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  1. ITV Report

Play School presenter Brian Cant dies aged 83

Former Play School host Brian Cant Credit: BBC

Presenter and actor Brian Cant has died at the age of 83.

The former Play School host had been living with Parkinson's Disease, his agent said.

Cant died at Denville Hall, a retirement home often used by those in the entertainment industry.

A statement from the family said: "It is with great sadness that we, his family, have to announce that Brian Cant has died aged 83 at Denville Hall.

"He lived courageously with Parkinson's Disease for a long time.

"Brian was best known and well-loved for his children's programmes Play School and Play Away and was honoured by Bafta in 2010.

"Donations would be most appreciated to Denville Hall and the Actors' Benevolent Fund."

Born in Ipswich in 1933, Cant was making schools' programmes in 1964 when he was hired as a Play School presenter, which proved to be his big break.

He remained with the children's favourite for more than 20 years and was part of the Play Away team, the Play School spin-off aimed at an older audience.

Cant's voice is also familiar to viewers of the animated series Trumpton, Camberwick Green and Chigley as he narrated the tales of Windy Miller, Chippy Minton and Pc McGarry.

He famously voiced the Trumpton Fire Brigade roll call of "Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb."

Other shows have included Bric-A-Brac and later Milkshake.

In 2007 Cant topped a poll of presenters with the best-loved voices in children's TV.

He also clocked up roles in adult programmes such as Doctor Who and Casualty.

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He appeared in Doctors in 2011.

The actor also appeared on stage in theatre productions such as The Railway Children and The Canterbury Tales as well as pantomimes.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1999.

Cant once said in an interview that he was surprised so many fans remembered him as a legend in children's television.

"It's obviously very kind and very rewarding to have that effect but I can't believe it was that important to everyone," he said.

Cant married writer and director Cherry Britton in 1984 and they had three children.

Cant's fellow Play School presenter Derek Griffiths was among those to pay tribute.

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