Creator of British TV characters


Oliver Postgate, 83, creator of the cuddly stuffed cat Bagpuss and other much-loved British children’s television characters, died Monday at a nursing home in Broadstairs, 75 miles east of London.

Surreal and warmhearted, Postgate’s productions were a staple of British children’s television for three decades, beginning in the 1950s. They included musical Welsh locomotive Ivor the Engine; Norse prince Noggin the Nog; and the Clangers, a family of mouse-like pink knitted aliens who communicated in whistles.

His best-loved creation was Bagpuss, a pink “saggy old cloth cat” who appeared in a 1970s series that has topped several polls of Britain’s favorite children’s shows.


Postgate, a cousin of actress Angela Lansbury, was born in London in 1925. During World War II, he declared himself a conscientious objector and was jailed; he later served as a Red Cross stretcher-bearer in Germany. He remained politically active throughout his life and opposed nuclear weapons and the Iraq war.

Postgate attended drama school after the war, then moved into animation with the black-and-white series “Alexander the Mouse.”

In the late 1950s, Postgate established the Smallfilms production company with fellow artist Peter Firmin, devising and writing scripts, creating puppets and artworks, and filming their shows in stop-motion animation. Postgate provided the voices and narration.