Fingerbobs and Play School presenter Rick Jones has died aged 84 | TV & radio


Tributes were paid to former children’s television presenter Rick Jones, best known for hosting Play School and Fingerbobs, who died of cancer. He was 84 years old.

A generation of children grew up with Jones on television, as he appeared on various BBC children’s shows in the 1970s. His death was announced on Friday.

He began his career with the Play School team, a daily program for preschoolers in which he sang songs and played guitar.

He was then the mime “Yoffy” behind Fingerbobs. The 10-minute episodes featured paper finger puppet characters, including Fingermouse and Gulliver the Seagull, in different storylines. There were only 13 episodes in the series, but they were repeated regularly for over a decade.

Jones was born in February 1937 in London, Ontario, Canada. He moved to the United States later in his life, living in San Francisco with his wife, Valerie Neale.

An avid musician, he has been successful as a frontman and songwriter for British country rock band Meal Ticket. Using his musical talents, Jones was one of the presenters who presented We Want to Sing.

He also wrote musicals, some of which took place in Hollywood. He worked with Roger Penycate on a musical based on the songs and lyrics of Meal Ticket, titled Laughing Daughter.

The musical ran for three weeks in southern Maryland in September 2009.

Lately he had produced music with Neale. An album, Life Drawing, was released in 2009. She revealed that they had finished working on a musical project the day before her death.

In a series of tweets, she said: “He died at my house in my arms with his daughters nearby. My heart is breaking. We had over 40 beautiful years together, and he was a light in the lives of so many people.

In a Twitter post, author and illustrator Garry Vaux paid tribute to Jones: “I first interviewed him for my book many years ago and we’ve kept in touch. He was a great creative mind, a talented musician and a lover of life. I will miss him very much.

Music critic Simon Price said: “We were good friends on the Internet and I always hoped to meet him in person someday. I felt like he was co-parenting with us, my generation.

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