I Work For: Work, play and school

ROS EDWARDS WORKS FOR FLOELLA BENJAMIN, AUTHOR, PRESENTER, BROADCASTER AND CHAIR OF THE BAFTA CHILDREN'S AWARDS

SHORTLY AFTER I graduated with a degree in TV and drama, I began approaching television production companies for work. When I called Cristalrowe Productions they invited me to an interview straightaway. I knew nothing about the company, so I was amazed to be greeted by Floella Benjamin who, I discovered, ran the company with her husband, Keith.

I recognised Floella immediately from her Playschool days and, confronted by one of my childhood stars, I became so nervous that I couldn't stop giggling. Funnily enough, a lot of people - including high-flyers - have the same reaction. But once I had pulled myself together, Floella and I clicked, although she was quite tough and demanding during the interview - testing me to see if I would fall apart under pressure. I was employed that day and asked to start work the next.

Floella calls me her "right-hand woman" because I do everything from writing scripts to dressing up the children appearing on Jamboree, her TV show, and then playing the part of a peasant myself. I even wrote Floella's speech for Cambridge University Burns Night, comparing it with Playschool. On the night itself I was given the job of guarding Humpty and Jemima from kidnap while the students queued to have their pictures taken with their Playschool heroes.

Floella believes that children are the most important thing in the world, which is one of the reasons she works from home. I sometimes collect her son and daughter from school and bring them home. Alvina is nine and, just like her mum, knows exactly what she wants. Aston is a very grown- up 16-year-old, not at all like your average Harry Enfield teenager.

Floella's just so busy. She chairs the Woman of the Year Award as well as Bafta Children's Awards and Bafta Television. She also writes books, presents and produces a programme, and is involved in all kinds of charity work. I often have to calm her down, and she relies on her essential oils which she sniffs when things are stressful, whereas I'm a coffee, tea and chocolate person.

We share many views, although she's more conservative than I am, particularly when it comes to relationships. She doesn't believe in sex before marriage, and complains about the way some girls flaunt themselves on children's TV. She likes to give me advice, anything from how to keep young-looking to the importance of winning people's respect. I boss her around sometimes; I don't mean to but it just comes out, and it makes her laugh.

I often say mad things, but then so does she. She makes up words and phrases, such as "clippy-clippy machine", meaning stapler, and "the tappy- tappy", referring to the keyboard. She's hopeless with computers, but she's a very good employer and she looks after my needs.

I play rugby twice a week to unwind and the other day I came in to work with a black eye and Floella didn't want me to leave the house because it looked as if I had been fighting.

I've been here nearly a year and have become a jack of all trades, but my secret ambition is to present children's programmes myself.

I think it's sad that she gets so little recognition for all that she does. It's almost as if her work is taken for granted.

Interview by

Katie Sampson

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones