Vale: John Hamblin

Veteran presenter / actor John Hamblin, best known for Play School, has died.

Veteran presenter / actor John Hamblin, best known for Play School, has died today aged 87.

He was a presenter on Play School for almost 30 years, recognised by generations of Australian children and their families.

He began on Play School in 1970 and appeared in more than 350 episodes, known affectionately as “Naughty John” for his cheeky sense of humour and irreverent nature.

ABC Director Entertainment & Specialist Jennifer Collins said: “John was an unforgettable presenter whose comedic timing and wit helped cement Play School as one of Australia’s most cherished children’s programs. John had a wicked sense of humour and was not afraid of a double-entendre. His presence always managed to keep both our toddler target audience and their parents equally engaged with the show. I would like to extend my condolences to John’s family at this sad time.”

UK born Hamblin was a regular in dramas in the 1970s including Number 96, Class of ’74, The Young Doctors, Case for the Defence, The Restless Years and 1982’s Sons and Daughters. Guest roles included All Saints and Love My Way. He also played Michael Chamberlain in the 1984 telemovie The Disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain.

After his retirement from the ABC show in 1999, he returned for a special guest appearance as part of Play School‘s 50th Anniversary special in 2016.

The Play School family and everyone at the ABC extends its sympathy to family including wife Jenny, and children, Emma and Myles.

17 Responses

  1. Sad news.

    As a UK viewer, I remember him solely for his recurring role as Dr Dan Wheatley in The Young Doctors, however it appears as though he was something of a television institution in Australia,

  2. Very sorry to hear of the death of John Hamblin. He was one of my favourite presenters on Play School. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. RIP John.

  3. John always performed two shows simultaneously – one for children and another for adults, which he kept hidden in between the scripted lines. He was my favourite presenter.

  4. Oh, a sad day for Play School fans! I also have fond memories of John entertaining me as a child.
    Thank you for your contribution to children’s television 📺

  5. On Play School, John Hamblin and Janet Kingsbury entertained the kiddies, but at night on Class of ’74 they played an unhappily married couple. John Hamblin was the deputy headmaster and one night he and his on screen wife were having this huge argument, except the scene then ended and both of them started laughing uproariously. It was like something for a Christmas blooper, then the screen went to black, with no closing credits that night, and my friends and I just looked at each other in disbelief at what BTQ-7 had aired!

  6. My daughter nearing 50 now loved this show and couldn’t get enough with John and Bettina, John was on the “naughty step” long before Jo Frost came up with that pearler. She was a Humphrey Bear and Mr Dobee fan too until their untimely demise. Rest In Peace John.

  7. Fond memories of watching you growing up. And even more excited to see you lived in my street growing up. He was on my bus one day…very exciting for a 7 year old!
    Loved watching you, along side Benita and Noni! RIP John.

  8. Terrific actor and presenter. Play School was a gig that actors loved. I had the privilege of watching a week of the making of the show from rehearsal room through to studio recording and it was pure joy and hard work for all. John was a one off, with such charisma and presence on screen. He will be missed.

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