Freda Lingstrom 1893 - 1989

Poster artist,
Television producer
born in:
Chelsea, Kensington and Chelsea, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom

Freda Lingstrom was a television executive for BBC who played an integral role in the development of Children’s television.

Lingstom trained at the Central School of Arts and Crafts. She established her early career as an artist and illustrator. Initially she worked with rail companies London and North Eastern Railway, London Underground and the Norwegian State Railway. A published author, Lingstrom joined the editorial staff of children’s magazine 'Junior' from 1945 to 1949.

In 1940 Lingstrom joined the BBC as a staff pool journalist and script writer, working for the Home and Empire Talk department. Here she met future collaborator Maria Bird. Lingstrom was appointed Assistant Head of BBC Schools Broadcasting in 1947 where she created the storytelling programme 'Listen with Mother'.

Looking towards television Lingstrom and Bird established Westerham Arts to create an initial batch of episodes of 'Andy Pandy' in 1950. The show was an experiment aimed at pre-school children, written by Lingstrom with music by Bird. In 1951 Lingstrom was appointed Director of BBC Children’s Television where she developed the 'Watch with Mother' strand from 1952. The strand featured multiple shows, including 'The Flowerpot Men' also made by Westerham. The shows were regularly repeated and the strand continued into the 1970s.

As Director until 1956, Lingstrom developed the profile of Children’s television and brought in influential programming, including Sooty and 'Crackerjack'. She was awarded an OBE in 1955.