John Cunliffe, Postman Pat author, dies at age 85

Postman Pat and his black and white cat first aired September 16, 1981.

Postman Pat and his black and white cat first aired September 16, 1981. Photo: Woodland Animations

John Cunliffe, who created popular children’s TV show Postman Pat, has died.

Cunliffe died on September 20 in Ilkley in Northern England but his death notice was published in the Ilkley Gazette on Friday.

The author started writing Postman Pat while teaching in Kendal in the 1970s, according to the death notice. The town where the series is set, Greendale, is based on Cumbria’s Longsleddale.

The first episode of the TV series, Postman Pat’s Finding Day, was broadcast on September 16, 1981 and it has since appeared in more than 50 countries.

A new series aired in 2016.

After finding huge success with the Postman Pat series, Cunliffe went on to write, and star in, Rosie and Jim. He also recently released a children’s story.

Ilkley Literature Festival director Rachel Feldberg paid tribute to Cunliffe on Facebook, recognising his contribution to the festival.

“We were honoured to have John as patron of our Children’s Festival and I have wonderful memories of events he did with us,” he said.

Postman Pat

Postman Pat has been a “hugely popular” children’s show for decades. Photo: Woodland Animations

“His work, particularly Postman Pat, was iconic for everyone who grew up reading, watching and loving those characters and will continue to delight children for generations to come.”

The Director of BBC Children, Alice Webb, said Postman Pat had been a hugely popular character on the broadcaster for nearly 40 years thanks to the “genuine charm and warmth John imbued in the characters that populate Greendale”.

“I count myself lucky to be one of millions of children whose childhoods were enriched by John’s creations,” she said.

Many have also paid tribute to Cunliffe on social media, including other authors who thanked the star for his work.


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