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Play School – Opposites Monday (2006)


‘Opposites’ is the weekly theme and ‘hats’ the daily theme. Justine (Clarke) uses a homemade ‘cheeky monkey’ to demonstrate the concept of up and down. Justine and Rhys (Muldoon) make ‘surprise’ hats; Rhys reads a book; Justine leads a guessing game and they look through the diamond window. They also play a board game involving egg-carton mice, sponge cheese and a cardboard cat. All activities are interspersed with songs.

Curator’s notes

This episode demonstrates the sense of spontaneity and simplicity both in terms of performance and content that is synonymous with Play School. Most people are surprised to discover that the presenters do not make up the programs as they go along but work closely from a script. Here is an example of how weekly and daily themes are seamlessly woven through a wide variety of activities and songs. Despite changes in cast, new opening titles and set design in the late 1990s, the core concepts and format of Play School remain the same as the early episodes from the 1960s onwards.

Music has always played a very important part in the program and this episode is no exception featuring many songs, both traditional and original, brought to life by the talents of actor and children’s entertainer, Justine Clarke. Peter Dasent’s music is evident throughout this episode. Played live in studio, music not only accompanies songs but also provides a live score to all activities and stories. The first Play School musical director and pianist was Bill Antman, followed by much loved musician and on-air presence Warren Carr who also managed Play School live shows. Max Lambert followed and was succeeded by Peter Dasent, who is the current musical director and studio musician.

Play School was first broadcast on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 1966. This is episode 815 of series 228. Play School continues to go to air every weekday on ABC1 at 9.30 am and at 3.05 pm and on ABC2 at 2.00 pm.