Oliver Postgate, the creator of Bagpuss, The Clangers and a series of other classic children's television programmes, has died at the age of 83, his partner said today.
His other creations, including Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine and Pingwings, were screened on the BBC and ITV from the 1950s.
Postgate's creations were made by Smallfilms, the company he set up with the artist and puppeteer Peter Firmin, and he also narrated all its productions.
Although only 13 episodes of Bagpuss were made from 1974, the pink "saggy, old, cloth cat" remains fondly remembered and was voted Britain's best-loved children's television character.
Postgate's partner, Naomi Linnell, confirmed he died at a nursing home near his home in Broadstairs, Kent, yesterday.
Born in Hendon, Middlesex, Postgate set up Smallfilms in a disused cowshed near Canterbury after spending his early years in a number of different jobs.
In October this year, the rights to many of his creations, including Bagpuss, The Clangers and Ivor the Engine, were acquired by media company Coolabi in a £400,000 deal.
In an interview with the BBC in 2005, Postgate explained the process of how Bagpuss and some of his other characters came into being.
He said: "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. They hadn't any ideas in their heads, and they were happy enough to leave that to us."
In 1957, Postgate married Prudence Myers, becoming stepfather to her three children, and the couple later had twins and another son. Mrs Myers died in 1982.
An active figure in the anti-nuclear campaign during the 1970s and 1980s, Postgate was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Kent in 1987.
His autobiography, Seeing Things, was published in 2000 in which he charted his life from childhood to frustrated writer, political activist and inventor.