I don't use that title lightly. There are few people to which I would label as having a lasting effect on my own life but there is an agreement of millions of other people who were little children in 70s Britain so I feel it is only appropriate.
Oliver Postgate died.
And I realised what that meant to me personally, when I heard it on the radio this morning and was actually really upset at the thought. His voice is the one that soothed me throughout childhood; his tales of Noggin the Nog, The Clangers, Ivor The Engine and of course my own favourite Bagpuss. Because of him for years I thought that people in Wales rode in wonderful green trains that went tsshhtt-ko, tsshhtt-ko as they trundled along and there were singing dragons living in the mountain tops. The stories he told were, and there is no other word for it, gentle, proper stories. Not the frantic dash and splash of the short-attention span kids tv now. This was tv to calm you down, ready for dinner and then bed. Like a comforting blanket on a cold day. Even now I hear the opening chords of Bagpuss and it is complete contentment.
I introduced his programmes to the Hobbits a few years ago and they laughed at the Soup Dragon dancing on The Clangers which turned out to be their favourite. Noggin was, and is, perhaps a little too dark of a saga for some but perfect for that even if Nogbad was a bit scary.
Perhaps Mr. Postgate will forever be in that top left-hand corner of Wales.
Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss,
Old fat furry cat-puss,
Wake up, and look at this thing that I bring,
Wake up, be bright, be golden and light,
Bagpuss, oh hear what I sing.