I know banal and repetitive reminiscences about 1970s childhoods are a staple of stand-up comics, novelists and TV talking heads these days, but I couldn’t let the death of animator extraordinaire Oliver Postgate, aged 83, go unmarked.
Never mind what the actual animation was like – in those days long before Pixar, we didn’t care anyway, and I can’t help feeling that these days, it’s too often the be-all and end-all (see, didn't take me long to start sounding like my dad!). Postgate concentrated on story and mood, and was completely unafraid to let his imagination roam freely and trust young viewers to keep up. Noggin The Nog, for example, definitely had a sinister side to it, while Bagpuss used to throw bits of folk songs into the very strange stories. Ivor The Engine would even stray into Dylan Thomas territory.
One of the reasons Postgate is being remembered so fondly, I think, is the realisation that programmes of that sort just wouldn’t get made today, even at the BBC. Not that there’s not good kids’ TV programmes around, just that (and this is probably true of adult TV too) the viewers are rarely trusted the same way these days.