Wednesday, 1 February 2012

In memory of Tony Hart

Tony Hart was a very well known and loved presenter of iconic art and design programmes, such as "Vision On", "Take Hart" "Hartbeat" and many others. His amazing ability to create beautiful pictures and designs out of practically anything (seeds famously, shells, cleaning materials; giant pictures with white line machines on tarmac, roller towels on hillsides, and motorbike tyre-trails in the sand etc.etc) as well as his amazing talent as a conventional artist and animator, made him one of the most influential TV artists of more than one generation. So many famous artists, designers, architects and film makers owe their success to the enthusiasm and dynamic talent of Tony when they, as chidlren, were watching his seminal programmes.

I worked with him as his director for seven years on "Vision On", which, those of you who are old enough will remember, was a kids' programme that catered for the hard of hearing. It therefore only included visual content of humour, surrealism and art, The Prof, Wilfred Makepeace Lunn (and his wonderful machines), Pat Keysell's sign language, Sylvester McCoy, long before he became the ninth Dr Who. Many amazing animated films including the now famous Morph from Aardman, and of course not forgetting the chance, for all budding young prodigies, to send artwork to "The Gallery". These were all led by the inimitable Tony Hart.

When he sadly died in January 2009 , thanks to social networking a flashmob was assembled at Tate Modern, with thousands of fans who had each made their own Morph. This made the National News.
Soon after his funeral I attempted with the authority of his daughter Caroline to put a proposal to the BBC for a Tribute programme to celebrate his amazing life. This had Rolf Harris eager to present it and a number of well known celebrities and artists ready to take part. It was a eulogising retrospective of all his work and his life, including the fact that he was a Captain in the Ghurkas, who, very shortly before his death, had honoured him with mass bands and a march past.

Unfortunately the BBC in its wisdom, did not deem the life of Tony, over fifty years of making programmes for them, as "a big enough event" !!

So I have decided, with the help of notable TV personalities, to make a "big enough event" and again offer to the BBC as a tribute to the great man.

There are many thousands of you out there who must have sent your paintings and pictures to Tony's programmes who were influenced by him and would wish to be involved.

But basically, I want help in putting this "Big Event" for Tony Hart enthusiasts through to the right minded people at the BBC.
If anyone can help please get in touch with me.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Why Olive Dong?

In 1976, with full beard and long hair, looking like a Gonk, I was a BBC delegate at the Prix Jeunesse TV Festival held at Bayerische Rundfunk in Munich, Germany as I had directed the Children's Programme "Vision On" which was entered for the Best Kid's Programme at this International Festival. I arrived slightly later than the other delegates having driven from Esbjerg in Denmark to Munich in one go overnight. At the reception desk they greeted a rather scruffy tramp like individual, me, and gave me my identity badge, which was a brooch type and stated "Fraulein Olive Dong - BBC". It was plainly obvious to the receptionist that I was anything but a woman, but I was still allowed in. As I was an extra 'unofficial' delegate, not main stream enough in the BBC, my name had been scribbled down on a piece of paper and given to the organisers: it is quite simple to turn a 'C' into an 'O' and an 'i' into an 'n'. Clive Doig had become Olive Dong, for ever more as my pseudonym. The next morning full of Germanic humour, the Daily Festival News-sheet had a headline "BBC Delegate mistaken for a woman" with a snap of the gonk. My head of department was not too pleased about this, the BBC was very straight and proper, and I certainly was not. "Vision On" won the Prix Jeunesse that year. I had directed it for six years since it had won BAFTA for best specialised series, up against and beating "The Ascent of Man" Dr Bronowski's seminal work.
One can view all "The Ascent of Man" on Youtube and on DVD, but there are no copies of "Vision On" available anywhere. Baaah!