Fingerbobs and Play School host Rick Jones dies at 84 | TV and radio
A tribute to former children’s TV presenter Rick Jones, best known for hosting Play School and The Fingerbobs, who died of cancer. He was 84 years old.
A generation of children grew up with Jones on television, appearing on a variety of BBC children’s programs in the 1970s. His death was announced on Friday.
He started his career as part of the Play School team, a daily program for preschoolers, which made him sing songs and play his guitar.
Then the mime artist “Yoffy” was behind the Fingerbobs. The 10-minute episodes featured paper finger puppet characters, including the Fingermouse and Gulliver the seagull, in various scenarios. There were only 13 episodes of the series, but it’s been repeated regularly for over a decade.
Jones was born in February 1937 in London, Ontario in Canada. He moved to the United States later in his life, where he lived in San Francisco with his wife, Valerie Neal.
Being a passionate musician, he has achieved success as an assistant and songwriter for British rock band Meal Ticket. Using his musical talents, Jones was one of the presenters who introduced We Want to Sing.
He has also written musicals, some of which have been shown in Hollywood. He worked with Roger Penycate on a musical based on the songs and lyrics of the Meal Ticket, titled Laughing Daughter.
The musical ran for three weeks in southern Maryland in September 2009.
Most recently, he has produced music with Neal. An album, Life Drawing, was released in 2009. She revealed that they had finished working on a music project the day before his death.
She said in a series of tweets: “He died at home in my arms and his daughters are next door. My heart aches. We spent more than 40 beautiful years together, and he was a light in the lives of many people.”
In a Twitter post, author and illustrator Gary Fu paid tribute to Jones: “I initially interviewed him for my book many years ago and kept in touch. He was a great creative, talented musician, and lover of life. I will miss him very much.”
Music critic Simon Price said, “We were really good friends online and I’ve always hoped to meet him one day. I felt like he shared us, my generation.”