Julie is an actress and former ABC contract artist. She was a great children’s favourite on both Play School (1964 – 1978) and Play Away (1971 – 1979) and is remembered for her zany appearances. She has always been a great supporter of the memory and history of Play School. 30 years after her departure from Children’s BBC, she attended the Here’s a House – A Celebration of Play School book launch at BAFTA in 2010 and the 50th anniversary reunion at Riverside Studios in May 2014.

Television credits include: Venus Smith in The Avengers (1962 – 1963); Z Cars (1963); storyteller in Bizzy Lizzy (1967); Rosemary Pilgrim in Girls about Town (1970 – 1971); Cabbages and Kings (BBC One, 1972 and 1974); The Dick Emery Show (1973); All Star Record Breakers (1974 – 1980); Star Turn (1976 – 1977); Holby City (BBC One, 2001).

Read More

Ben was born in 1955.  He is an actor who is perhaps best known as a Play School presenter. He made his debut appearance on the programme on 28th January 1980.  Ben was popular with viewers.  Who can forget his performance of the classic Wibbly Wobbly song with his elastic body?  He later presented Play Away (1982 – 1984); BBC Manchester’s production Knock Knock (1982); All Star Record Breakers (1982); Stop Go! (1983); Up Our Street (1985).

Read More

Olga was a South African-born British actress and artist. She appeared in several films and plays from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s, including Contraband (1940), The Angel with the Trumpet (1950) and Scrooge (1951), where she played the unnamed wife of Scrooge’s nephew Fred. She was also a major character in Black Orchid (1953). Olga also appeared on British television in 1939, in teleplays such as Condemned to Be Shot and was also, for a time, a television announcer.

On stage she first danced in a company of Anton Dolin. As an actress, her work included leading roles in the West End theatre, in Shakespeare at the Memorial Theatre, Stratford-on-Avon, as well as in films, radio and television. During the war, she spent a year with the BBC Repertory Company and appeared with John Gielgud in Landslide.

She starred in the Oxford Repertory Company before returning to cinema where she appeared in Gabriel Pascal’s film adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra (1945), amongst other films. She worked with Alexander Korda, starring in his The Angel with the Trumpet (1950).

Read More

Born Sylvia Lucia Petronzio, she was a former musical actress who appeared in revues including one at The Coliseum marking VE Day. She joined the BBC in 1947 after answering a newspaper advertisement for an announcer, with a salary of £500-a-year. She was one of the post-war trio of announcers who stayed until 1958. The female announcers wore patterned evening dresses, never stripes or checks which made the picture strobe, and shoulders were covered by shawls and cleavages disguised by plastic flowers. There was no autocue, rehearsals or editing. “We were on every night. There was no-one else,” she said. “When I first went to the BBC, people did not admit they had a set. They would say, ‘the servants have one and I occasionally see it downstairs’.”

Sylvia was chosen to present the BBC’s coverage of HM The Queen’s Coronation on 2nd June 1953. She explained: “Part of the reason I was chosen was I had a very good memory. I was given the script the night before and had to learn it in time. I was also the same age as the Queen, which they liked.” Peters recorded a training film in 1957 for HM The Queen to prepare her for her first televised Christmas broadcast. It demonstrated different possibilities, including reading the script and, by that stage, autocue. The Queen took it to Balmoral for the summer to study what best to do. She chose autocue, her broadcasting method of choice ever since.

Read More

Barry was a pioneer of regional broadcasting in the West Midlands. He presented the first edition of Midlands Today on 28th September 1964 and six years later he was the first voice on Radio Birmingham. He joined the BBC in October 1955 as a studio manager and one of his roles was providing sound effects for The Archers. He introduced the programme by telling “the story so far…” for ten years from 1960. He was a BBC Radio announcer (1959 – 1960), presenter for BBC Midlands (1959 – 1960 and 1964) and relief BBC TV newsreader (1959 – 15th June 1963). Later he was a commentator/producer for BBC Radio Birmingham and Radio WM.

Read More

McDonald was born in Stanley, Falkland Islands. He began his acting career in repertory theatre, under the stage names Val Blanchard and Robert Blanchard, using his mother’s maiden name. He toured before World War II in J. B. Priestley’s Time and the Conways. During the war, he served with the Royal Artillery and was involved in an ultimately abandoned plot to abduct Adolf Hitler and bring him to Britain. He also served in Ceylon with the British Forces Broadcasting Service and after being demobbed, he was selected as one of the post-war trio of BBC TV in-vision announcers. He appeared on screen from May 1946 until 1956 and was known as MacHobley. He once introduced the politician Sir Stafford Cripps as “Sir Stifford Crapps”.

He presented a number of programmes for the BBC, including: Kaleidoscope (1948); For Deaf Children (17th August 1953 – 1955); Come Dancing (1959); Whistle Stop; Does the Team Think? (1961); It’s a Knockout (1966); and nostalgia show As We Recall (1972). He also hosted a one-off show called Afternoon Hostesses Tea-Party (20th December 1955) with Vera McKechnie, Pauline Tooth and Nan Winton amongst the contributors.

He left his BBC announcing role to join Granada TV as one of their first announcers and presenters (1956). On its first night of broadcasting, Granada paid tribute to the BBC and it was fitting that a well-known BBC announcer was with Granada for its opening celebrations. The occasion merited a front page spot in the TV Times.

He appeared in BBC TV’s It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and The Goodies. On 5th November 1986, he reappeared as an in-vision announcer on BBC Two, to celebrate TV50, the 50th anniversary of BBC Television.

Read More

Mary was bought up in Poltalloch, Argyll and was the granddaughter of Victorian socialite Lillie Langley, mistress of King Edward VII. She was a BBC Radio Home Service/BBC Third Programme announcer in 1942 and 1957 and became one of the famous post-war trio of BBC TV in-vision announcers, appearing from 1947 – 1958.

Mary received no training and became known for her spoonerisms, as she recalled: “By the end of the day I was tired, and when I came to the weather forecast I just read it out without really trying. My biggest fear was ‘drain and rizzle’, which I said more than once.” She also came up with “shattered scowers” and on one occasion, after she had finished reading the weather, she told the viewers: “I’m sorry, but we got the charts in the wrong order; so I’ll now do the whole thing again.”

She presented BBC TV’s Picture Parade (1950) and also appeared on BBC Children’s TV – she was commentator on the Children’s Newsreel in the early 1950s and presented Monday Magazine (1955) and For Deaf Children (1956). Modesty was the watchword in those days, and on an extremely hot day in 1956 she was rebuked by the head of children’s television for removing her bolero top – to reveal a strapless dress – whilst interviewing rover scouts about their camping equipment.

Read More

Graham was employed by the Met Office (1951 – 1992) and his postings included: Heathrow Airport, the London Weather Centre and the RAF in Scotland, Malta and Gibralter. He was a BBC TV weather presenter (1963 – January 1974) and he also presented forecasts on BBC Radio (1962 – 1974). He was the BBC One Christmas Day weather presenter in 1972 (no information is available for the period 1963 – 1966).

His TV memories included working with the in-vision announcers Judith Chalmers and Valerie Singleton, and the strange look he got from a fellow passenger when he boarded a bus, as he had forgotten to remove his TV makeup and hairspray.

He joined former colleagues on Nationwide to celebrate the 25th anniversary of BBC TV Weather in January 1979, in which Bob Wellings interviewed past and present weather forecasters. He also joined a get-together for BBC TV Weather’s 40th anniversary in January 1994. He was appointed manager of Norwich Weather Centre in 1984 and later appeared for a number of years as BBC Norwich’s weather presenter on Look East.

Read More

Jenni is a Welsh TV producer/presenter and voiceover artist. She studied at Italia Conti Academy and graduated in 2002. She worked as a receptionist at Zodiak Active (2010 – 2011) and was freelance cover as the booth girl on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff (August 2011 – November 2011). She is a presenter on Psychic TV (2010 – present) and ETV Media (2013 – present).

She joined the BBC TV network announcing team in 2018. Her cheery, lilting Welsh accent can be heard regularly on BBC One and BBC Two.

On 8th March 2019, BBC Presentation marked International Women’s Day, with an all-female line-up on continuity duty, including: Jenni on BBC One (daytime), with Toni Green on BBC Two, and Alyson Slorach on BBC Four.

Guy was born in May 1931. He was invited to join Television Wales and West (TWW) in 1959 as the first newsreader/interviewer at their newly opened Bristol studio before becoming anchorman of the nightly news magazine TWW Reports, covering Wales and the West Country. Guy also filled in the odd gap in the continuity announcing rota at TWW when they were short staffed. He later pioneered the introduction of audio books for education and presented motor sports films for American television. He also fronted the first of the popular music compilation TV programmes with a profile of Vivian Ellis. Guy appeared on ITV West at 50 in 2005.


Read More