Monday, 19 January 2009

Tony Hart

As a child watching after school television, amidst all the mayhem of the Funhouse and the drama of Grange Hill, it was the calm creativity of Take Hart and Hart Beat that best held my attention.

I grew up fascinated by The Gallery, and would be inspired to new heights of crayon / glitter creations by the pictures sent in to be given their moment of glory on screen. My seven year old self could see instantly that I could draw trees better than ‘Lucy, age 8’ but how on earth did ‘Leon, age 7’, create that technically brilliant landscape? I still remember the picture I sent in – a beach scene with a cave and rock pools – but never saw it appear in the gallery. I wonder what happened to all the pictures – apparently the show could get 6,000 submissions a week. I bet crayola were happy.

Tony Hart had such a nice manner – he never spoke down to his young audience, and used his considerable artistic skills to fascinate and astound viewers. Blue Peter to some extent also showcased activity, but their finished ‘here’s one we made earlier’ product seemed a world apart from the starting kit of a slightly squashed toilet roll. Hart Beat, on the other hand, made more sense and appealed to my imagination. It made me want to draw.

It was sad news to hear Tony Hart has died, aged 83, and I hope he realised that he was a happy part of so many childhoods. Goodbye Tony, you inspired children to think creatively – I am sure your influence stretches far wider than you ever imagined. And in honour of his memory, I shall dig out my oil pastels and try to recreate that beach scene.

A few hours later... Click play on the clip below, and then scroll down - in my own way I made it into The Gallery after all!


musicobsessive said...

LOL! Oh dear, that did amuse me.

Unlike you, I never had the artistic talent to draw anything so didn't go in for the Vision On gallery. I did win a Blue Peter badge for my cotton-reel tank powered cardboard Dalek though. Unfortunately I lost it years ago. Pity, that.

Jayne said...

You had a Blue Peter page! Wow, that is almost like Creative Royalty. I never tried for a Blue Peter badge for some reason - I was probably too busy trying to amass a large pointless collection of something to appear on Why Don't You or think up a reason to be on Jim'll Fix It. For the latter I remember having all these wild ideas that Jim could fix for me, and then my mum decided I should write in and ask for a rose to be named after me instead. You can imagine the disdain on an 8 year old's face at that suggestion. I think the letter went 'Dear Jim. I want to be a rose. I think it will make exciting telly. Thanks.'