Bye, Bye, Bri


We haven’t quite reached losses to the same extent as in 2016, but there have been a few television personalities from my childhood who have passed on recently. Not content with taking original Batman Adam West and Blue Peter legend John Noakes from us recently, I was saddened to hear the news of Brian Cant’s passing this week.

Cant will be best remembered as the voice of animated 60s & 70s childrens’ shows Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley, and were it not for him we would probably never had two classic songs, both of which reference said shows.

So, to quote: ‘Here is a box, a musical box, wound up and ready to play. But this box can hide a secret inside. Can you guess what is in it today?’

That’s right, kiddies, a couple of songs by Half Man Half Biscuit:


Half Man Half Biscuit – The Trumpton Riots


Half Man Half Biscuit – Time Flies By (When You’re The Driver of a Train)

Cant was also a stalwart of Play School and, for the slightly older kids, Play Away. Looking back now, Play Away featured a whole host of presenters who went on to bigger and, some might say, better things: Julie Covington, Tony Robinson, Anita Dobson, Jeremy Irons. But it’s Cant that I always remember from those shows.


Morten & Cohen – Play Away Theme

And yes, I really did already own that.

Cant himself managed to have himself a bona fide hit in the UK, kind of, when a sample of his voice was used on this Lemon Jelly tune:


Lemon Jelly – Nice Weather for Ducks

Not exactly topical, given the heatwave we’re having at the moment, and I do hope I haven’t jinxed the weather for those travelling to Glastonbury this weekend…

Me? Jealous?? Noooo……

More soon.

Footnote: Alex G informs me that isn’t Brian Cant at all on the Lemon Jelly tune, I’ve checked and he’s quite right. It’s Enn Reitel. My apologies. That’ll teach me to write these on the hoof posts without researching them first. Still, nice to hear it again…. 

Footnote Part Two: Also by way of the Comments, C of Sun Dried Sparrows fame asked if I’d seen “that short clip of him [Cant, not Reitel] for Orbital’s The Altogether”? I hadn’t but have now:

And now you have too.

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7 thoughts on “Bye, Bye, Bri”

  1. That’s not a Brian Cant sample on “Nice Weather For Ducks”. That’s Enn Reitel, a man who I know of mainly for, well… that record, and also for two small but utterly showstealing roles in different episodes of “One Foot In The Grave”. I think he, along with Jim Broadbent, was one of the people who was nearly cast as Del Boy as well.

  2. I think Lucky Jim may have been early 80s, but my memory also recalls Enn Reitel being in it. His is a name that has popped up on the credits of numerous things I’ve seen over the years. He was certainly did a number of voices in Spitting Image.

  3. Brian was a massive part of my childhood – everything about his face and his voice (much like Oliver Postgate, something so comforting and familiar in just those dulcit tones) brings back the fondest memories. ‘Play Away’ used to seem quite edgy at the time too – well it did to me at 8 or 9 years old and was the perfect progression from the more gentle ‘Play School’.
    I once saw Brian climbing over a sandbank in Dorset when I was about 11 and on holiday, he was with kids and a dog if I remember correctly, looking just as kind, warm and funny as he did on screen – I’d like to think he was.
    HMHB the perfect song choice too.
    Have you seen that short clip of him for Orbital’s The Altogether doing the rounds?

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