Playdays legend Floella Benjamin to receive BAFTA Fellowship

Baroness Floella Benjamin will be honoured by BAFTA credit:Bang Showbiz
Baroness Floella Benjamin will be honoured by BAFTA credit:Bang Showbiz

Baroness Floella Benjamin will be honoured with the BAFTA Fellowship at this year's BAFTA Television Awards.

The former 'Play School' host - who first rose to fame on the BBC show in 1976 and later fronted 'Playdays' - has long been a champion of children's TV, and is a regulator at Ofcom while also serving as a life peer and legislator in the House of Lords.

In a statement, she said: "My heart is full of joy and happiness.

"I feel as if I’m standing on the summit of life’s mountain, looking down at the wonderful experiences I have had in my career in the television industry for over 50 years.

"It’s been an adventurous journey, with many challenges and adversities, but here I am, receiving the highest accolade BAFTA can bestow.

"I am delighted that my work, which has predominantly been for children, is being recognised and celebrated in this way.”

The 74-year-old star has appeared in the likes of 'Jesus Christ Supertar' on stage, as well as TV credits including the likes of 'Within These Walls', 'Crown Court' and 'Doctor Who' spin-off 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'.

In government, she successfully fought to bring in legislation for Child PErformance Regulations, tax credit for children's programming, and legislation for Public Service Broadcasters to commission UK made television productions.

She has also campaigned for diversity in front of and behind the camera, and now advises both BBC and ITV on their diversity policies.

Sara Putt, Chair of BAFTA, added: “She is an unstoppable force for good with a determination to create opportunities and positive role models for future generations that has seen her effect a tremendous amount of positive change over fifty years and counting.

"She is a deservedly a national treasure and we can’t wait to celebrate the impact of her work to-date."

Previous BAFTA Fellows honoured for their TV work include Sir Billy Connolly, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Sir Bruce Forsyth, Jon Snow, Michael Palin, Sir David Attenborough, Dame Julie Walters and more.

Baroness Floella will receive her prize at the forthcoming BAFTA Television Awards with P O Cruises on Sunday 12 May.