John Hamblin Biography

John Hamblin (1935 – 21 September 2022)  better known by his character names Funny John or Naughty John,  was an English-born Australian children’s television presenter and actor on stage and screen who appeared in a variety of stage productions, soap operas, and made-for-TV films. He was best known for his roles as Funny John and Naughty John.

He was most recognized for his work as the host of the children’s program Play School, which he hosted from 1970 to 1999, and for the drama The Restless Years.


Early life 

Hamblin was born in 1935, and he spent his childhood in the English county of Suffolk. Hamblin’s father uprooted the rest of the family and relocated them to Norfolk after Hamblin’s mother took up residence with the neighborhood baker. At that point, he was no longer in communication with his mother. Hamblin’s father had been in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I, and Hamblin himself joined the Air Force and completed his mandatory military service in Cyprus in the late 1950s before returning to England. Hamblin’s father had served in the Royal Flying Corps during the war. Hamblin began his education at an art school but later opted to pursue a career in acting. To prepare for a profession in acting, Hamblin studied drama.


Professional career 

Hamblin began his acting career in his home nation of England, performing in repertory theater with the Theatre Royal, Windsor, prior to making a cameo in an episode of the legendary television series The Prisoner titled “A Change of Mind.”

Hamblin and his second wife, Wendy, emigrated to Australia in the early 1960s and settled in the Ten Pound Pom community there. In addition to his work with the Sydney Theatre Company, Hamblin had roles in television shows throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Some of his most notable roles were in the soap operas Number 96, Class of ’74, The Young Doctors (in the role of Dr. Dan Wheatley), Case for the Defence, and Sons and Daughters.

Although he is most known for his roles in soap operas and serials, Hamblin appeared as Michael Chamberlain in the television drama The Disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain, which aired in 1984. After taking a break throughout the 1990s, he returned to television in the early 2000s by appearing in guest roles on the series All Saints and Love My Way.

Play School 1970–1999 

Hamblin was the second most prolific presenter on Play School, appearing in 357 episodes, while her fellow presenter, Benita Collings, participated in 401 episodes. Hamblin was known for being irreverent and adding double entendres into the skits that she performed. On the show, Hamblin would sing, read stories, perform crafts, play with renowned toys, and educate children about topics like telling time and the days of the week. The show lasted for two hours each weekday. Another co-host who worked alongside Hamblin, Noni Hazelhurst, recalled some aspects of his irreverent personality that youngsters may not have understood but that parents did.


In 2008, Hamblin and Peter Richman collaborated on the publication of their memoirs titled “Open Wide, Come Inside.” In 2016, he made a brief comeback for a one-time appearance as a special guest on the Play School episode celebrating the show’s 50th anniversary.


Personal life And Cause of Death

In the 1960s, Hamblin and his second wife, Wendy, made the trip down under to Australia. Following his time at Play School, he took early retirement and relocated to Tasmania with his third wife, Jenny.

Hamblin experienced a heart attack in the year 2003. He passed away on September 21, 2022 in Sydney, Australia, at the age of 87; his children Emma and Myles are his surviving relatives.