Floella Karen Yunies Benjamin, Baroness Benjamin was born in Trinidad in 1949 and came to England as a child in 1960. She left school at 16 with the aim of becoming Britain’s first ever black woman bank manager but changed direction and became an actress, presenter, writer, independent producer and an active advocate for the welfare, care and education of children throughout the world. She is the Chancellor of the University of Exeter and a Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London. Her broadcasting work has been recognised with a Special Lifetime Achievement BAFTA, watch the award ceremony here, and an OBE.
She led a twenty-year campaign to create the role of Children’s Minister, which achieved its goal in 2003, and was introduced to the House of Lords as a Life Peer by the Liberal Democrats in 2010.
She was Chairman of the Women of the Year Lunch for five years, Chairman of BAFTA Television, was a member of the OFCOM Content Board and a Millennium Commissioner. She is now President of the Ramblers’ Association, the Elizabeth ’R’ Commonwealth Broadcasting Fund, a Governor of Dulwich College and the National Film & Television School. She recently launched her own range of Caribbean ready meals.
She has written over 20 books including Skip Across the Ocean, My Two Grannies and Coming to England which is used as a resource in schools in social and cross curricular areas. The book was adapted into an RTS award winning film by her company for BBC Education. She has just finished her new book The Arms of Britannia, which is the follow up to Coming to England.
She created Touching Success, an initiative which aims to mentor and help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to aspire. Floella’s latest hit children's programme is CBeebies Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies and she recently produced and presented Hey Diddle Diddle a 42 part children's comedy series and a 21 part storytelling series Floella’s Story Sack, both for BBC7. She also plays the character of Professor Rivers in Dr Who spin off Sarah Jane Adventures and appeared in the feature film ‘Run Fat Boy Run’.