Another childhood icon has shuffled off this mortal coil. Tony Hart has died at the age of 83 and the world is poorer for his passing.
As children most of the TV we watched was on the BBC. Not for us the trendy Magpie but programmes such as sensible but informative Blue Peter with its gentle tones, sticky back plastic and pets and the excellent Vision On with Tony Hart. It was a revolutionary show for its time because it was a show specifically for deaf children. There weren't that many shows in the seventies which featured a woman doing sign language at peak viewing time and I was transfixed. There was Pat Keysall, mime artists (including Sylvester McCoy) and artwork but more importantly there was Tony and his art.
A gentle and friendly soul, Tony worked his magic on the screen and his artwork held me spellbound. I was never much good in the art department, unco ordinated and with an attention span the size of a full stop, I could never make anything that even I found attractive but that didn't stop me watching Tony and wanting to try that little bit harder. Each week I would watch the gallery of childrens pictures flash past and wish that I could make something worthy of being shown on the screen. Sadly, my cackhanded attempts with string, glitter and glue were....well quite frankly they were crap but at least I had a go. Tony moved on from Vision On with Take Hart and we met Morph, his plasticine friend. Tony would talk to Morph and he would respond in an incomprehensible language but I knew what he was saying.
All over the internet people are talking about Tony and how he inspired them. There's an army of grown up children of the seventies who were as art challenged as me but who watched his shows and wanted to try harder. I think I may have said the same thing about Oliver Postgate last year but I hope Tony realised just what a huge impact he had on us all and how we loved him.
The picture in todays post is doing the rounds. It choked me up. Silly, isn't it? Bet I'm not the only one.
RIP, Tony. Thanks for everything.