Tuesday 13 November 2018

Peter Firmin, iconic creator of The Clangers and Basil Brush, dies aged 89

Peter Firmin has died (Toby Melville/PA)
Peter Firmin has died (Toby Melville/PA)

Helen William

Peter Firmin - the man behind childhood favourites such as The Clangers, Bagpuss, Basil Brush and Ivor The Engine - has died at the age of 89.

Along with his co-creators, Mr Firmin brought joy to generations of children with his skilfully-crafted animated creations.

His spokesman, who confirmed he died at his Kent home on Sunday after a short illness, said: "During a career spanning over six decades, Peter worked with great skill in a remarkably wide variety of creative disciplines as a fine artist, craftsman and author.

"Of all his work, he will probably be most fondly remembered for the characters he co-created and made."

He created the cheeky fox Basil Brush with Ivan Owen and worked with his long-time business partner Oliver Postgate on Bagpuss, The Clangers, Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog and Pogles Wood.

Mr Firmin "devised, created, painted, drew and built the marvellous and diverse worlds" of these TV characters which still have "such magical and enduring appeal that they remain hugely popular to this day," the spokesman added.

Bagpuss was voted the most popular BBC children's programme ever made in 1999 and Mr Firmin was honoured with a Bafta Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

Floella Benjamin, who fronted children's shows such as Play School and Play Away and is now a Baroness, warmly recalled that all Mr Firmin wanted to do "was to create magic to stimulate kids' minds through his creative vision".

Mr Firmin is probably best known for The Clangers, complete with its pink, long-nosed, knitted mouse-shaped creatures living on a small blue planet not far from Earth.

Having first appeared on screens in 1969, the BBC programme was relaunched three years ago - much to Mr Firmin's delight.

Alice Webb, director of BBC Children's programmes, said: "Peter helped to bring to life some of the most iconic children's programmes of a generation. Working together on the relaunch of The Clangers it was clear to see he hadn't lost any of his trademark talent or passion.

"A remarkable man with an incredible ability to create wonderful characters that children have adored for decades he will be fondly remembered and sorely missed."

He is survived by his wife Joan and his six daughters, who often collaborated on many of his works, plus his many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The official home of the Clangers on twitter left a simple tribute which said "In loving memory of Peter Firmin" along with an image of the artist at work.

Press Association

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