No one ever talks about how Hamble was replaced and no one has ever explained where she went. Did she go on to work in other shows? Perhaps a Hollywood career? Nobody seems to care. This has troubled me since the late 1970s. Is it just me? Yes, she didn’t fit in. No, she wasn’t cute and cuddly. Yes, she was an unconventional beauty but why did she just disappear? Was the replacement also called Hamble because, let’s be honest, she didn’t look like Hamble or was it a different girl? I’ll take this worry to the grave. Showbiz is fickle and fame is fleeting #NeverForget
Hamble the doll – the hate figure of the under-fives for the entire run of the programme.
Although it was originally a very common type of doll, sold in Woolworths, by the time Play School was in full flow there were only two Hambles in Britain. The other was owned by a woman in Chester, who would hire it to the BBC for £40 a week whenever the Play School regular was injured.
That happened quite often, as it wasn’t just the audience who detested Hamble. None of the presenters could stand her either, so she’d get drop kicked across the studio, and once, when she wouldn’t behave, Chloe Ashcroft took a dreadful liberty.
“I did a terrible thing to Hamble. She just would not sit up…so one day I got a very big knitting needle, a bit wooden one, and I stuck it right up her bum, as far as her head. So she was completely rigid, and she was much much better after that.”