40 years since Miss Rosalyn left The Romper Room
- Credit: Archant
It was 40 years ago when a woman who had been a wonderful friend to thousands of boys and girls across Norwich, Norfolk and the rest of East Anglia walked out of The Romper Room for the last time.
This was 1976 and Miss Rosalyn was saying goodbye to the young people, and their parents, who loved watching and taking part in the wonderful and pioneering show made at Anglia TV studios in Norwich.Who could ever forget these words which ended the programme:Romper, Bomper, Stomper, do,Tell me, tell me, tell me do. Magic Mirror, tell me today. Have all my friends had fun at play? And I can see.... And then boys and girls would sit up straight, glued to the television set, to see if she could spot them. And if she said their name. Well, it really was magic.
Romper Room was such a simple show, so innocent and so much fun. One you never forget especially if you were 'seen' or even appeared on. Before the stars of this show were the boys and girls of East Anglia. A couple of years ago, to mark 50 years since the show first aired, Miss Rosalyn told me: 'I have many happy memories of presenting the programme over 12 immensely enjoyable years. 'The programme was an often-chaotic live television kindergarten designed to help children aged between three and six to get used to playing with each other.
The idea for the show came from America. In 1953 Bert Claster, a producer in Baltimore, gave his wife Nancy, a former nursery school teacher the job as the original hostess. Other television stations across the USA were allowed to copy the programme just so long as the format wasn't changed and every Miss Romper Room was sent to them for training. Yes, even our Miss Rosalyn.
When Anglia decided to screen the show they advertised for a presenter and received 40 applications – one from a Miss Esther Rantzen who made it to the final shortlist of six. But the job went to Rosalyn Thompson from Attlebridge who had been the first nursery nurse at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. Rosalyn was sent off to Baltimore for a fortnight of 'training' and the show went on air in 1964 and was a huge hit. Boys and girls, along with the mums and dads of course, just loved it. It turned children into TV stars. For each programme the youngsters, whose parents had written in, travelled to Norwich where Miss Rosalyn was waiting for them. They ran, jumped, shouted, painted, banged wood with little hammers and generally enjoyed themselves as Miss Rosalyn smiled...she was brilliant.
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They, and the viewers of course, were advised how to wash, brush their teeth and how to be safe in the home and in the street. There were also two puppet bees on hand to help. Mr Do bee and Mr Don't Bee. And at Christmas time a party was held for the stars of the show with Anglia's Mr Music, Peter Fenn, playing the piano. The much-loved Miss Rosalyn ran Romper Room for 12 years, presented more than 2,000 shows. She left in 1976 to start a family of her own after marrying series director David Kenten. Biddy Massen took over but the series only lasted for another year.
Happy days in The Romper Room.
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