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Helen Madden: 'Miss Helen', a TV presenter who endeared herself to a generation

Robin Walsh remembers the viewers’ favourite forever linked with ‘Romper Room’

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Helen Madden presenting Romper Room

Helen Madden presenting Romper Room

Helen Madden presenting Romper Room

It is easy to understand the flood of tributes from the world of television, the arts and the general public following the death of Helen Madden at the weekend. She was the children's television presenter who endeared herself to a generation, an international prize-winning writer and an actress of critical acclaim.

The public eye was first opened 50 years ago when at the age of just 25 she became Miss Helen of Ulster Television's Romper Room, a programme for the very young which became something of a cult. Ulster folk of a certain age still remember the closing of each show when Miss Helen looked through her magic mirror to say goodbye to some of her young viewers by name.

Helen never tired of reminiscing about the programme. Her favourite story was at the height of the Troubles when one wee boy in the studio said he would like to sing a song called "The Men Behind The Wire". Her response: "I'm not sure we all know that one - what about 'Mary Had A Little Lamb' instead."


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