Floella Benjamin: Bafta Fellowship winner Floella Benjamin's BBC children's ...

Craig Mackinlay to return to Commons for first time since developing sepsis
Published Time: 13.05.2024 - 08:21:02 Modified Time: 13.05.2024 - 08:21:02

The 74-year-old was born in Trinidad before emigrating to the UK when she was 10-years-old as a Windrush child. Floella Benjamin

Now she’s set to be honoured for her “tireless support of children and young ” and “her unwavering championing of diversity”, Bafta chairwoman Sara Putt previously said.

The 74-year-old was born in Trinidad before emigrating to the UK when she was 10-years-old as a Windrush child.

Having left school at 16 with the aim of becoming Britain’s first ever black woman bank manager, she changed direction and became an actress, presenter, writer, independent producer, working peer and an active advocate for the welfare, care and education of children throughout the world.

Floella became a household name through her appearances in the iconic children's programmes Playschool and PlayAway, dedicating 49 years of her life to stage, film, radio and television.

The author and charity campaigner was introduced to the House of Lords in 2010 and given the full title of Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham in the County of Kent after being nominated by the Liberal Democrats. She collected her damehood for her services to charity at Buckingham Palace in 2020.

Floella has chaired the Windrush commemoration committee and advocated for tax relief for children's TV in the House of Lords. Her 1995 memoir, Coming To England, was adapted into an award-winning TV film.

She has also been a strong supporter and campaigner for charities such as Barnardo's, Sickle Cell Society and Beating Bowel Cancer.

Upon her arrival in the UK, Floella faced daily racism but confronted the discrimination with poise, grace and her renowned smile.

Now she is set to be honoured at the Bafta Television Awards, which is being held at the Royal Festival Hall on May 12, where TV shows including the final season of BBC drama Happy Valley, spy drama Slow Horses and the final series of Netflix’s royal drama The Crown will be hoping to take home gongs.

The BAFTA Fellowship represents the most prestigious recognition given by BAFTA to an individual.

Recalling the day she received the news, she told PA news agency she had been checking emails and saw one from Bafta, explaining: “It was the most incredible letter that said that Bafta had unanimously decided to offer me the Bafta Fellowship, their highest accolade, and it couldn’t go to anyone better.