1. ITV Report

Bodger and Badger star Andy Cunningham dies aged 67

Andy Cunningham 'lived to be loved and to make people laugh', his sister said. Credit: PA

The entertainer, puppeteer and creator of the hit TV show Bodger and Badger has died at age 67 from cancer, his family have announced.

Andy Cunningham created the popular children's show starring himself as handyman Bodger alongside a talking badger whose insatiable craving for mashed potato led them into many scrapes.

The show ran on the BBC from 1989 to 1999.

His sister Tessa announced his death in a tribute that said he "lived to be loved and to make people laugh".

He had a quicksilver brain, a rebellious attitude, boundless compassion particularly for the underdog, unstinting levels of generosity and, of course, a passion for mashed potato.

I adored him and, long before he found fame, was immensely proud to have the funniest, cleverest big brother in the universe.

– Tessa Cunningham

Fans have been paying tribute on social media, with many saying they would eat mashed potato in his memory.

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Cunningham read read English at Cambridge University before finding fame on children's television.

He gave comedian Julian Clary his first job when he was writing and directing shows for the Covent Garden Community Theatre Group and the pair remained friends.

He also worked as a puppeteer in the Star Wars film Return of the Jedi

Cunningham was in a long-term relationship with Jane Bassett, who played Mousey in Bodger and Badger.

He is survived by his daughter Phoebe Poole, 33.