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?

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

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Project Manager (Procurement & Human Resources)

Unpaid: Cancer Research UK: If you’re a professional in project management, lo...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices