Sadly yesterday announced the death of writer and presenter John Cunliffe. His legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of much of the nation through his most famous and popular character Postman Pat. He died where he had created those endearing characters of Greendale, in Ilkley in Yorkshire.
Many will have read the fitting tribute in the Ilkely Gazette but for those who haven’t I include it here:
“John Cunliffe left his Ilkley home in a deluge of rain on 20 September, never to return.
“Even the skies wept for John, the gifted creator of Postman Pat, Rosie and Jim, and author of many earlier published collections of poetry and picture story books for children.
“John’s last poetry collection, significantly entitled “Dare You Go”, has now come to fruition for John [who] has dared to go and has gone.”
Many tributes have been sent out via social media and I have been notified by many people who share in the sadness. John’s creations were a one off and have delighted children for over 30 years and still do to this day with the many incarnations of Postman Pat. His collaboration with Ivor in the early 80s would spark a career in children’s television where he went onto both write and star in Rosie & Jim, a 90s children’s classic.
John’s descriptive writing style enabled Ivor to work with him on a level and depth that he had not previously done. There were probably double the amount of characters involved in Postman Pat, each with their own house and intricate personalities. John and Ivor clearly relished and thrived off of each others creativity which can be seen in the show they created. In the early days of Postman Pat Ivor went up to Kendall to visit John and they spent some days travelling around the neighbouring villages getting inspiration for what would become their career highlights.
Ivor was driven by this project, especially as it meant starting up with his own studio Woodland Animations along with his wife Josiane, famously re-mortgaging their house to start the production. There has to be credit to John here as Ivor’s determination and confidence in the project must have been down to his confidence and trust for John and his imaginative writing.
Not so long ago we took a look at the character descriptions of all the Postman Pat characters written by John Cunliffe. If you haven’t already or fancy another read then follow the links below and re-acquaint yourself with some of the most endearing and loveable characters ever created for children’s television.
John Cunliffe died on 20 September but the world he created in Postman Pat will live on forever. Thanks for a creating my favourite childhood programme.