Sunday 18 January 2009

Tony Hart

Last month it was Oliver Postgate. Now comes the sad news of the loss of another of the greats of the golden age of children's television - Tony Hart. A talented, inventive and exceptionally deft artist, capable of working fast on a large or small scale, he presented children's art programmes that were genuinely inspiring. Everything was pitched at exactly the right level - these were projects you could attempt and actually succeed with - and of course there was the added spur of The Gallery, in which the best of the pictures sent in by viewers were displayed. But what made it all so compelling and heartening was that Tony was so transparently a nice and decent man. Sadly, in his later years, he suffered the cruellest blow an artist can face - the loss of the use of his hands - but he had already done more in inspiring generations of children to get painting and drawing than anyone ever did before of ever will in the future. As with the great Postgate, we shall not see his like again.
Footnote: Some years ago, I was on an Italian bus, coming down into Positano, and as we reached the edge of town, there he was, striding along the pavement - Tony Hart. I was quite ridiculously cheered by the sight of him - but I suspect he had that effect on everybody, and that was part of his success. He spread a lot of happiness.


  1. Sad indeed Nige, we were convinced that watching Tony's programmes first interested our son in art.
    So if anyone complains about the current crop of Fords looking like Morph....
    Anyone else think he looked like Mr Pastry.

  2. A very sad loss. He was one of those rare people who made life bearable. I think anybody of a certain age who has ever tried to draw owes a debt to Tony Hart. All the current crop of aspiring TV presenters could learn a something about charm from watching his old shows. And, of course, learn a little about how to wear a cravat.

  3. Yes of course - a fine advertisement for the cravat, on top of everything else - and Malty wasn't Mr Pastry that clown type with the soup-strainer moustache? Not an obvious ringer for the elegant Mr H...

  4. Egad, Hart's voice and the Gallery music hit me like Proust's madeleine.

    Everything passes, except maybe nostalgia, eh.