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Clangers creator dies at 83

RIP Oliver Postgate

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Oliver Postgate - the man behind Bagpuss and the Clangers - has died aged 83, the BBC reports.

His partner, Naomi Linnell, said he passed away yesterday at a nursing home near his home in Broadstairs, Kent, at the end of a distinguished career which also brought Ivor the Engine and Noggin the Nog to generations of kids.

Postgate often collaborated with Peter Firmin, with whom he established the Smallfilms production company. The pair worked their magic "in a makeshift studio in a disused cowshed in Kent on a tiny budget often using home-made equipment".

Their first success came with Ivor the Engine, followed by 1960s series Noggin the Nog. Postgate recounted: "We would go to the BBC once a year, show them the films we'd made, and they would say, 'Yes, lovely, now what are you going to do next?'

"We would tell them, and they would say, 'That sounds fine, we'll mark it in for 18 months from now', and we would be given praise and encouragement and some money in advance, and we'd just go away and do it."

In 1974, the team created Bagpuss, which ran for just 13 episodes but was continually repeated until 1987. The "saggy pink cloth cat" was earlier this year honoured in a poll as "the best TV animal of all time".

Sandra Kerr, who voiced the mice in Bagpuss, paid tribute to Postgate's "creative and eccentric talent". Asked where he got his inspiration, she explained: "Oliver said it himself, he was always a little boy. He and Peter just responded to that part of themselves they had never lost."

Postgate made his last film in 1987, "complaining that children's television commissioners were no longer interested in what he had to offer". The BBC notes that in October this year company Coolbai acquired the right to many of his characters, and said it "planned to introduce Bagpuss to a new generation". ®

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