‘I’m here today because I love you.” That’s how Floella Benjamin, the children’s TV presenter turned advocate for children of all ages, usually begins. Sometimes she says those exact words. Sometimes, like today, she doesn’t have to. Thirty years in children’s TV, first as a presenter on Play School and later as head of her own production company, has made Benjamin adept at communicating not only with children but with the inner children of adults. It’s a skill that can make encounters unexpectedly emotional.
“Caring,” she says, that’s the secret. “And meaning it. On Play School, I said, ‘Hello, are you all right?’” She pauses, but maintains eye contact, and suddenly I’m four again,