Brian Cant, children's presenter dies at 83


Brian Cant

Image caption

Cant was a famous face in the 1970s and 1980s

Children’s presenter Brian Cant has died at the age of 83.

His agent said the former Play School and Play Away host had been living with Parkinson’s disease. He died at Denville Hall, a retirement home often used by those in the entertainment industry.

A statement from the family said: “He lived courageously with Parkinson’s disease for a long time.”

Cant also guest presented Jackanory and appeared on Dappledown Farm.

He got his big break when he auditioned for Play School, when part of the audition required him to climb into a cardboard box.

His voice was known to millions in shows such as Trumpton, his most famous line being the fire brigade call-out: “Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grub.”

Image caption

Brian Cant with Humpty and Chloe Ashcroft with Jemima. two of the Play School presenters

Brian Cant: A much loved part of childhood – by David Silitto, Arts correspondent

For millions his voice immediately evokes childhood.

In the early ’60s – an audition in which he was asked to sit in a cardboard box led to a job on a new programme called Play School.

Born in Ipswich, he trained as a printer before having a go at acting.

The warm, friendly voice was perfect for another children’s venture – Trumpton, Camberwick Green – and the slightly more industrial Chigley.

If it sounds as though it was recorded in a cupboard, it’s because it was.

Along with PlayAway, Bric a Brac and other programmes he was part of children’s TV for more than 20 years.

He wrote and appeared on stage, but more than anything he was – for many – a much loved part of childhood.


Cant was honoured with a special Children’s Bafta award in 2010.

In a BBC interview, he explained that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1999.

He said the one thing he wanted children to take away from his work was “that I made them laugh, I made them feel happy”.


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