by Lorna Cooper, TV Editor

Tony Hart Dies

Legendary children's TV presenter Tony Hart has died.
TV star Tony Hart (Image © BBC)
Artist and legendary children's presenter Tony Hart has died at the age of 83. He had suffered from health problems for a number of years. 
Born in Maidstone, Kent, he was interested in drawing from an early age. His television break came in 1952 when he met a BBC children's TV producer. It led to him becoming resident artist on the Saturday Special programme.
Subsequent TV shows followed and included Playbox (1954–59), Titch and Quackers, Vision On (1964–77) Take Hart (1978–84), Hartbeat (1985–94) and Smart Hart (1999–2000). During the 1970s, he was often associated with animated plasticine stop-motion character Morph.
Plasticine character Morph (Image © Aardman)
A regular feature of Tony Hart's TV shows was 'The Gallery' - first introduced in the show Vision On. It showcased art sent in by young viewers accompanied by easy-listening instrumental Leftbank 2, composed by Wayne Hill and performed by the Lance Gambit Trio. Synonymous with 'The Gallery', it has passed into British TV theme lore.
Tony Hart's contribution to children's TV cannot be overstated; he created the original design for the Blue Peter badge and had he been paid royalties rather than a flat fee, he would've made an absolute fortune from it. Tony Hart received two Bafta awards; his first came in 1978 and his second was a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. He retired from regular TV work in 2001.
In an interview published in 2008, he revealed that not being able to draw after suffering two strokes was: "the greatest cross I have to bear." Widower Tony met his wife Jean, with whom he adopted a daughter, while working in TV. It was his family who made the announcement that he had died peacefully.  

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