Saturday Kitchen star breaks down in tribute to kids TV legend

Andi Oliver gets emotional as she pays tribute to Floella Benjamin

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Saturday Kitchen’s regular guest chef Andi Oliver fought back the tears in an emotional segment of the BBC cookery show. The TV chef reflected on the importance of Floella Benjamin’s influence on her growing up.

Floella was a guest alongside Andi and Scott Mills in celebration of the BBC’s 100 year anniversary.

Due to the racial boundaries Floella broke down while presenting her iconic Play School show, Andi couldn’t help but thank the inspirational Dame.

She told her: “I just want to say, Floella, that I noticed that you were on there and I noticed there were black people on screen.

“It meant everything to me and I just want to say thank you, it meant everything.”

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She added: “It was a lot though because I was a little kid in Bury St. Edmunds and nobody looked like me and then there was you”, before welling up.

The TV chef had predicted the tears, saying: “I knew I was going to cry”, before wine expert Olly Smith gave her a hug.

Floella explained the impact she had on BBC bosses at the time, and how she changed their approach to inclusivity.

“I was one of the first people to walk around with my hair in plaits and beads, in fact, I used to be laughed at. When I came for my audition I thought maybe the BBC isn’t ready for this so I put on this wig.”

She remarked: “I didn’t think I was impressing her that much, so I said, ‘By the way I don’t really look like this you know.’

“I whipped my wig off and out came these beads, she said, ‘That’s fantastic,’ I got a camera audition and the rest is history.”

“I was known as the lady with the blue beads, they had to send instructions to children who wanted to look like me.

“Suddenly it became an iconic look and I’d turn up for public appearances and see people looking like me.”

Elsewhere on the special edition of the show, Olly stunned his fellow guests and viewers alike with his previous role away from Saturday Kitchen.

Host Matt Tebbutt kicked off the show by announcing Olly had a secret role in children’s TV.

Matt said: “You’re known for your wine, you’ve set aside a few bottles in your time, however you’re also known on the BBC as the writer of Pingu!”

After the revelation, Olly explained: “You have to write literally everything that is on the screen, everything they do, when they move, all of the emotions.

“Well you do actually have to write dialogue as if they are talking in real life and the voice artists would turn it into penguin speak.”

Matt replied: “So it wasn’t like, ‘oh there we go let’s make that funny noise’.”

Olly joked: “No it’s not like you at work, we actually did some work!”

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