One of six children, Floella Benjamin was born in Trinidad but was brought up in England. After leaving school she spent a short time in the world of banking and accountancy, but the staid Chief Accountants Office of Barclay's Bank just didn't suit her effervescent personality and she soon found her way into the theatre. She appeared in several successful West End shows including 'Jesus Christ Superstar', 'The Black Mikado' with Michael Denison and 'The Husband in Law' with Kenneth Williams....See more
One of six children, Floella Benjamin was born in Trinidad but was brought up in England. After leaving school she spent a short time in the world of banking and accountancy, but the staid Chief Accountants Office of Barclay's Bank just didn't suit her effervescent personality and she soon found her way into the theatre. She appeared in several successful West End shows including 'Jesus Christ Superstar', 'The Black Mikado' with Michael Denison and 'The Husband in Law' with Kenneth Williams. She then progressed to television drama, her first appearance was in 'Within These Walls' with Googie Withers. Numerous drama roles followed and she worked with some of Britain's top directors including Richard Eyre, Martyn Friend and Jim O'Brien. Then fate took a hand and she found her place as a presenter of the BBC's legendary children's programmes, 'Playschool' and 'Playaway', through which she became a household name. Many drama, comedy, current affairs and magazine programmes followed, including 'The Gentle Touch', 'Angels', 'Bergerac', 'A Houseful of Plants' and 'Daytime Live' In 1977 she appeared in her first feature film, 'Black Joy'. She was critically acclaimed at the Cannes film festival for her portrayal of 'Miriam' in the film which was the British entry that year. She has appeared in many pantomimes and Christmas shows including 'Puss in Boots', 'Aladdin', 'Peter Pan' and 'Babes in the Wood'. Floella has also worked on numerous radio programmes, from children's education and entertainment shows to adult drama. She hosted her own current affairs programme on Radio London's 'Black Londoners'. She has also narrated many commercial audio books and story tapes. She has done many voice overs for television and radio commercials including, Haze air freshener, Aero chocolate, Farley's baby food, Kitkat, Anchor Butter, Bird's Eye Fish Fingers and an audio tour of the Tate Modern. Floella has written and appeared in several educational, religious and entertainment videos. She has appeared as narrator with a number orchestras, including, The Northern Symphony Orchestra, The East of England Orchestra and The Welsh Chamber Orchestra in performances of well loved, classical and contemporary pieces including, 'Carnival of the Animals', 'Peter and the Wolf', 'Barbar the Elephant', 'The Snowman', 'Paddington Bear' and 'Superted'. She appeared recently with The Ulster Orchestra in a series of six concerts in Northern Ireland. She narrated 'Tubby the Tuba' and performed one of Aaron Copland's 'Old American Songs' as well as introducing several well known classical pieces. The concerts were televised by BBC Ulster. Since 1983 Floella has written over 20 children's books including 'For Goodness Sake' a guide to choosing right from wrong for children and young people, plus a definitive guide to Caribbean Cookery. She has also written many articles for magazines and in- house journals and has had regular columns in 'Parents', 'TV Times' and 'Good Idea'. Her book 'Coming to England' published in hardback in October 1995 by Pavilion and in paperback by Puffin in 1997, recounts how she and her family moved to England from their home in Trinidad. The book has now been published as an educational edition and is on the National Reading List in schools and universities. The BBC Education commissioned her to make it into a television drama in 2002 which won an Royal Television Society (RTS) Award in 2003 and nominated for a RIMA Award in 2005. In 1987 Floella turned some of her boundless energy to setting up her own television production company with her husband Keith Taylor. Since then she has produced hundreds of programmes, primarily for the audience she loves best...children. 'Treehouse... See less
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