50 Years of Play School

Release date: 26 July 2016

Play School is Australia’s longest running children’s television program. The 50 Years of Play School stamp issue celebrates half a century of this much-loved Australian television program.

The stamps and minisheet feature three iconic and enduring aspects of the show that all three generations of Australian fans will relate to: the main cast of toys, the Windows and the Play School theme song, “There’s a Bear in There” by Richard Connolly and Dr Rosemary Milne.
On the stamps, Jemima and Humpty are at a party, as a reference to the 50-year celebrations. Big Ted and Little Ted are ready to play ball, to highlight play and play-based learning. The stamps feature the opening and closing lyrics of the theme song, which are then ‘filled in’ a little further on the minisheet.

The set of two maxicards have a retro feel, featuring images from the ABC archives that show the four main toys role playing and dressing up. As something fun for the youngest Play School fans, a special sheetlet pack with stickers accompanies the stamp issue.

We spoke to Jan Stradling, Executive Producer of Play School since 2009, to get her perspective on the anniversary and the significance of Play School.

50 years is an incredible milestone, particularly on television. How do those associated with Play School feel about the anniversary?

The team feels blown away by the amount of support and feedback that the show has received. It’s great to be part of something that has become such a national icon. We’ve reached this milestone thanks to all of the work that’s gone on before us, as well as what we’re currently doing – and that feels very special.

What is Play School doing to celebrate the milestone?

We’re celebrating the milestone by broadcasting some special content throughout July. During the birthday week, Play School is celebrating with a special series called “Come to the Party! “. The episode will feature four presenters, all working to put a party together. We’ve also got a series of Celebrity Covers in which various celebs, including Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian and Hamish & Andy, try their hand at presenting on the Play School set, performing a range of stories, songs and nursery rhymes.

Why do you think Play School has such enduring appeal to audiences, young and old?

Play School has a simplicity to it that resonates with everyone. I think we can all relate to the idea of learning about the world through play. The fact that this show has been watched by three generations of Australians makes it incredibly unique. There’s a real connection and nostalgia that comes from a parent watching their own child enjoy the show, just as they once did when they were little. It’s very much a trusted brand and always lots of fun!

Is there a particularly favourite story you have about the impact the show has had?

I love it when presenters tell stories of how kids just run up to them and say ‘hello’, as if they already know each other. That’s when you understand the great connection between presenter and viewer. The children watching really do feel that they’re being directly spoken to. And of course, it’s always great to hear older people speak of their childhood memories of the show. As program makers it reminds us of how quality shows can stay with people and even help define their childhood.

What’s involved in putting each episode together?

We concentrate on a series of five episodes at a time, all on the same theme. This takes around four months from start to finish. We begin by brainstorming a theme, then our Outliners and Early Childhood Advisors work together with the team to come up with ideas, activities, stories, songs etc to fit the theme. A writer will then write the episode.

The Series Producer and Director will work closely with our props department to make sure everything is ready for a rehearsal.

At the rehearsal everything is tested and finalised in preparation for the studio. With everything prepared, we’re then ready to record two episodes in one day.

Once it hits the screens, everything looks effortless, but in fact a lot of thought, care and conversation has gone into every single aspect of the show.

What do you think Big Ted, Little Ted, Jemima and Humpty think about making it onto a postage stamp?

The Toys are always ready for an adventure. Making it onto a postage stamp means that they get to go anywhere! I think they’ll all be very excited!

The 50 Years of Play School stamp issue is available from 26 July 2016 online, at participating Post Offices and via mail order on 1800 331 794, while stocks last.

Technical details

  • Issue date

    26 July 2016
  • FDI withdrawal

    23 August 2016
  • Denomination

    1 x $1, 1 x $2
  • Stamp design

    Jonathan Chong
  • Product design

    Australia Post Design Studio
  • Paper (gummed)

    Tullis Russell Red Phos
  • Printer (gummed)

    McKellar Renown
  • Paper (self-adhesive)

  • Stamp size

    26mm x 37.5mm
  • Minisheet size

    135mm x 80mm
  • Printing process

    Offset lithography
  • Perforations

    14.6 x 13.86
  • Sheet layout

    Module of 50 no design
  • National postmark

    Humpty Doo NT 0836
  • Issue withdrawal date

    31 January 2017

*This content was produced at the time of the stamp issue release date and will not be updated.