Brian Cant and Jonathan Cohen stage a new show meandering down memory lane of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Jeremy Campbell meets them.

Brian Cant didn't plan a career in entertainment.

He was working in a well-paid job as a lithographer when he was spotted during an amateur stage performance, and asked to audition for a poorly-paid repertory theatre role in Peterborough.

And he never looked back. He is best known for appearing in Playschool and Playaway on children's television.

Now Brian and Jonathan Cohen, who wrote many of the songs for Playschool and Playaway, return to the stage with a show. But this time it is a show for adults.

It is a project Brian and Jonathan came up with because of the Asian tsunami last Boxing Day.

"I was in Poole doing panto, and I saw the tsunami on television. I thought: Can't we do something?'. So we put on two shows in the next 48 hours, to raise money. I did the Playschool intro, and then Playaway, and the audience loved it.

"At the same time, Jonathan, who was doing Christmas concerts, had decided to write an orchestral and choir piece based on the Playaway song, and he got the same reaction. We started talking about doing a show for people who remember these programmes, but it has taken us until now to get it on stage."

Brian learned his trade in his first two-and-a-half years in theatre, stage managing and performing at the same time. He then progressed to television.

"I did whatever I was offered, commercials and all sorts. I was doing a schools programme, where I played a Roman on a pot."

It was the year when BBC Two was about to be launched and one of its children's programmes was Playschool.

" I was filming an episode of No Hiding Place in the Strand, and I had to run down to audition in my lunch hour. It was supposed to run for six months, and it went on for 25 years. I didn't have any idea of what I was getting myself in for, but I am very grateful."

It was during his time in children's television that he met his wife Cherry Britton, who was an assistant producer on the show.

They married, and moved to Chalfont St Giles where they have brought up their three children, who all went to school in the area. The twins Christobel and Peter are 19 years old, and Rose is in the sixth form at school.

Cherry, who is the sister of TV presenter Fern, directs the current stage show.

She says: "We have worked together for a very long time. I do costume, technical and am stage manager. "

Cherry calls Brian a Pied Piper' with children.

Brian chips in: "Children felt they knew me, and would come up and start chatting.

"I used to go to see the children in hospital. There were two or three at Great Ormond Street. I only recently got a letter from a boy I used to visit quite regularly, who had cancer. He made a full recovery and now he is a doctor in Oxford. It was lovely to hear from him."

Now after 25 years of entertaining children on television, he is returning to his theatrical roots, in Still Playing Away.

Jonathan, who has played in concerts at the Albert Hall, says: "I have always enjoyed doing a mix of everything. I could have gone down the classical route, but then I met Brian and did Playaway and Playschool, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I need to do both. There is some serious music in the show, but nothing too long, and then there's some schoolboy pantomime humour as well," he laughs.

Still Playing Away, is at Wycombe Swan Town Hall, November 13, 7.30 pm. Tickets: 01494 512000