Airdate: 50 Years of Play School


In July Play School will turn 50, which will be celebrated across the ABC culminating in a primetime special Big Ted’s Excellent Adventure: 50 Years of Play School, hosted by Kate Ritchie.

Richard Finlayson, Director of Television, says, “The ABC is extremely proud to celebrate the impressive milestone of 50 years of Play School and wishes to congratulate everyone who has been involved in bringing the show into the homes of families around the country who have so warmly embraced it.

Play School holds a unique place in the hearts of generations of Australians and this is largely down to the fact that it strives to represent contemporary society so that children from across the community can see themselves as part of this special show.”

In 2016, iconic Australian television program Play School celebrates 50 years on air as the nation’s most respected, trusted and longest-running children’s series. To mark this momentous milestone, the ABC will present a variety of special content throughout the birthday month of July, celebrating the occasion with three generations of Australians who have grown up with Play School as an essential part of their childhood.

Since its initial broadcast on July 18, 1966, Play School has been entertaining Australian preschoolers, providing them with new experiences and learning opportunities through music, crafts, stories, games, ideas and information. The series aims to encourage a child to wonder, to think, to feel and to imagine, and strives to reflect a modern, diverse Australian society.

Fellow national TV treasure Kate Ritchie will present Big Ted’s Excellent Adventure: 50 Years of Play School, a documentary that takes a nostalgic journey through Aussie childhood, reliving the laughter and delights of half a century of Play School while charting 50 years of the nation’s social history. Well known Australians, including, Mikey Robins, Hannah Gadsby, Nazeem Hussain, Craig McLachlan and members of the original Wiggles, share their personal memories of the show, alongside anecdotes from past and present Play School presenters, including Benita Collings, John Waters and Justine Clarke.

Young and old alike will enjoy an exciting series of Play School Celebrity Covers. The mini episodes feature a star-studded line up of popular Australian personalities turning their hand at being a Play School presenter, entertaining viewers with a familiar Play School song or story. The episdoes will be broadcast daily on ABC KIDS from 4 July, with episodes available to view on ABC iview throughout the month.

Featuring in the Play School Celebrity Covers are: Adam Goodes, Annabel Crab with Leigh Sales, Architecture in Helsinki, Benita Collings with Don Spencer, Bernard Fanning, Carrie Bickmore, Costa Georgiadis, Dami Im, Dan Sultan, Delta Goodrem, Emma Wiggle, Guy Sebastian, Hamish and Andy, Jeremy Fernandez, John Hamblin, Josh Thomas, Kate Ceberano with her daughter Gypsy, Kate Miller-Heidke, Katie Noonan, Kurt Fearnley with Rachael Coopes, Lee Lin Chin with Takaya Honda, Magda Szubanksi, players from the Matildas, Missy Higgins, Molly Meldrum with Charlie Pickering, The Umbilical Brothers, Tim Minchin, Tim Omaji and You Am I.

The Play School episodes airing daily at 9:30am throughout the birthday week on ABC KIDS will centre on the theme of celebration, kicking off the week with an extra special birthday episode sure to delight young fans. Join beloved presenters Alex Papps, Karen Pang, Teo Gerbert and Miranda Tapsell as they dance, sing, make and decorate in preparation for a party. We’ll find out why the toys are jumping for joy when there’s a knock on the Play School door and will take a look through the windows to see what’s making some viewers very happy. It’s an occasion not to be missed!

Play School airs at 6:00, 9:30, 12:30 and 15:30 weekdays and 9:30 and 15:30 on weekends on ABC KIDS and is available on ABC iview and ABC KIDS iview.

Big Ted’s Excellent Adventure: 50 Years of Play School airs Sunday, July 10 at 7:40pm on ABC.


  1. Whilst one doesn’t want to be a party pooper, maybe ABC is a tad late with “Since its initial broadcast on July 18, 1966, Play School has been entertaining Australian preschoolers”. Could be even earlier than this listing –
    Thursday 9 June 1966 — Victoria
    Source: TV Week, 11 June 1966 Melbourne
    10AM 10.05 Play School
    10.30 Test Pattern, Music
    Don’t rely on Wikipedia! “Play School began production on 18 July 1966…”. TV listings say otherwise.

    • The original UK version of Play School began in 1964 and was shown here before the local version began, I’d assume this TV listing may refer to that?

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