Sunday, March 12, 2023

Bill Tidy 1933-2023

From Down the tubes.

Legendary cartoonist William Edward “Bill” Tidy, MBE has died at the age of 89. 

As well as the scores of iconic cartoons he drew for PUNCH, he collaborated to Private Eye, the Daily Mirror and New Scientist.

Born in Tranmere, Cheshire on 9th October 1933, his family moved to Liverpool, where he worked in a shipping office after leaving school.

He later joined the Royal Engineers, and was stationed in Germany, Korea and Japan.

Bill, who lived in Leicestershire, sold his first cartoon to Mainichi, a Japanese, English-speaking newspaper in 1955, while serving in the Royal Engineers. 

He soon began freelancing, producing cartoons for publications such as the Daily Mirror

When plans to emigrate to Canada fell through in 1957, he embarked on his career as a professional cartoonist.

In 1966, he was a founder member of the British Cartoonists’ Association, sister organisation to the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, and was voted Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain’s Humorous Cartoonist of the Year.

His many cartoon strips included “The Cloggies”, which ran from 1967 to 1981 in the fortnightly satirical magazine Private Eye, and in The Listener from 1985 to 1986; and “The Fosdyke Saga” published daily in the Daily Mirror between 1971 to 1984. 

The strip was a parody of The Forsyte Saga, the novel by John Galsworthy, set in the industrial north instead of a genteel upper-class environment. 

The strip was adapted into a radio series in 42 parts by the BBC from 1983, with additional scripting by John Junkin, and as a stage play, with Tidy working in co-operation with playwright Alan Plater.

Many a budding scientist would also, at one time, been familiar with his strip “Grimbledon Down”, set in a fictitious UK government research laboratory, satirising the secret Porton Down chemical and biological warfare establishment. 

The strip ran in New Scientist between March 1970, at a time when the Cold War, spy scandals, and the Ministry of Defence’s establishments at Porton Down represented all that was good and bad in British chemical and biological research, ending in March 1994.

During his career, Bill’s cartoons appeared in a huge variety of publications, including Oldie, Mail on Sunday, Yorkshire Post, and many others. 

“Sorry Kid, you just don’t have the killer instinct.”, Punch, May 5, 1959.

He also contributed a large number of cartoons to Punch, including covers, before his departure in 1989.

He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1975 and was a frequent celebrity guest in “Dictionary Corner” on the long-running Channel 4 gameshow, Countdown during the 1980s and early 1990s.

He received Granada TV’s “Cartoonist of the Year” award in 1974 and the Society of Illustrators award in 1980. He was awarded an MBE in 2000 for services to journalism.

He loved what he did, with vigour, and obvious enthusiasm.

“I still take childish delight in what I do,” he wrote on his own official web site, recounting the many ups and downs of his incredible career. 

“I will never stop drawing and I still can not stop myself from doing crazy things like illustrating horseboxes, ceramic pots and vases. 

And I am still working undertaking commissions for bespoke cartoons and the odd Private Eye gag. 

My characters range from Tripe magnates to the ferocious Folk Dancing Cloggies to Keg Buster who has been the champion of Real Ale for over 40 years.

“Think of it, Beer, Sport, Food and Family! What more do I need?”

Bill married his wife Rosa in 1960, and they had two children, Sylvia and Robert. 

Sadly, Rosa died in 2019, shortly after he had a stroke.

Read also:

England’s Greatest Comic Strip Artist – Bill Tidy

No comments:

Post a Comment