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Breaking: ‘Queen of Beebies’ dies aged 63: Tributes to children’s TV legend Kay Benbow who worked for BBC for 30 years

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Tributes have been paid to a Cbeebies legend known as ‘the Queen of Beebies’ after her death aged 63.

Kay Benbow, former controller of the BBC channel, spent 35 years working in children’s entertainment.

The mother-of-two has been praised for her ‘passion and commitment to providing young children with the very best content’.

She began her BBC career in 1988 working for BBC Children’s, before transferring to CBeebies in 2002 and becoming the channel’s second controller in May 2010.

During her time in charge Cbeebies won the BAFTA Children’s Award for Channel of the Year four times, in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016. 

Award-winning former Cbeebies controller Kay Benbow has died at the age of 63

Award-winning former Cbeebies controller Kay Benbow has died at the age of 63

After her death, she leaves behind her husband of 31 years Ian Stubbs and their two sons.

A statement from the BBC said: ‘Everyone in the BBC Children’s & Education department is incredibly sad to hear the news that Kay Benbow has passed away.

Our most sincere condolences go to Kay’s husband Ian, their sons and to the wider family.

‘As the controller of CBeebies, Kay was known across the whole kids’ media sector for her passion and commitment to providing young children with the very best content.

‘She was pivotal in taking CBeebies programmes into new and original areas, never afraid to stretch preschool minds into unthought-of territory – such as ballet, Shakespeare, mathematics, science and the joys of the annual live Christmas show.

‘Kay will be deeply missed by a huge number of current and previous BBC colleagues, a testimony to the many lives she touched in addition to her service to the audience.

‘She was an extraordinary person and did so much for CBeebies and young children across the UK.’

Executive producer Michael Carrington, who preceded Benbow as controller of CBeebies posted: ‘During my tenure as controller of CBeebies at the BBC, Kay served as head of production, and I had the privilege of witnessing her exceptional talent, dedication and warmth first-hand.

‘Her passion for children’s programming was evident in every project she undertook, leaving an indelible mark on the industry and audiences.

‘Beyond her professional accomplishments, Kay’s kindness and unwavering support left a lasting impression on me.

‘Her leadership and guidance were invaluable, and her presence will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her.’

Stuart Rowson, a former BBC Children’s colleague now in charge of Lucky Socks Media, also paid tribute.

He posted online: ‘Kay was a legendary leader of CBeebies and affectionately known as the Queen of Beebies by some of those still within BBC Children’s, several years after her departure.’

Kay left the BBC in 2017 and became a children’s media content specialist. 

She said at the time she would ‘leave with pride, knowing that CBeebies is in great shape, is loved by the audience and will go from strength to strength’.

She added: ‘I have always said that the very young deserve the very best and I have strived to give them just that.

‘It is my hope that CBeebies inspires them and makes a positive impact on their lives, helping to create happy, confident children.’

She was given an honorary doctorate from The University of Sheffield for services to children’s broadcasting in 2017.



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