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.


  1. Tony Hart was my idol as a child. I was in absolute awe of his artistry, creation and invention and I owe it all to him for lighting the artistic spark within me and showing what could be possible. I read an article in the Guardian (I believe) a couple of years before he passed away, after he'd had a stroke and he was so sad that he couldn't use his hands any more and his studio at home sat idle, and it had me in tears.
    I created a book in 2009 - Legends of Kids TV - and wanted to include Tony, but wasn't possible at the time, but I did ask Colin Bennett to write his own tribute to Tony as I wanted to include him in the book as he was one of my ultimate childhood legends.

  2. Hi Clive, Ray Langstone here - you saw me yesterday at the BFI, done some research email me - I don't have yours, some good news on tracing shows, mostly....

  3. Clive

    Please can you contact me -

    I've also left you a message on Twitter. I've been chatting to Johnny Ball about a series you were involved in.

  4. I am a retired journalist from Tony Hart's old school Clayesmore, I am writing a feature on him for this years OC Magazine. Can we talk

  5. I am a retired journalist from Tony Hart's old school Clayesmore, I am writing a feature on him for this years OC Magazine. Can we talk

  6. I am a retired jiournlasts from Tony Hart's old school Clayesmore. I am writing a feature on nhim for this year's OC Magazine. Can we talk.