Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blogday Week Favourite - Oliver Postgate 1925-2008

It seems a little odd to repost an obituary but, in a way, the passing of Oliver Postgate reminded me why I do what I do. Postgate, who died in December of last year, made such a massive difference to a whole generation of children. Adults think back to his shows and have such fond memories, often just feelings. Feelings of warmth and comfort. He didn't do it to sell advertising space, to sell toys or to brainwash your children.

He did it to put smiles on the faces of children.

That's what's important. That's what counts. Since this post, we also lost John Ryan, of Captain Pugwash fame, another fantastic artist and creator.

Oliver Postgate died aged 83.

Oliver Postgate created Bagpuss, the Clangers, Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog, Pingwings and more. He was one of the top figures, if not the top figure, in a Golden Age of UK children's programming. It was a time of creativity, a love of fun and all things silly. It was a time when the sole aim was to put smiles on the faces of children. To make them laugh.

And that's exactly what Oliver Postgate did. Over and over again.

His importance, for several generations of smiling children, can't be overstated. Even now, thirty and forty years on, mentioning one of his shows will bring people right back to their childhood. The Clangers has become a common language for fun, for carefree times. Mention Bagpuss and a room can fill with warmth. For those of you outside the UK and Ireland, this effect is truly amazing. Look inside to the playful innocent child inside someone who grew up in Britain or Ireland from the 60s on and, somewhere in there, you'll find some or all of Oliver Postgate's characters.

He inspired a generation of artists, creators, animators, illustrators, writers, dreamers and free thinkers. Anyone with an ounce of imagination.

We may have lost a legend but his influence will be felt for decades, possibly much longer.

Goodbye Bagpuss. Goodbye Clangers. Goodbye everybody. I'll miss you all.


Toole said...

In spite of the "bitter"ness you do what you do because of a positive seed. that must be nice.

Mr. Trombley said...

Dear Sir,


If there is anything wonderful about the massive storage abilities of the internet it is that we can store the all the existing work of the entire world. Think of the nameless, numberless, and all but forgotten men and women who worked so hard on ephemera. Gene Deitch for one is often bemused that the vast majority of his work (educational films, etc) has disappeared into the fog of history.

It is wonderful to know that there are websites like the Internet Archive - testaments to work that would otherwise be gone; the very cry of dead men shouting "I was here!"

Red Pill Junkie said...

"the very cry of dead men shouting "I was here!""

I LOL... therefore I AM ;)

Bitter Animator said...

Toole, yes, it is nice. It can be frustrating at times because, like any industry, it is led by money and money and what's right rarely go hand in hand. And, when dealing with children, I think it's so important that people do this for the right reasons.

But, yeah, being able to contribute to work that gives children some enjoyment and maybe even makes a positive contribution to their childhood is a great thing to be able to do.

Mr.T, yep, that's one fantastic thing about the internet. It's a historical document being formed here and now and so much that has been long and forgotten only needs one person to have held on to those memories to get it online and give it new life.