‘Lost part of my childhood’: Tributes flow for beloved Play School star John Hamblin

Hamblin with co-host Benita Collings and two of <i>Play School</i>'s other stars.

Hamblin with co-host Benita Collings and two of Play School's other stars.

Tributes are pouring in for one of Australia’s favourite TV stars, Play School host John Hamblin.

The beloved “childhood icon” died on Wednesday, aged 87.

English-born Hamblin, who first appeared on the classic kids’ program in 1970, is recognised by generations of Australians.

He went on to present the show for nearly 30 years.

After his death was reported late on Wednesday, his Play School colleagues reflected on his irreverent nature and cheeky sense of humour.

Hamblin eventually appeared in more than 350 episodes of the show.

His cheekiness led to him being affectionately known as “Naughty John”, the ABC said in a statement.

“John was an unforgettable presenter whose comedic timing and wit helped cement Play School as one of Australia’s most-cherished children’s programs,” ABC director entertainment and specialist Jennifer Collins said.

“John had a wicked sense of humour and was not afraid of a double-entendre.”

Hamblin had a knack for keeping toddlers and parents equally entertained, Ms Collins said.

“I would like to extend my condolences to John’s family at this sad time.”

Entertainer David Campbell was among those to pay tribute.

“So sad to hear about John Hamblin’s passing. Grew up with him in Play School and was stoked when I got to play his son in Away at the Sydney Theatre Company. My condolences to his family,” he tweeted.

Hamblin retired from Play School in 1999 but made a return for the show’s 50th anniversary special in 2016.

He is survived by his children Emma and Myles.

-with AAP

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