It was in the early 1980s that Dick added yet another string to his bow by launching into a mini-career as a children’s television presenter.

His first spot was presenting a section about animals on a Sunday morning programme called Rub-a-Dub-Tub. The producer, Anne Wood, who went on to create Teletubbies, was looking for a very specific person:

‘someone who had been a teacher, who wrote books for children and who owned a small photogenic dog. I fitted that bill, along with our wire-haired miniature Dachshund, Dodo. Was I interested? I was!’

Dick and Dodo together made over fifty episodes of the show.

His next TV job also came via Anne Wood. She was making Pob’s Programme and was looking for a human presenter plus dog to star with the puppet, Pob. This time Dick borrowed his brother’s black Labrador, Hattie, to be his canine sidekick.

But it wasn’t all over for Dodo yet. She had another stint in the limelight, alongside her owner of course, in a series called Tumbledown Farm. Once, she was even recognised on a train journey up to Leeds where the filming took place; Dick meanwhile managed to stay incognito. The format of the show was that Dick, Dodo and his screen granddaughter, Georgina, would look at some animals together and he would then read her a story by the fire. Dick did two 13-part series but when that ended, so too did his TV career.

The release of Babe, the 1995 film adaptation of The Sheep-Pig, catapulted Dick to even greater fame. Until he and Myrle walked into a cinema in London for the preview, Dick had seen nothing of Babe as a work in progress. But they were both were thrilled with it:

‘It was plain to us that the adaptation from the book had been wonderfully well done.’

Dick was particularly pleased with the casting of the American actor, James Cromwell, as Farmer Hogget and said that he was ‘the spitting image of the imaginary figure I’d had in my head all those years before.’

 

Awards and Honours

After his two earlier careers, farming and teaching, Dick found huge and enduring success and satisfaction later in life as a children’s author. He wrote around 130 books, which have been translated into many languages and have sold over 15 million copies worldwide.

Read more