Monday, 19 June 2017

RIP Brian Cant

Really saddened to hear of the death of Brian Cant today. The veteran children's TV presenter was 83 and had been suffering from Parkinson's for some time and was residing at Denville Hall, a retirement home for former entertainers.

Cant's gentle, reassuring and kindly tones helped provide the soundtrack to my childhood. He was the voice of Trumpton, Camberwick Green and Chigley, but he will perhaps be best known for his twenty-one year long association with the BBC's flagship children's programme Play School, which he started presenting in 1964, and for its sister show Play Away, which he hosted from 1971 to 1984.

Originally, Cant's career was that of an actor; he appeared in two Doctor Who stories in the 1960s, The Dalek Master Plan (1965, see picture below) and The Dominators (1968) opposite William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton respectively, as well as film roles in 1965's The Pleasure Girls and 1966's The Sandwich Man, but it was children's TV that became his staple. 

After Play School and Play Away, Cant presented Bric-a-Brac from 1980 to 1982 and played Brian the Farmer alongside a host of puppets in Dappledown Farm from 1990 to 2003, before returning to acting in later years with roles in the BBC afternoon drama Doctors and the 1995 film A Feast At Midnight, alongside Christopher Lee. In the late '90s, Cant's natural mischief allowed him to lightly send up his association with children's programmes when he lent his voice to The Organ Gang, a cartoon segment during Lee and Herring's This Morning With Richard Not Judy. Enjoying this new cultish recognition from a generation of twentysomethings that he had previously entertained, Cant went on to star in the music video for the Orbital track The Altogether

He was honoured with a special Children's BAFTA in 2010 recognising his outstanding services to children's TV and the happiness he brought to the generations of boys and girls who grew up in the UK from the '60s onwards.



  1. Lovely tribute - absolutely with you on everything you say here, his presence was a major part of my childhood and his face, voice and name all conjure up the fondest and happiest of memories.

    1. Thank you! It's nice to see the many glowing tributes, shows he was not forgotten