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

Chief Executive

£28, 700: Whiskey Whiskey Tango: Property Management Company is seeking a brig...

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?