Sunday Times

John Cun­liffe: Cre­ator of Post­man Pat, black and white cat 1933-2018


● John Cun­liffe, who has died at the age of 85, cre­ated the chil­dren’s tele­vi­sion favourites Post­man Pat and Rosie and Jim. He made a world of great charm and in­no­cence in which every­body looks out for every­body else, fam­i­lies are al­ways happy, crime is un­known, ev­ery­one is po­lite, and the sun al­ways shines.

Post­man Pat and his black and white cat, Jess, first hit tele­vi­sion screens in 1981 and proved an in­stant hit with young chil­dren and their par­ents. The ap­peal, Cun­liffe sug­gested in 2009, lay in the fact that “the post­man to a child is some­one who brings birthday cards and birthday presents — they are not aware that he also brings tax re­turns and bills”.

A sec­ond se­ries was pro­duced in the 1990s and in the mean­time Post­man Pat had be­come in­ter­na­tional big busi­ness, with mer­chan­dis­ing and tie-in books over which Cun­liffe had lit­tle or no con­trol. He had signed away his rights and got noth­ing for re­peats and only a small per­cent­age of the in­come from comics and other spin-offs.

He ap­plied him­self to a new project over which he would have more con­trol: the story of two rag dolls called Rosie and Jim who live on a nar­row-boat in Birm­ing­ham. It first aired on ITV in 1990 and ran for eight sea­sons.

Cun­liffe is sur­vived by his wife, Sylvia, and a son.

 ?? Pic­ture: Supplied ?? John Cun­liffe
Pic­ture: Supplied John Cun­liffe

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