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?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee