Vale Tony Hart

Sad news that Tony Hart, a gentleman and an inspiration, has died aged 83. He’d retired a few years ago after suffering a couple of strokes, and the loss of his ability to draw accurately hit him very hard. He is probably best known for his TV show HartBeat and of course that little plasticine character “Morph” and perhaps his lasting legacy will be the interest in art and the physical process of creating it that he developed in millions of developing minds. Art as entertainment has never been a hugely popular concept in the minds of the TV executives, but Tony showed that given the opportunity, demonstrating how ‘easy’ creating works of art can be is as entertaining as any format. Of course it was Tony’s extraordinary talent that made ‘easy’ look ‘easy’ – nevertheless, his demonstrations of technique inspired many a child to pick up a pencil… or a multitude of other materials… and try.

I was always utterly amazed at the way he took the simplest concepts and developed them into stunning pictures. And that smile… and his dedication to encourage children to use their talents… and the delight when they did…so genuine!! I used to love watching “The Gallery” where contributions from child viewers were displayed. I never had the nerve to even attempt to draw anything to send in… but the shows were always a pleasure to watch.

He really exemplified a bygone age when television educated as well as entertained. I doubt we’ll ever see his like again?

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