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Since the first episode aired in 1966, Play School has been capturing the hearts and imaginations of children for 55 years. It is the world’s second-longest running children’s program, coming in ahead of Sesame Street and only eight years behind the UK’s Blue Peter.
Having spent the past 16 years as a presenter and touring host, Alex Papps says the secret to the success of Play School comes down, in part, to its longevity.
“It’s kind of like an heirloom now being passed down through the generations,” he tells Bounty Parents.
“We’re now in our 55th year. I grew up watching the show and now my young nephew watches it. It’s like a rite of passage in a strange way.”
Alex Papps has been entertaining children as a host on Play School for 16 years.
With grandparents who once watched the show as a child themselves in the 60s, now enjoying the show with their grandchildren, Alex says adults and kids alike love the simplicity of Play School.
“It’s very gentle and it’s an intimate, accessible conversation between the presenters and the audience. At a time when there is so much information available and so many platforms, Play School maintains this gentle presence that is about values, cooperation, tolerance and inclusivity.
“We all grew up on it so we have a very strong sentimental, emotional attachment to Play School. It has maintained its integrity over the years and it is still so beloved and valued.”
“It is fantastic fun to do and a real privilege to be one of its custodians and to be part of something that plays a little role in people’s lives and the values that underpin it, I’m proud to represent those.”
Alex Papps and co-host Kaeng Chan showing off the moves to, I’m a Little Teapot.
Before joining Play School, Alex rose to fame in 1988 playing the character of Frank Morgan on Home and Away and his onscreen girlfriend, Roo was played by Justine Clarke who also went on to join Play School.
“I still get asked about Home and Away reasonably often,” says Alex.
“It has come full circle with the people who watched me on Home and Away now bringing their children to Play School concerts. It’s nice to have a history that people remember.”
Alex Papps was one of the original cast members on Home and Away.
While Alex has returned to Summer Bay a couple of times he thinks another guest role is probably unlikely.
“I have been back for a couple of reunion episodes back when Kate Ritchie was still a part of the show. I went back for one of Sally’s weddings but I think it would be less likely now because Kate’s not there… although Roo is still there, now played by Georgie Parker but that would be weird having Georgie there instead of Justine,” he laughs.
“Never say never, but I think it’s unlikely. I have lovely memories of that time and have friendships that have stayed with through my whole life.”
After cancelling the tour last year due to COVID, Play School live shows are back!
Play School Live Concert Let’s Play Together 2021 is currently touring Australia For ticket information, visit Kids Promotions.