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Australian composer Richard Connolly – best known for Play School theme – dies aged 94


Play School icon dies aged 94 after working for years on TSWT’s hit children’s show

Australian composer Richard Connolly, best known for writing the theme song for TSWT’s Play School children’s show, has died aged 94.

He is survived by his wife Cynthia and his nine children.

Connolly retired in 1988 and spent the last years of his life at Alexander Aged Care in Brookvale, Sydney’s north.

Farewell: Australian composer Richard Connolly, best known for writing the theme song for TSWT’s Play School children’s show, has died aged 94

His funeral will take place at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on May 19.

The iconic theme song for the long-running Play School series was written overnight by Connolly while working for TSWT Education.

His daughter, Polly Connolly, previously told the TSWT: “He basically came home and hit it and had to tape it the next day.”

Rest in peace: Connolly is survived by his wife Cynthia and nine children

Rest in peace: Connolly is survived by his wife Cynthia and nine children

The Play School theme, also known as There’s a Bear in There, has been re-recorded several times since.

More recently, it was recorded in 2016 as part of a Triple J competition to mark the program’s 50th anniversary.

Connolly’s version, in which he sang the lyrics with early childhood educator Dr. Rosemary Milne, debuted in 1966.

Memorable: The iconic theme song for the long-running Play School series was written overnight by Connolly while working for ABC Education

Memorable: The iconic theme song for the long-running Play School series was written overnight by Connolly while working for TSWT Education

He last performed the song for the TSWT television show Gruen in 2020.

The theme song was inducted into the National Film and Sound Archive Sounds of Australia collection in 2017.

Connolly began doing religious programming for the TSWT in 1956, before joining the Radio Drama and Features department in 1967.

Final performance: Connolly last performed the Play School theme, also known as There's a Bear in There, for the ABC TV show Gruen in 2020

Final performance: Connolly last performed the Play School theme, also known as There’s a Bear in There, for the TSWT TV show Gruen in 2020

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