Eastbourne Ashridge Circle|Founded 1947

Lecture Date: December 2, 2024



The multi-talented, ubiquitous human dynamo lays bare many aspects of her life which have taken her from Trinidad to the House of Lords.

Few human beings can have made such prolific and diverse contributions to a nation’s life and well-being as has Dame Floella over the last 50 years in Britain.

Born to a large family in Trinidad, she was brought up in England and after a brief flirtation with banking found her way into show-business, where she has featured prominently as an actress, presenter, writer, independent producer, businesswoman and media regulator. She is possibly best known as the iconic presenter of legendary TV children’s programmes “Playschool” and “Playaway,” and has written over 30 children’s books. Indeed, she has set up her own television production company with husband Keith Taylor and produced hundreds of programmes for the audience she loves best – children.

Other strings to her giant bow include Caribbean cooking; lecturing on issues concerning women, children, diversity and the arts; senior positions in a host of household-name charities and on the boards of educational institutions. Following her 10 years as Chancellor of the University of Exeter, a statue was sculpted for her legacy and she is thought to be the only living black woman to be honoured in this way.

In her “spare time” she has run ten London marathons and in 2004 carried the Olympic flame through part of London on its journey to Athens.

She was elevated to the peerage in 2010 and continues to promote there many important issues in national life.