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Floella Karen Yunies BenjaminBorn: Fri 23rd September 1949 (age: 63)
Floella Benjamin OBE DL is a British actress, author, television presenter, businesswoman and politician. She is known as presenter of children's programmes such as Play School, Play Away and "Fast Forward". On 28 June 2010, Lady Benjamin was introduced to the House of Lords as a Life Peernominated by the Liberal Democrats with title Baroness Benjamin, of Beckenham in the County of Kent.
Benjamin was born in Pointe-à-Pierre, Trinidad, and emigrated to the UK in 1960. Having left Rosemead Preparatory School to work in a bank, she studied for A-levels at night school. After a spell as a stage actress in West End musicals, she began presenting children's television programmes in 1976.
On stage, she has appeared in Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Black Mikado, The husband in law and pantomime. On screen, she appeared in the 1975 horror film I Don't Want to Be Bornand starred in the 1977 film Black Joy. On TV, her credits include Angels, Within These Walls,Crown Court, The Gentle Touch and Dixon of Dock Green. She appeared as Juniper in the first episode of Bergerac (1981).
She read two stories for the Story Teller magazine series (1983 and 1984).
She is chief executive of Floella Benjamin Productions, which has made television programmes since 1987.
She is the voice of the 'U' and 'PG' Video Standards Council information clips.
In 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011, she guest-starred in the Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures as Professor Rivers from the Pharos Institute in the stories The Lost Boy, Day of the Clown, The Eternity Trap and Sky. She also narrated three "making-of" documentaries on theDoctor Who DVD boxset, The Black Guardian Trilogy.
In 2007, she played a small role in the British comedy Run Fatboy Run.
In 2011, she rocked up at Exeter University's Graduation Ball in a gold blouse and black mini skirt, dancing and singing for all the new graduates.
Her 20th book, an autobiography Coming To England, was published in 1997.
She was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting in 2001. At that time she was chairman of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). She has also won a Special Lifetime Achievement award from BAFTA. She was chairman of the Women of the Year Lunch for five years and a Millennium Commissioner. She is president of the Elizabeth ’R’ Commonwealth Broadcasting Fund and a governor of theNational Film and Television School. She was a governor of Dulwich College, where her mother once worked and her son attended. She is a Vice-President of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
In 2010 she was appointed Chair of Governors at the Isle of Sheppey Academy, which has approval for a multi-million pound government investment that HAS been secured.
In 2006, she became an honorary graduate of the University of Exeter and was awarded the degree of Hon D.Litt (Exon) for contributions to the life of the United Kingdom. Lady Benjamin succeeded Lord Alexander of Weedon to become the Chancellor of the University of Exeter.
In 2008 she was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London.
She is vice-president of NCH Action for Children and Barnardo's, and was in the NSPCC’s Hall of Fame. She runs the London Marathon to raise funds for Barnardo's and the Sickle Cell Society. She is a cultural ambassador for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. In September 2011,
She features in the BBCs CBeebies animation Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies.
Biography from the Wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA