Baroness Floella Benjamin astounded Lorraine viewers with her youthful appearance on Thursday as she discussed the Windrush celebrations, her new book and her incredible career.
The 72-year-old, known for her role presenting children’s shows including Play School, joked to Lorraine Kelly, 62, that the secret to her looks is cod liver oil, which her mother fed her when she was younger.
The star also told how she’d become emotional on Windrush Day on Wednesday as she joined Prince William and Kate Middleton for the unveiling of the National Windrush Monument.
Viewers tuning in to the show found themselves very distracted by Floella’s youthful glow and were quick to rush to Twitter to share their compliments.
‘Floella Benjamin hasn’t aged since I watched her on Playschool about 40 years ago!!’ tweeted one person.
While another: ‘Watching @floellabenjamin on Lorraine and she looks EXACTLY the same as she did when I used to watch her on Playschool 38/40yrs ago!! The woman doesn’t age, at all!!!’
‘Floella looks amazing for 72’ commented a third astounded watcher.
‘Floella Benjamin hasn’t aged in 40 years’ commented a fifth person.
With another agreeing: ‘Can you ask Floella what she uses to make herself look so fabulous!!!!! She’s barely aged a day since Play School Days. Amazing woman!’
During the interview, Floella touched on her childhood, where she revealed the secrets to her fresh-faced looks.
She told Lorraine: ‘The secret of life is to know that you’re loved. My mum and day, especially my mum poured love into us every single day of my life.
‘She told me and my five brothers and sisters and poured cod liver oil into us as well! That’s why I look so good at 72! 73 nearly. Cod liver oil is the secret!’
Meanwhile, Floella opened up on her pride and emotion at her being part of the unveiling of a national monument in one of London’s biggest train stations to celebrate the dreams and courage of the Windrush generation.
Floella, who moved to the UK from Trinidad aged 10, explained: ‘I just felt so emotional as I stood on the platform there thinking 62 years ago, I arrived at Waterloo, platform 19 with my little grip – my suitcase. Looking up at the huge Cathedral-like building.
‘Little know that I’d be standing on the platform, putting up a Windrush monument celebrating the contribution Caribbean people have made to this country.
‘A tear came to my eye, it was so emotional.’
The Windrush generation was named after the ship that brought over one of the first groups of West Indian migrants invited to the UK in 1948 to help rebuild post-war Britain.
Over the next 25 years thousands followed, taking jobs to fill shortages, particularly in the nascent NHS.
Windrush Day on 22 June marks 74 years since the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex, bearing around 500 people from Jamaica.
In a speech at the statue unveiling, Prince William acknowledged that the future the Windrush generation sought and ‘deserved’ has not yet come to pass, saying: ‘Discrimination remains an all too familiar experience for black men and women in Britain in 2022.’
‘Only a matter of years ago, tens of thousands of that Generation were profoundly wronged by the Windrush Scandal. That rightly reverberates throughout the Caribbean community here in the UK as well as many in the Caribbean nations.
‘Therefore, alongside celebrating the diverse fabric of our families, our communities and our society as a whole – something the Windrush Generation has contributed so much to – it is also important to acknowledge the ways in which the future they sought and deserved has yet to come to pass.’
The statue – of a man, woman and child in their Sunday best standing on top of suitcases – will was revealed at Waterloo Station on Wednesday to mark Windrush Day.
It was designed by the Jamaican artist and sculptor Basil Watson, who said it had been an honour to create the monument.
The Government, which has provided £1 million in funding for the project, said it ‘symbolises the courage, commitment and resilience of the thousands of men, women and children who travelled to the UK to start new lives from 1948 to 1971’.
It also acknowledges the Windrush generation’s ‘outstanding contribution’ to British society and is intended to be ‘a permanent place of reflection’, it added.
Waterloo station was chosen because thousands of people who arrived from the Caribbean passed through the station on their way to start their new lives across the country, the Government said.
The unveiling was one of dozens of events and activities across England to celebrate Windrush Day 2022.