Flatpack Festival
Film, and then some

Oliver Postgate, r.i.p.

Ian Francis
Tuesday 9th December, 2008 Posted by Ian Francis

Oliver Postgate died yesterday, aged 83, leaving behind an amazing body of work and a hell of a life. There are plenty of old kids TV programme which we nostalge over but which bore us rigid after 10 minutes on dvd. Thanks to the artistry and story-telling and fun that went into them, Clangers and Bagpuss and Ivor will always be a class apart. We look forward to foisting them on future generations for many years to come, and the marvels which he and Peter Firmin achieved in a converted pig-sty should be compulsory viewing for any filmmaker bemoaning their lack of funding.

Less familiar and equally of note (in a more grown-up, messy way) was Postgate's own story; his crackpot inventions, his conscientious objection during the war, his tumultuous family life, and an abiding sense of inadequacy which he used as a motor for his work and talked about with candour on Desert Island Discs last year. It's a bugger to track down, but do read his memoirs Seeing Things if you get a chance. Here's a brief snippet, from a revelation that visited him during a hospital stay in 1978:

"What hit me then was a realisation that this joy in life that drives through all things is the life that drives all things. I felt the huge engine, the driving, rolling river of life and death, of happiness and sadness, a river of which my dark fumbling life was only a tiny part, a leaf on the rapids, yet, in my realisation of it, I was part of the river itself, both a part of it and it a part of me."
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