Tony Reeve: Cartoonist and scriptwriter


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The Independent Online

Though best known as a cartoonist working for Private Eye, Punch, The Spectator, The Times and TheIndependent, among others, Tony Reeve also wrotefor television, radio andthe stage and was a successful advertising artist,greetings-card designer and children's book illustrator.

Anthony Leonard Reeve was born in Romford, Essex in 1961, the younger of two children of Leonard Charles Reeve, a property manager, and Brenda Kelly, an accounts clerk. After attending the Boswells School in Chelmsford, Essex, he decided to become a professional cartoonist and he lived with his parents until he achieved his goal.

He was a great fan of the 1960scult TV programme The Prisoner starring Patrick McGoohan, and was a regular visitor to its fan club's annual conventions in Portmeirion, north Wales, where the series was filmed. This resulted in his cartoon series P-Nuts, which was published in the club's magazine. Named after the famous Peanuts strip by the US cartoonist Charles M Schulz, it was built around the character of "Paddy McGoolash". The cartoons in turn led to two animated puppet films, The Penny Farthing Mystery (1987) and Paddy In Wonderland (1988) made by Steven Ricks for TR7 Productions.

At the end of the 1980s he created The Watchdogs for the adult comic Brain Damage. It featured two cartoon dogs based on Douglas Hurd (then Home Secretary in Margaret Thatcher's government) and Mary Whitehouse of the Clean-Up TV pressure group, who were self-appointed moral guardians. He later worked with Steve Way on two strip cartoons, Generation Why (Independent, 1994-96) and Off Your Trolley(Private Eye, 2002-06), set in an NHS hospital. Shortly before the demise of Punch he also drew On the Record, a colour political strip about the Tony Blair government.

In addition he produced illustrations for children's books, including two titles for Scholastic's "The Knowledge"series: Potty Politics (1996) by Terry Deary (one of the authors of the bestselling "Horrible Histories" series) and Groovy Movies (1998) by Oliver Martin. He also drew advertising cartoons for Shell, Oracle, Reckitt & Colman and others, designed greetings cards and company brochures and wrote for the stage and radio. His TV scriptwriting credits included ITV's satirical animated cartoon 2DTV (2001-04).

He worked in colour as well as black and white, and his figures usually had distinctive large, bulbous noses. He signed his drawings simply "Reeve" with a flourish on the initial R.

Tony Reeve was a softly spoken gentle giant (6ft4in), much liked and respected by his fellow cartoonists. He was a great fan of the cinema, art, science fiction and comics. Born with Marfan Syndrome, he suffered for many years with bad eyesight and heart problems (he had one of his heart valves replaced in the 1990s). He died at University College Hospital, London, and is survived by his father and his older sister, Paula.

Mark Bryant

Anthony Leonard Reeve, cartoonist: born Romford, Essex 4 July 1961; died London 30 October 2011.