Hero of our child­hoods

Trib­utes to much-loved chil­dren’s tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter Brian Cant

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by TOM HER­BERT tom.her­bert@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @TR Her­bert

CHIL­DREN’S TV pre­sen­ter Brian Cant has died at the age of 83.

He was best known for his work pre­sent­ing BBC’s Play School for 21 years, a role which he started in 1964 and gave him his big break.

He had been living with Parkin­son’s Dis­ease since be­ing di­ag­nosed in 1999.

Born in Ip­swich, Suf­folk, in 1933, he had been living for many years in Chal­font St Giles but died at Denville Hall, a re­tire­ment home in North­wood, Lon­don.

His fam­ily re­leased a state­ment on Mon­day June 19 con­firm­ing the sad news. The state­ment reads: “It is with great sad­ness that we, his fam­ily, have to an­nounce that Brian Cant has died aged 83 at Denville Hall.

“He lived coura­geously with Parkin­son’s Dis­ease for a long time.

“Brian was best known and well-loved for his chil­dren’s pro­grammes Play School and Play Away and was hon­oured by Bafta in 2010.”

Trained as a printer, in the early 60s Brian de­cided to get into act­ing and at an au­di­tion was asked to sit in a card­board box and row across the floor, which led to his role on Play School.

Brian will also be re­mem­bered for pro­vid­ing the voices on the an­i­mated se­ries Cam­ber­wick Green, Trump­ton and Chigley nar­rat­ing the tales of Windy Miller, Chippy Min­ton and PC McGarry along with the fa­mous roll call of “Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuth­bert, Dib­ble, Grubb.”

He topped a poll of the na­tion’s best-loved voice on chil­dren’s tele­vi­sion in 2007, and also fea­tured in a num­ber of roles on stage and screen.

The world of celebrity mourned his loss, and so­cial me­dia was awash with trib­utes to him.

Pre­sen­ter Zoe Ball wrote: “Dear Brian Cant. Love this pic of him and Tony Robin­son film­ing for #play­away in 70s hero of my child­hood.” Ac­tress, au­thor and busi­ness­woman Floella Ben­jamin, who pre­sented Play School in the 1970s, said: “Brian Cant, a com­edy ge­nius who devoted his life to mak­ing kids laugh & en­ter­tain­ing them with his bril­liance. Loved work­ing with him. RIP x.”

Brian mar­ried writer and di­rec­tor Cherry Britton in 1984 and they had three chil­dren.

Brian Cant as Heinz beanz in Play Away in 1983. Left, Brian with Julie Stephens and Humpty on the set of Play School

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