Tony Hart: 'I used to paint murals in a restaurant for meals'

The 5-Minute Interview

Why do you consider drawing to be important?

Doing anything creative is important, because it gets your imagination working. Every child should be encouraged to be creative.

How did you land your first job in television?

In 1952 I went to a party, and met a BBC children's television producer. He invited me to an interview. When I got there, he asked if I could draw quickly. He then asked me to draw a fish blowing bubbles, but his secretary took too long finding a piece of paper, so I drew the fish on a serviette. The producer was impressed, and I was hired as a freelance for Saturday Special.

Is it true you used to paint murals on restaurant walls in exchange for meals?

I gave up my job in a West End store to go freelance. Things were tough and I did paint murals on restaurant walls in exchange for meals.

Did you draw a lot as a child?

My mother told me that when I was very young I used to draw "Tick Tocks" (clocks), which were a circle with a tick in the middle. She used to save old envelopes for me to draw on.

How did Morph come to be created?

My first eponymous TV show was Take Hart. The producer decided that he wanted "something", not "someone", on the show with me. Two young graduates had been making animations for Vision On of a character called Aardman and they came up with Morph. They went on to form Aardman Animations.

How much did you get for designing the Blue Peter logo?

I asked for one penny every time they used it, but I was told that I would not get much out of that, and they gave me £100 instead. Don't I wish!

What do you think of children's television programmes today?

I regret that so much of children's television today consists of cartoons. They amuse, but do very little to stimulate.

What has been your happiest moment?

When I married my dear wife, Jean. I fell in love with her in 1952 when I saw her in a pub near Lime Grove Studios. I managed to chat with her from time to time, and one day she was upset. She told me that someone was bulldozing her into going out to dinner with him, so I plucked up my courage and said, "Well, if you don't want to go out with him, will you come out with me instead?" She said "Yes", and we were married a year later! Jean died two years ago, but I have her photograph just inside my studio door, so that I can wish her "Good morning" as I have always done.

How will you celebrate your 80th birthday in two weeks' time?

I shall celebrate my entry into the octogenarian's club with a very special lunch at my cottage with my family and my friends. What could be nicer?

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past