Dancing bears. Fuzzy pink monsters. Humpty Dumpty's tragic fall. A description of a children's television show? Or a drug-induced hallucination?
In the case of the BBC children's show "Play School", it has been revealed they combined both in the 1970s. According to an upcoming documentary entitled Tales of Television Centre, "Play School" presenters in the 1970s would sometimes get "stoned out of their minds" before going on camera.
Former "Play School" host Johnny Ball reveals the going-ons to the Telegraph.
"There was Rick Jones, Lionel Morton and myself. They got stoned on the biggest joint you've ever seen — in the studio…we were in silhouette as the three shepherds with our crooks. Lionel purposely held his crook so the crook didn't show."
"Play School" featured adult hosts singing songs, telling stories, and participating in arts and crafts and imagination games. In its format, it was not unlike the popular Canadian children's program "Polka Dot Door".
But instead of the recurring shenanigans of life-sized puppet Polkaroo, "Play School" featured the recurring shenanigans of…well…a big fat joint. It was never shown on camera, of course. The bosses at the BBC Television Centre allegedly turned a blind eye.
Not everybody on staff was enjoying the party, however.
Famed BBC presenter Sir David Attenborough, best known for his calm and steady narration of nature shows, would speak up against the activities of his colleagues.
"Look, please, don't smoke that stuff openly so we can all smell it," Attenborough tells the Telegraph. "Just be sensible."
The BBC's Television Centre -- home of such beloved shows as "Play School", "Blue Peter" and "Doctor Who" — was also a bit of a den of inequity in terms of staff hook-ups.
"Nobody cared whether you had sex in your dressing room," Janet Fielding, who played Tegan on "Doctor Who", tells the Belfast Telegraph.
"Everybody was doing it on the premises," says "Doctor Who's" Katy Manning. "People were bonking all over the BBC."
Canadian children's television has also had its fair share of controversy. Musician Eric Nagler was a regular on "The Elephant Show" with Sharon, Lois & Bram. The popular children's entertainer was accused of sexually touching a young girl, also in 1991. Nagler's career and reputation took a blow before the charges were eventually dropped.
And let's not forget American Pee-wee Herman, played by actor Paul Reubens. Reubens was arrested in 1991 after being caught masturbating in a porn theatre. Ten years later, he fought against charges relating to the possession of child pornography.
What do you think of these hosts and their shenanigans?
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