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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