Come inside: 50 years of stories to tell

Australia’s longest-running children’s series, Play School is celebrating 50 years on air this year.

In celebration of the occasion, the ABC will be broadcasting a variety of special content throughout July, providing a nostalgic fix for the three generations who have grown up with the iconic television program.

Big Ted’s Excellent Adventure: 50 Years of Play School, a documentary presented by Kate Ritchie, will take a look at the highlights of half a century of Play School while charting 50 years of Australia’s social history.

The documentary will draw on the personal memories of well-known Aussies including Hannah Gadsby, Nazeem Hussain, Mikey Robins, Craig McLachlan and members from the original Wiggles, as well as stories from past and present Play School presenters including Benita Collings, John Waters and Justine Clarke.  

In a series of mini episodes, Play School Celebrity Covers will also feature guest appearances from a variety of iconic Australian personalities as they attempt to present and entertain viewers in true Play School style, with the inclusion of familiar songs and stories.

Broadcasting daily from July 4 on ABC KIDS, the series is set to include celebrities such as Bernard Fanning, Hamish and Andy, Dan Sultan, Lee Lin Chin, Magda Szubanski, Molly Meldrum with Charlie Pickering, Tim Minchin, Leigh Sales and many more!

ABC Director of Television Richard Finlayson said the ABC is proud to celebrate the milestone and wants to congratulate everyone involved in bringing the program into Australian homes.

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,” Mr Finlayson said.

In commemoration of the milestone, the Royal Australian Mint has also released a set of three 50 cent coins bearing the faces of popular Play School toys Jemima, Big Ted and Little Ted, and Humpty Dumpty. While the coins will not be released into circulation, the set is currently available for purchase online for $45.  

The celebration continues at the National Gallery of Australia, where famous props and toys will be on display in the Happy Birthday Play School exhibition from now until July.

Play School airs on ABC KIDS, weekdays at 6:00am, 9:30am, 12:30pm and 3:30pm, weekends at 9:30am and 3:30pm, and iview.

You can follow Play School’s 50th birthday celebration and share your own memories with #PlaySchool50.

Daisy Baker

Daisy is studying a Bachelor or Arts and is majoring in Journalism, Media and Communications, and English. She loves all things arts and culture.

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