Don’t pretend you haven’t thought about a career as a Play School presenter.
Cuddling Big Ted every day. Singing a song with Jemima. Knobbing around with pipe cleaners, drawing faces on egg cartons and cutting paper with safety scissors. WHAT A JOB.
Except it’s actually one of the toughest gigs in TV.
How do we know? We sent Holly Wainwright, host of our family podcast, This Glorious Mess, behind the scenes on set.
This year marks the 50th year of Play School on Australian TV, so we wandered through the arched window to shake hands with Big Ted. We walked the path of Benita, John, Trisha, Monica, Eddie Perfect, and many more. And in this week’s episode of This Glorious Mess, we discovered exactly what goes into making the most iconic show on Australian TV.
Everyone wants this job.
Executive producer Jan Stradling told us the presenters need to not only be a “triple threat” (acting, singing and dancing), but they need to be engaging as well. And with auditions about twice every three years, it’s a tough gig.
Rachel Coopes is a presenter, and it took her seven years to get the gig. “I was just about green. Really, there is a degree of being fairly robust.” she said.
The toys are sacred (especially Jemima).
Play School is all about the toys, and most of them are still entirely original. The original Big Ted was stolen many years ago and never recovered. Legend has it that all of the toys used to be kept in a big plastic trolley bin until someone came along and decided that they needed to be in a more special place. Now they’re all locked away in a display cupboard until showtime. (Or until journalists come along and want selfies, that is).