Another icon of British television has passed away: Oliver Postgate has died aged 83. Mr Postgate, who lived in Kent, created some of the best-loved children’s TV series including Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine, the Clangers and Noggin the Nog. His work, screened on the BBC from the 1950s to the 1980s, was often in collaboration with the artist and puppeteer Peter Firmin. In a poll earlier this year, Bagpuss, a saggy pink cloth cat, was voted the best TV animal of all-time. The furry cat would wake up when his owner Emily left the room, and various other toys would also come to life, including Madeleine the rag doll. Only 13 episodes of Bagpuss were made in 1974. In October this year, the rights to the character were bought by company Coolbai, which said it planned to introduce him to a new generation.
"And when Bagpuss was asleep,
All his friends were asleep.
The mice were ornaments on the mouse organ.
Gabriel and Madeleine were just dolls.
Professor Yaffle was just an old wooden bookend in the shape of a woodpecker.
Even Bagpuss himself, once he was asleep, was just an old, saggy cloth cat,
Baggy, and a bit loose at the seams,
But Emily loved him."
The distinctive whistles made by the Clangers, performed on swanee whistles have become as identifiable as the characters themselves and are much imitated amongst viewers of the programme. The series creators have said that the Clangers, living in vacuum, did not actually communicate by sound, but rather by a type of nuclear magnetic resonance which was translated to audible whistles for the human audience.
And finally I introduce Noggin the Nog: