black UK

Floella Benjamin, OBE

Autobiographical sketch:

I was born on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, in a a small town called Pointe-a-Pierre in 1949. My first memory of that wonderful sun drenched Caribbean island was when I was three years old and I treasure those memories. I came to Britain in 1960 and experienced a huge culture shock because I expected everyone to treat me kindly and with respect, but Britain was cold, unwelcoming, violent and bleak. I had to learn to live in two cultures fast if I was going to survive.

My beautiful mother told all six of her children each day before we went to school that education was our passport to life and to go to school and learn everything the teachers told us. I did just that and loved my time at school because my mum set us that goal!

I always wanted to be a teacher but my parents couldn’t afford to keep me on to do my A Levels so I had to leave school at sixteen. I worked in a bank for three years whilst doing my A Levels at night school, I thought I could be Britain’s first black woman bank manager but I soon realised it was an impossible dream in those days. So I auditioned to go on a national tour of a hit musical. I hadn’t been to drama school so I got the bank to keep my job for me just in case I didn’t like being on stage.

Read all of Floella’s fascinating backgroud.

Credits:

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Drama COMPANY PART DIRECTED BY

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WITHIN THESE WALLS (5 episodes) LWT BARBRA BILL BAIN
CROWN COURT GRANADA JENNY MARSH STEPHEN BUTCHER
DOCTOR ON THE GO LWT NURSE OJIMA STUART ALLEN
SEND IN THE GIRLS GRANADA MELODY ALLAN GRINT
ANANSI (World History Series) ILEA TV JUMBO
ANGELS BBC NURSE YALLOP FIONA CUMMING
MIXED BLESSINGS LWT KAREN DEREK GOODWIN
KIDS (LAURIE) LWT ELLA BUCKLEY BRIAN FARNHAM
WATERLOO SUNSET BBC MARIE LOUISE RICHARD EYRE
THE LADIES BBC CAROL STEEL JAMES O’BRIEN
HOLE IN BABYLON BBC NORMA HORACE OVE
ANGELS (episodes 6,7,8) BBC MARIGOLD LEVATT BICKFORD
THE GENTLE TOUCH LWT GLORIA TONY WHARMBY
MAYBURY (episodes 2&3) BBC KAYREEN RICHARD STROUD
BERGERAC BBC JUNIPER MARTYN FRIEND
STRANGERS GRANADA ROSIE BILL BRAYNE
COMING TO ENGLAND BBC TEACHER KEITH TAYLOR
LINE OF BEAUTY BBC MRS CHARLES SAUL DIBB
RUN FAT BOY RUN MATERIAL ENTERTAINMENT LIBBY’S MUM DAVID SCHWIMMER
RENDITION CIA AGENT GAVIN HOOD
SARAH JANE ADVENTURES SERIES 1 BBC PROF RIVERS CHARLES MARTIN
SARAH JANE ADVENTURES SERIES 2 BBC PROF RIVERS MICHAEL KERRIGAN

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Films

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I DON’T WANT TO BE BORN (WITH JOAN COLLINS) NURSE
BLACK JOY WEST ONE FILMS MIRIAM ANTHONY SIMMONDS

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West End Theatre

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HAIR SHAFTESBURY THEATRE DAVID TOGURI
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR PALACE THEATRE JIM SHARMAN
THE BLACK MIKADO CAMBRIDGE THEATRE BRAHAM MURRAY
THE HUSBAND IN LAW COMEDY THEATRE PATRICK GARLAND

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Pantomime

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PUSS IN BOOTS – STARRING AS PUSS CAMBERLEY CHRISTMAS 1985/86
ALADDIN – STARRING AS ALADDIN STEVENAGE CHRISTMAS 1986/87
ALADDIN – STARRING AS ALADDIN WEYMOUTH CHRISTMAS 1989/90
ALADDIN – STARRING AS ALADDIN SWINDON CHRISTMAS 1990/91
PETER PAN – STARRING AS TIGER LILLY/LIZA EPSOM CHRISTMAS 1994/95
BABES IN THE WOOD- STARRING AS ROBIN HOOD HASTINGS CHRISTMAS 1994/95

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Guest and Celebrity Appearances

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COMIC RELIEF I’VE GOT A SECRET
STAR TURN ALL STAR RECORD BREAKERS
GIVE US A CLUE ALL STAR RECORD BREAKERS XMAS SHOWS
SQUARE ONE PUNCHLINES
ON SAFARI BLANKETY BLANK
VINTAGE QUIZ PAUL DANIELS MAGIC SHOW
IT’S A KNOCKOUT CHRISTMAS PARADE (PRESENTER)
CRACKERJACK RAILWAY CARRIAGES
HERE AND NOW ALADDIN (BBC TV XMAS PANTO)
SATURDAY SUPERSTORE TV-AM WIDE AWAKE CLUB
THE ZODIAC GAME MONKEY BUSINESS 13 eps (TEAM CAPTAIN)
WHERE IN THE WORLD CHILDREN’S ROYAL VARIETY SHOW
BBC BREAKFAST TIME CELEBRITY SQUARES
FAMILY FORTUNES BLUE PETER
PLAYDAYS YOU BET
FULL SWING BIG BREAK (CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 96/97)

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Regular Presenter Channel Comments

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PLAYSCHOOL BBC A LEGEND
WHAT’S INSIDE BBC NOW IN ITS 4TH RUN
FAST FORWARD BBC
PLAYAWAY BBC 3 SERIES, ALSO A LEGEND
SWITCH ON TO ENGLISH BBC
HOW DARE YOU TYNE TEES
ABOUT BOOKS THAMES
LAY ON FIVE BBC WRITTEN BY FLOELLA
FLO’S FROLICS BBC BREAKFAST TIME
BLACK LONDONERS RADIO LONDON
DAYTIME LIVE BBC PEBBLE MILL 2 SERIES 56 SHOWS
A HOUSEFUL OF PLANTS CHANNEL 4 2 SERIES – TOP RATINGS
TREE HOUSE CHANNEL 4 OWN PRODUCTION, 13 SHOWS
THE LORD MAYOR’S SHOW BBC 1985/6/7
PLAYABOUT BSkyB OWN PRODUCTION 131 SHOWS
HULLABALLOO CHANNEL 4 OWN PRODUCTION 26 SHOWS
Sold to 28 countries and was winner of
‘PARENTS CHOICE BEST VIDEO’ – USA
JAMBOREE ITV 4 SERIES OWN PRODUCTON 52 SHOWS
MAMMA MIRABELLE’S HOME MOVIES CBEEBIES 52 PART ANIMATION SERIES
HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE CBEEBIES RADIO 7 (2007) OWN PRODUCTION 42 SHOWS
FLOELLA’S STORY SACK CBEEBIES RADIO 7 (2008) OWN PRODUCTION 21 SHOWS

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Classical Theatre Appearances with

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THE NORTHERN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
THE EAST OF ENGLAND ORCHESTRA
THE WELSH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
THE ULSTER ORCHESTRA
THE DULWICH COLLEGE ORCHESTRA
SCOTTISH OPERA ORCHESTRA

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2 Comments

  1. […] This post was Twitted by BWIE […]

  2. Robertlesliefielding says:

    Hey, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your becoming Baronness Benjamin.  I had no idea and just heard on the radio this morning.  I’ve been out of the country – that’s my excuse.
    Well done and keep up the good work.  God Bless You.

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