter and delights of half a century of Play School while charting 50 years of the nation’s social history. In the doco, well known Australians, including, Mikey Robins, Hannah Gadsby, Nazeem Hussain, Craig McLachlan and members of the original Wiggles, share their personal memories of the show, alongside anecdotes from past and present Play School presenters, including Benita Collings, John Waters and Justine Clarke.
In addition a series of mini-episodes, Play School Celebrity Covers, will feature Goodrem, Sebastian and You Am I amongst others who will turn their hand to being a Play School presenter, entertaining viewers with a familiar Play School song or story. The episodes will be broadcast daily on ABC KIDS from 4 July, with episodes available to view on ABC iview throughout the month.
Other celebs featuring in the Play School Celebrity Covers include Adam Goodes, Annabel Crabb with Leigh Sales, Architecture in Helsinki, Benita Collings with Don Spencer, Bernard Fanning, Carrie Bickmore, Costa Georgiadis, Dami Im, Dan Sultan, Emma Wiggle, Hamish and Andy, Jeremy Fernandez, John Hamblin, Josh Thomas, Kate Ceberano with her daughter Gypsy, Kate Miller-Heidke, Katie Noonan, Kurt Fearnley with Rachael Coopes, Lee Lin Chin with Takaya Honda, Magda Szubanksi, players from the Matildas, Missy Higgins, Molly Meldrum with Charlie Pickering, The Umbilical Brothers, Tim Minchin and Tim Omaji.
The Play School episodes airing daily at 9:30am throughout the birthday week on ABC KIDS will centre on the theme of celebration, kicking off the week with an extra special birthday episode following presenters Alex Papps, Karen Pang, Teo Gerbert and Miranda Tapsell as they dance, sing, make and decorate in preparation for a party.
“Play School holds a unique place in the hearts of generations of Australians and this is largely down to the fact that it strives to represent contemporary society so that children from across the community can see themselves as part of this special show.,” ABC Director of Television, Richard Finlayson said.
“The ABC is extremely proud to celebrate the impressive milestone of 50 years of Play School and wish to congratulate everyone who has been involved in bringing the show into the homes of families around the country who have so warmly embraced it,” he added.
Airdates for Big Ted’s Excellent Adventure: 50 Years of Play School and each of the Play School Celebrity Covers are to be confirmed
Play School first went to air on July 18, 1966, and has been entertaining Australian preschoolers for half a century, providing them with new experiences and learning opportunities through music, crafts, stories, games, ideas and information. The series aims to encourage a child to wonder, to think, to feel and to imagine, and strives to reflect a modern, diverse Australian society.
Play School By The Numbers:
- Play School is a 27 minute program for preschool children made by ABC’s Children’s Television in Sydney
- Play School was first broadcast in Australia on July 18, 1966
- The ABC has made approximately 2250 episodes of Play School
- With an emphasis on “learning through play”, Play School aims to reflect a modern, multicultural Australian society with a range of family situations and experiences
- Together, Play School apps Art Maker and Play Time have had over 90 million sessions and 550 million screen views since their release in 2011 (Art Maker) and 2013 (Play Time)
- Play School is supported by numerous brand extensions, including books, DVDs and video content, music, apps and a full merchandise range. 45% of Australian parents with preschoolers own a Play School product*.
- Play School airs on ABC KIDS, weekdays at 6:00am, 9:30am, 12:30pm and 3:30pm and weekends at 9:30am and 3:30pm, and is available on ABC iview
- Since 2001, more than 1 million children have experienced the magic of a live Play School Concert.