Yesterday Twitter was awash with comments about the sad death of the pioneering children TV’s presenter Tony Hart. The trouble is that he died six years ago, thus demonstrating what I suspected for some time, i.e. that most users of social media have a very short attention span.
Now, where was I?
When he actually died The newspapers and television were filled with suitably glowing tributes to Tony Hart, because he was not only a superb presenter but also a warm and generous person. That’s quite a rare combination in the world of television, so I’m told. Anyway, I’m not at all sorry to have the excuse to play tribute to him again as he is still greatly missed.
I knew of him primarily through Vision On, a programme which I watched avidly as a child, and only found out much later on that it was intended to be for deaf children. The show involved comedy sketches and cartoons, as well as Tony Hart’s contributions which involved creating works of art live in front of the camera. He hardly ever spoke and used only the simplest of materials to create very beautiful things with the idea that this would inspire his audience to get in touch with their artistic side without making it look too much like a lesson. He did it brilliantly.
My favourite bit of the programme was The Gallery, accompanied by a piece of music which is almost as redolent with nostalgia for me as the theme from Doctor Who. The track concerned is called Left Bank Two and was performed by the Noveltones, just a trio of vibraphone, guitar and drums played with brushes, I think it’s a masterpiece of relaxed simplicity. Nobody got his collar wet playing it, that’s for sure. It’s the sort of music you might have expected to hear in a smart cocktail bar in the early 60s but is now inextricably linked to The Gallery.