Following my Daphne Oxenford post yesterday, I read that another lady to whom all fans of children’s television are indebted, Violet Philpott, has died. She was the hand behind – and indeed, up – that iconic big-mouthed puppet, Zippy from ITV’s Rainbow.
Like Daphne Oxenford, she lived to a ripe old age so there must be something life-affirming and longevity-giving about working in children’s television. I want a bit of that.
And I always had a soft spot for Zippy, too. He was a know-all, yes, and bossy. But he was an enthusiast. He had a ‘can do’ attitude, not least in respect to his own abilities. Not for him the shrinking timidity of that fey pink hippo George nor the bumbling incompetence of Bungle. (I think we’ll leave Geoffrey out of this analysis.) Zippy wasn’t always popular with his so-called friends but then, we’ve all been there haven’t we?
And so to an amusing conversation I had with Charlie yesterday on the way to school.
Charlie: hmmm, I won’t be able to play with Lief today.
Me: why not Charlie? And who is Lief anyway – a new boy? You haven’t mentioned him before.
Charlie: no – LEAF. The leaf that I play with when nobody else will play with me.
Charlie: Yes, he’ll be frozen to the ground today…
Poor leaf! Poor Charlie. Although the above was delivered matter-of-fact-ly and without any trace of self-pity.
But it’s coming to something when your best friend is a leaf.
Still, creative. And imaginative. In fact, I’m quite impressed.
A leaf’ll never let you down.
Well, unless it’s covered by an inch of frozen snow and ice, that is.
Wonder who Charlie did play with yesterday?