BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor
« Previous | Main | Next »

Paper Monitor

10:32 UK time, Monday, 19 January 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Tony Hart dying really is very sad indeed. Of the cluster of notable deaths over the past few days, Hart's is the one that strikes closest to one's earliest televisual memories.

Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner - that was a coming-of-age experience. John Mortimer's A Voyage Around My Father - lots of shouting so it must be a show for grown-ups.

But Hart - even though none of Paper Monitor's submitted collages made the cut - he is The Man. He created the original Blue Peter Badge. He showed that a few ripped up scraps of coloured paper and lumps of clay were not just rubbish, but an elephant, a balloon, a flower just waiting to be assembled. He is forever soundtracked in Paper Monitor's mind by cool, cool jazz (over a montage of other children's artworks).

One of those other children, notes the Independent's writer Arifa Akbar, was none other than Damien Hirst.

The Guardian's obituary pages grant Hart three columns and a big photograph in tribute to his efforts at "entertaining children at such a breath-taking pace on television that they overlooked the fact that they were being educated at all".

The Daily Telegraph is impressed not only by his success at inspiring children and his creative range, but also that for much of his 50-year television career, he wore his "trademark cravat". Marvellous. An item of clothing that has lingered too long on fashion's fringes.

And the Times mines his childhood for fascinating snippets, such as his schooling at Westminster's All Saints Resident Choir School, a Dickensian institution where "[t]he headmaster would ring out offenders' names in Morse code". It also notes that Hart met a BBC TV producer at a party who agreed to audition him, where, "Hart drew him, upon request, a picture of a fish standing on its tail with bubbles coming out of its mouth. He used a napkin as a canvas, rather than paper, because it was the only thing available."

Coincidence or what? Paper Monitor too once deployed a napkin in its job interview for the BBC, albeit to wipe porridge surreptitiously off its cravat. And, like Hart, one's interviewer was struck by how quickly and skillfully this was carried out, and offered a job on the spot. But there was no drawing on Paper Monitor's first day. Just fetching and carrying pottles of porridge, handfuls of paper napkins and polystyrene cups of tea for the boss. How little has changed...

Sir, you - and Morph and naughty Chas - are sorely missed. Glockenspiels at the ready, and all together now: Duuur de-dur de-dur de-dur DUM, de-dur DUM, de-de...

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.