BBC News

Zippy voice actor Roy Skelton dies aged 79

media captionA clip from the ITV television show Rainbow featuring Zippy and his friend George

Actor and singer Roy Skelton, best known for voicing puppets George and Zippy in the popular children's programme Rainbow, has died aged 79.

His daughter Samantha Skelton told the BBC that her father passed away at his Brighton home after suffering a stroke.

The actor joined Rainbow in the early 1970s and remained with the show until it ended in 1992.

Geoffrey Hayes, who also starred in the show, said: "He really brought Zippy and George to life through his voice."

Skelton was "fabulous at improvising if something went wrong," he added.

"The most wonderful thing was if Zippy and George were having an argument between themselves, it sounded like he'd double-tracked it as they seemed to be talking over each other. It was a wonderful technique and I don't know how he did it.

"Although he was known for Zippy and George he was actually a fabulous actor with a great singing voice and a wonderful raconteur - he used to tell us some wonderful stories."

Skelton also voiced the Daleks in Doctor Who from 1967 to 1988, as well as the Cybermen and the Krotons.

In 2002, he guest-starred in the audio drama Sarah Jane Smith: Test Of Nerve.

He reprised the role of Zippy in 2008 for the BBC One series Ashes to Ashes.