Actor and Children's presenter Brian Cant
has died at the age of 83.
Brian Cant appeared in two Doctor Who stories. In 1965 he played Kert Gantry, a Space Security Agent, in the first episode of The Dalek's Master Plan
. He returned to the series in 1968 playing Chairman Tensa in two episodes of The Dominators
However for most people in the United Kingdom Brian Cant will be lovingly remembered for his work on children's television.
He was working for a BBC Schools drama on The Romans in 1964 when he heard that the BBC was holding auditions for presenters on a new programme aimed at pre-school kids, Play School
, due to launch on the new station BBC Two. His audition involved getting into a cardboard box and pretending to row out to sea. He joined the in its third week and stayed for twenty-one years.
His work on Play School led him to be selected as the voice on three Gordon Murray puppet series: Camberwick Green
in 1966, Trumpton
in 1967, and Chigley
In 1971 the BBC launched a spin-off from Play School, Play Away
, aimed at older children, featuring songs and jokes and airing on Saturday afternoons, with Cant as the main presenter alongside actors such as Toni Arthur, Derek Griffiths, Floella Benjamin, Johnny Ball, Carol Chell, Jeremy Irons, and Tony Robinson.
In 2007 Cant topped a poll of presenters with the best-loved voices in children’s TV.
The actor had been living with Parkinson’s disease in recent years and died at Denville Hall, a retirement home often used by those in the entertainment industry.
A family statement said:
It is with great sadness that we, his family, have to announce that Brian Cant has died aged 83 at Denville Hall. He lived courageously with Parkinson’s disease for a long time. Brian was best known and well loved for his children’s programmes Play School and Play Away and was honoured by Bafta in 2010. Donations would be most appreciated to Denville Hall and the Actors’ Benevolent Fund.
Cant's Play School co-presenter Derek Griffiths
paid tribute on Twitter
, posting a reunion picture of the team. And former Blackadder star Sir Tony Robinson also tweeted
: "Brian Cant was my mentor and friend on Play Away. We wrote and performed together for two years. Always patient, courteous and funny P-L-A-Y R-I-P."
Brian Cant was married twice, and had five children, three by his second marriage to Cherry Britton.