Baroness Floella Benjamin, OBE, was born in Trinidad in 1949 and came to England in 1960. She is an actress, presenter, writer, producer, working peer and an active advocate for the welfare and education of children. She is best known as a presenter of the iconic BBC children's television programmes Play School and Play Away, and she continues to make children's programmes. Her broadcasting work has been recognized with a Special Lifetime Achievement BAFTA and OBE. She was appointed a Baroness in the House of Lords in 2010. In 2012 she was presented with the prestigious J. M. Barrie Award by Action for Children's Arts, for her lasting contribution to children's lives through her art. Floella has written thirty books, including Coming to England, which is used as a resource in schools in social and cross-curricular areas. The book was adapted into an award-winning film for BBC Education. She was also appointed Chancellor of the University of Exeter until 2016. What Are You Doing Here? is her first adult autobiography, after previously writing her classic memoir Coming to England and acclaimed Sea of Tears.
In 2022, it was one of Her Majesty the Queen’s last wishes to appoint Floella the prestigious Order of Merit, which is held by only twenty-four people. Floella is the first Caribbean person to receive the order, but she is sure she won't be the last.