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Did Bagpuss have The Right Ethos?

Children’s television programme maker Oliver Postgate died aged 83 in December. He was behind the classic children’s TV programmes Bagpuss, The Clangers, Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine, Pogles and Pingwings.

He made the bulk of the shows while living at Wave Crest in Whitstable – about half a mile from where I’m writing this article in the offices of The Right Ethos.

Oliver Postgate had The Right Ethos. His family had a strong socialist history. His grandfather on his mother’s side was George Lansbury, Labour party leader from 1932 to 1935, one of his aunts Margaret Cole of the formidable Fabian partnership of GDH Cole and Margaret Cole.

The young Oliver registered as a conscientious objector when he reached call-up age during the second world war, and spent some months in prison.

Postgate subsequently worked for the Red Cross in occupied Germany. Back home, he went into partnership with Peter Firmin, forming the production company Smallfilms which produced the children’s TV classics.

Postgate was later to be active in the campaign against nuclear weapons, addressing public meetings and writing pamphlets.

But did Bagpuss have The Right Ethos? It’s inconclusive. Postgate, of a left-wing persuasion, described Bagpuss as a Miaow-ist