Geoffrey Hayes from Rainbow dead: Children's TV presenter dies, aged 76

Rainbow presenter Geoffrey Hayes tells Zippy, Bungle and George about a dog which has moved in next door

Geoffrey Hayes, presenter of classic children’s TV show Rainbow, has died at the age of 76.

The actor and presenter’s manager Phil Dale confirmed the death in a statement, saying he passed away surrounded by family members.

“It is with great sadness that the family announce that Geoffrey passed away in hospital with his wife, Sarah, and son, Tom, by his side,” Dale said.

“Geoffrey Hayes was an English television presenter and actor, best known as the host of Thames Television’s top-rated children’s show Rainbow, and for his portrayal of Detective Constable Scatliff in the successful TV series Z Cars for the BBC.

“The family would like to express their thanks to the many fans over the years as it always gave Geoffrey so much pleasure to know that he and his Rainbow team had given so much fun to TV and theatre audiences over the years.

“There will be no further comment at the moment and it would be appreciated if the privacy of Geoffrey’s family is respected at this most difficult time.”

Hayes appeared on the children’s TV show Rainbow from 1974 until 1992, having taken over from original host David Cook. He appeared alongside the cuddly puppets Zippy, George and Bungle, keeping the peace in the hallucinogenic Rainbow house in more than 1,000 episodes.

After the series finished, he struggled to find acting work as casting directors only saw him as Rainbow’s Geoffrey. For a time he stacked shelves in a local Sainsbury’s before becoming a taxicab driver until retirement.

In 2002, Hayes said the secret to the programme’s enduring popularity was that it was full of “magic, innocence and imagination”.

He said: “Practically all the time people come up to me and it really breaks me up because they thank me for being part of their childhood. It makes me want to cry sometimes.”

Hayes also had a recurring role in drama series Z Cars in the early 1970s, and appeared on programmes including Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Pointless Celebrities.

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