An ultra-brief bit of business that doesn’t really do justice to the man’s ultra-brilliance, but hey, he’s sporting white gloves, gets into a tug of war with the volunteer, and there’s Anita Harris “looking very Chinese”.
In happier times, as they always say, with Christopher Cazenove, Peter Jeffrey and Jakki Brambles.
No more, please. Too many chunks of childhood have already been lost this year to warrant such a rate of expiry persisting any longer.
It’s not fair. January is a barren enough month as it is. To have four masters of the crystal bucket vanish in a mere seven days…it’s just not on. This virtual black armband is starting to lose resonance. How can you celebrate the way things were if you’re stuck only ever having to commemorate it instead?
Of the latest casualty, despite no longer here in any physical sense, the very least you can say is that Tony Hart’s spirit lives on. It lives on in anyone who ever used a wooden stick to carve a giant face on a sandy beach; anyone who ever added a pair of eyes, hands and feet to that superfluous blob of plasticine in the school artroom; anyone who ever borrowed the family Pritt Stick, Copydex or Gloy Gum to doodle the outline of something on a bit of paper, shower the paper with glitter, then tip the paper on its side to reveal…a glittery doodle; anyone who ever filled a used washing-up bottle with paint, suspended it upside down by string, pricked a tiny hole in the lid then let it swing back and forth all over the back of an old bit of wallpaper; anyone who ever covered a sheet of paper with a rainbow of Crayola, then covered that with a layer of black crayon, then used a toothpick to scrape through the black residue and create magical multi-coloured houses, clouds and animals; and anyone who saw other people, people like them, getting their drawings shown on national television and felt moved to try and do the same.
Everyone, basically. His spirit lives on in every single one of us.
Euston Road, March 1978:
Farewell to the guv’nor.
Superstars, July 1983: the man grills Brian Hooper while Stuart Matthews, David Wilkie, Lynn Davies and Conrad Bartelski look on.