Tony Hart

Tony Hart

Infobox Person
name= Anthony Hart

caption= Television artist Tony Hart
birth_date= birth date and age|df=yes|1925|10|15
birth_place= Maidstone, Kent, England
occupation= Artist

Anthony "Tony" Hart (born 15 OctoberFact|date=October 2008 1925 in Maidstone, Kent)cite news|url=|title=Tony Hart reveals his drawing secrets|publisher=The Times|date=2008-09-30] is an English artist and a former television presenter.

Early life

Hart was born in Maidstone, Kent, and was interested in drawing from an early age. He attended All Saints Resident Choir School and then Clayesmore School in Dorset,cite web|url=|title=All you ever wanted to know about Tony Hart|publisher=Tony Hart official website|accessdate=2008-10-01] where art was his best subject.

He left school in 1944, wanting to join the Royal Air Force but would have been unable to fly because of slightly deficient eyesight. Instead, he signed up with the Indian Army and served as an officer in the 1st Gurkha rifles. After the war, he was told that low-ranked British officers would be replaced by Indians when India became independent and decided to leave the army.

After being demobilised, Hart decided to become a professional artist and studied art at Maidstone College of Art, which later became Kent Institute of Art & Design (and is now the Maidstone campus of the University for the Creative Arts). He graduated in 1950 and, after working as a display artist in a London store, became a freelance.

Television career

Hart's break into television work came in 1952, after his brother persuaded him to attend a party where he met a BBC children's TV producer. After an interview, in which Hart drew a fish on a napkin while the producer was looking for paper, Hart became resident artist on the "Saturday Special" programme. Subsequent TV shows included "Playbox" (195459), "Titch and Quackers", "Vision On" (196477), "Take Hart" (197884), "Hart Beat" (198594) and "Smart Hart" (19992000).cite web| url=| title=Television career at a glance| publisher=Tony Hart official website| accessdate=2008-10-01] From the 1970s, he often appeared alongside the animated Plasticine stop-motion character Morph.

As well as demonstrating small-scale projects (the type that viewers might be able to do), Hart also created large-scale artworks on the TV studio floor, and even used beaches and other open spaces as 'canvases' (to be viewed from a camera-crane).

A regular feature of Hart's TV shows was 'The Gallery', which displayed artworks sent in by young viewers. One of the pieces of easy-listening vibraphone music accompanying this feature — "Leftbank 2", composed by Wayne Hill and performed by the Lance Gambit Trio [; contains link to an online copy of the music] — has passed into British TV theme lore.

Hart also created the original design for the "Blue Peter" badge. He originally asked for his fee to be paid as a royalty of 1d (one pre-decimalisation penny) for each badge made, but was offered a flat fee of £100cite web| url=| title=All you ever wanted to know about Tony Hart (page 2)| publisher=Tony Hart official website|accessdate=2008-10-01] (equivalent to around £1,600 at 2006 rates). The badges are famous throughout the UK and have been coveted by three successive generations of "Blue Peter" viewers.

Hart has received two BAFTA awards. His first came in 1978, and he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. He retired from regular TV work in 2001, but still makes occasional guest appearances on other shows. He also makes personal appearances at events.

After retirement

On 28 December 2006, it was announced during "It Started with Swap Shop" that he was in poor health, though this was not elaborated upon until an interview with "The Times" published on 30 September 2008, revealing that two strokes have robbed him of the use of his hands and left him unable to draw. He described this as "the greatest cross I have to bear".


External links

* [ Official site]
* [ Interview with Tony Hart]
* [,3604,1590173,00.html Tony Hart article about Morph]
* [ Left Bank 2 (Theme for The Gallery) ]

NAME= Hart, Tony
DATE OF BIRTH= 1925-10-15
PLACE OF BIRTH= Maidstone, Kent, England

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