Peter Firmin - the co-creator of classic children's TV programmes The Clangers, Bagpuss and Basil Brush - has died aged 89.
The artist and puppet maker, who delighted generations of children with his creations, died at his Kent home following a short illness.
His spokesman said: "During a career spanning over six decades, Peter worked with great skill in a remarkably wide variety of creative disciplines as a fine artist, craftsman and author.
"Of all his work, he will probably be most fondly remembered for the characters he co-created and made."
Firmin created characters Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine, The Clangers, Pogles' Wood and Bagpuss with fellow animator, puppeteer and writer Oliver Postgate.
Together the two ran production company Smallfilms for over 20 years.
Firmin also created mischievous fox glove puppet Basil Brush - famous for his "Boom Boom" catchphrase - along with voice artist Ivan Owen.
Firmin once revealed that Bagpuss - "an old, saggy cloth cat, who was lose at the seams" - was meant to be marmalade-coloured, but due to a fur-dying error, became the pink cat we all know and love.
Firmin's own young daughter, Emily, played the little girl in Bagpuss's sepia opening sequence alongside Gabriel the toad, rag doll Madeleine, Professor Yaffle the woodpecker and "mouse organ" mice.
Despite the fact that only 13 episodes were ever made, fans were quick to reminisce over their favourite episodes including one where a ballet shoe is used as a rowing boat and another where the mice make chocolate biscuits out of butterbeans and breadcrumbs.
In 1999, Bagpuss was voted the most popular BBC children's programme ever made.
In 2015, a new version of The Clangers, voiced by Monty Python actor Michael Palin, was produced by CBeebies, winning a BAFTA the same year.
Highlighting the "marvellous and diverse worlds" which Firmin "devised, created, painted, drew and built", his spokesman said it was thanks to "such magical and enduring appeal that they remain hugely popular to this day".
Born in Harwich, Essex, Firmin first trained at the Colchester School of Art before moving on to the Central School of Art and Design following his national service.
In 2011 he was awarded freedom of Canterbury for his "outstanding work", and in 2014 he received a BAFTA lifetime achievement award for his contribution to children's television.
I think my favourite episode was the one turning butter beans into chocolate biscuits - don't know how many times I must have seen that.— kelvin pinnock (@kelvin5385) July 1, 2018
Former Play School presenter Baroness Floella Benjamin paid tribute to him on Twitter, writing: "I have such fond memories of working with #PeterFirmin all he wanted to do was to create magic to stimulate kids minds through his creative vision #Legacy #RIP."
Writer and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth wrote: "Peter Firmin was a creative genius who helped bring to life some of the most amusing & amazing childhood characters of my generation. RIP."
The official home of the Clangers on Twitter left a simple tribute which said "In loving memory of Peter Firmin" alongside an image of the artist in his studio with some of his creations.
Fans were also quick to pay their respects. Roy wrote: "Those of us who are a 'certain' age will remember the work of this great man and his characters who filled our childhood with so many joyous memories. Thank you Peter."
Diana wrote: "Like most 70s kids, grew up watching Ivor the Engine, The Clangers and my favourite Bagpuss. Not just Emily who loved him. What a legacy from #peterfirmin."
Brian wrote: "Few people will ever bring so much happiness to so many...and I'm sure will continue to do so. Thank you Peter".
Oh no! Bagpuss was my childhood. My daughter is an Emily and was given a Bagpuss at birth. How much joy he brought to children everywhere ❤️— GirlInPinkTrainers (@Cated73) July 1, 2018
Girl In Pink Trainers wrote: "Oh no! Bagpuss was my childhood. My daughter is an Emily and was given a Bagpuss at birth. How much joy he brought to children everywhere."
Firmin is survived by his wife Joan, their six daughters, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Should you block ads? Adblocker