“Dr. Snuggles” Writer Richard Carpenter Dies At 78

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Richard Carpenter as a 1960s actor.

Richard Carpenter as a 1960s actor.

Richard “Kip” Carpenter, writer of the 1981 Polyscope cartoon series Doctor Snuggles, has died, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported Thursday. He was 78.

Released in syndication, the 13-episode Dutch series centered on Dr. Snuggles, a diminutive, balding man with a prominent middle (the better for cuddling), who hopped around his neighboring woods on a custom-built pogo stick.

The doctor — voiced by Peter Ustinov — always made time for friends like his lab assistant Dennis the Badger, housekeeper Miss Nettles, kindly Grannie Toots and her Cosmic Cat, mischievous Knobby the Mouse and homemade robot Mathilda Junkbottom, but his heart lay in his one true calling: inventing. Working inside his living shed, Rickety Rick, Doctor Snuggles built contraptions like his rocket Dreamy Boom Boom and the Multi-Whereabouts Machine, a handy contraption for finding things.

Carpenter earned international recognition and a Writers Guild award for creating cult children’s TV series Catweazle. He wrote all 26 episodes of the 1970s show, about an “eccentric, disheveled” time-traveling wizard.

The British writer was born in King’s Lynn, Norfolk in 1933. During the 1960s, he acted in such TV shows as Z Cars and Dixon of Dock Green. In the 1980s, he wrote the ITV hit series Robin of Sherwood, initially starring Michael Praed and later Jason Connery.

Author Anthony Horowitz, described Carpenter as a “mentor.” Last year, Horowitz recounted to the Guardian how Carpenter gave him his first TV job.

“I had absolutely no experience, had never written for TV, and really had no inclination to be a television writer. But Richard took me on. I was an apprentice to him really; he was my mentor,” Horowitz said.

“Working with Kip on Robin of Sherwood was the high point of my career, in terms of the fun and sheer energy.”

Later, Carpenter joined producer Paul Knight and Sidney Cole in establishing production company Gatetarn. Together, they created such series as Dick Turpin, and its New Zealand-based sequel, The Adventurer.

The recipient of a Children’s BAFTA in 2000, Carpenter worked on such programs as The Adventures of Black Beauty, The Famous Five and a TV adaptation of The Borrowers. As well, he wrote novelizations of his many TV series, including The Ghosts of Motley Hall and Smuggler.

Plans for a movie adaptation of Catweazle are said to be underway.

Richard Carpenter is survived by his wife Annabelle two children and two grandchildren.

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