Entertainment & Arts

Rainbow presenter Geoffrey Hayes dies at 76

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Media captionRemembering Rainbow star Geoffrey Hayes

Geoffrey Hayes, who hosted long-running children's TV show, Rainbow, has died aged 76.

The actor and presenter died in hospital surrounded by his family, according to his manager.

In a statement, Phil Dale said: "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."

Hayes presented Rainbow on ITV between 1974 to 1992.

Dale added: "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."

The pre-school show featured the characters Zippy, George and Bungle as they lived in the Rainbow House - and ran for more than 1,000 episodes.

Image copyright PA

The programmes featured musical interludes from the trio Rod, Jane and Freddy as well as animations and stories read from the famous Rainbow storybook.

Hayes also had a successful acting career, starring as Detective Constable Scatliff in the BBC TV Series Z Cars.

Many posted their tributes and shared memories of Hayes on Twitter.

After Rainbow, Hayes said he was "frustrated" not to find more acting work, as "directors could only think of me as Rainbow's Geoffrey".

He appeared in pantomimes and on some panel gameshows including an episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks in 2002 and Pointless Celebrities in 2015.

Image caption Hayes appeared on Never Mind the Buzzcocks in 2002

In a 2015 interview with the Express, Hayes said he had spent four months working nights, shelf-stacking at a local supermarket, and had also worked a stint as a taxi driver - something that was played upon in an advertising campaign he starred in for Monster Munch.

In the interview, Hayes recalled his time on Rainbow with fondness: "I'm very proud of Rainbow and even now, over 20 years since it finished in 1993, people remember it with affection. Amazingly, I still get recognised. People stop me and thank me for being an important part of their childhood - it's humbling."

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