‘Play School’ stars: Where are they now?

A trip down memory lane.
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Entire generations of Aussie kids are raised on Play School’s iconic toys and loveable presenters. Here, Woman’s Day takes a trip down memory lane to find out what the show’s past presenters are up to now…

Let’s take a look.

cast of play school in bright colours
Past presenters of the iconic show take a trip down memory lane. (Image: Instagram)

Monica Trapaga

Monica decided to audition for the show after watching with her little girl. (Image: Instagram)

Remembered fondly by a generation, Monica presented Play School from 1990 to 1998. She has very happy memories of the time she spent with Big Ted and his pals.
The 59-year-old tells Woman’s Day that she was inspired to audition for the role after watching the show with her daughter.
“It was a pretty life-changing event because once you’re in, you’re part of the Play School royal family.”

Monica adored her time on the beloved show and says she’s still recognised on the street by fans.

“It’s funny now, people will hear my voice and say ‘oh my god’ and get very excited… it’s always lovely,” she says. “I’m really glad that I’ve been
a part of Play School because it’s Australian history,” she shares.

Being back on set was so much fun, says Georgie. (Image: Instagram)

Georgie Parker

Known for her roles on iconic shows Home And Away, All Saints and A Country Practice, Georgie was initially rejected from Play School in her 20s due to not understanding the tone.

“I auditioned again when I was 40 and I got it and was thrilled. It was one of the most exciting jobs I’ve ever gone for and gotten,” she tells Woman’s Day.

Hosting the show from 2006 to 2012, Georgie, 59, says that she loved every moment of the experience.

“Everything’s a bit of a pinch-me moment because it’s quite surreal to be doing a show you used to watch, and be doing it for your children, my nieces and nephews.”

Georgie says the magic of Play School comes from adults leading the play and encouraging kids to have fun.

“It’s the gift that keeps on giving really,” she says.

Don with Little Ted and Jemima. (Image: Instagram)

Don Spencer

Appearing on both the Australian and English versions of Play School, Don is the longest-serving Aussie host, appearing from 1968 to 1999.

Don, 87, was also the only presenter to land the gig without auditioning. “It was a lovely show, always beautifully written and there wasn’t one not-so-great co-presenter,” he tells Woman’s Day.

Not wanting to give up his fun job, Don rejected advice to leave Play School for night-time television.

“A producer at the Tonight Show told me I had to give Play School up because I ‘couldn’t be doing this night-time stuff and then be on Play School the next morning,’ but I said, ‘Tough luck about that!” he laughs.

Benita hosted the show from 1969 to 1999. (Image: Instagram)

Benita Collings

With a 30-year stint on Play School under her belt, Benita helped raise thousands of kids across Australia.

But the 84-year-old tells Woman’s Day she failed her first audition! Luckily she was invited back for a second due to her storytelling skills.

“I wanted to be prepared for the second audition and they allowed me to look at a couple of episodes from the English version, which I did… and the rest as they say is history!” she laughs.

While she didn’t find presenting to be challenging, Benita says that it was important to be organised.

“You always had to be very prepared and know your script as it was shot as if it were a live show,” she explains.

As one of the program’s longest-serving presenters, she’s still often recognised. “It’s very lovely to hear people’s memories of how much they loved and felt a part of Play School as children,” she says.


Big Ted’s Time Machine is a new series on ABC Kids that takes viewers on a journey through Play School’s 58-year history. Each episode is dedicated to a specific decade and presenters.

With past presenters joining the current roster and line-up of iconic toys, viewers are treated to vintage fashion and retro games. The series can be seen on ABC Kids & ABC iview.

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