Roobarb, Richard Briers and Bob Godfrey

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grange calveley and bob godfrey roobarb and custard days bw photo


February 25th 2013,

Once again this week I have woken to Roobarb press and TV headlines.
Monday, it was news of Richard Briers’ passing and this morning
– I read that Bob has died.

Bob Godfrey was the guy who said, after my two years of hammering at the BBC’s doors with Roobarb stories and drawings, ‘Grange, why don’t we show them some animation?’

On the day I met Bob he took me to a greasy spoon café in Wardour Street – to make plans.

On the way to the café, he stopped and ripped off the flapping sole from one of his shoes and said, “Remind me to buy some glue on the way back to 84.”

The 30-second piece of animation, born in that old caff, became the Roobarb opening title – together with Johnny Hawksworth’s memorable ‘da-de-de-da’ tune that we all know so well.

Johnny died last year, Richard and Bob this week.

This photomontage is from my book Roobarb, An illuminated biogwoofy. It would appear that Bob’s prediction is becoming true – as we all knew it would.



Like so many friends of Richard Briers from around the world, whether they knew him personally or not, the news of his death on Sunday has saddened so many hearts.

My thoughts are for Richard’s wife Annie today as I am reminded about her and Richard’s support for me – after my wife Hanny died in 2011.

When I began ‘cooking for one’ after 42 years of gourmet cosseting, Richard would phone to see how I was getting along.

“How you unravelling the mystery of the kitchen Old Daahhling?” He would ask in a Terry Thomas kind of way; following up with grim details about a meal he once cooked for Annie when he first invited her to dinner a long time ago – Florida spring vegetable soup from a packet.

Richard’s dish made it to Nigel Slater’s A Taste of My Life – while, I must say, several of my dishes have not even passed the Cat-O-Meter test!

I live in a country town in New South Wales so the telephone or notes in the post have been our main communication. I can write emails but Richard was never interested – explaining that the most complicated electrical gadget at his house was the toaster in the kitchen.

While working with Richard in a London recording studio, I was always fascinated by the red pencil marks that he had made on the Roobarb scripts I’d sent to him in the post.

It was apparent that he had spent a great deal of time at home reading through each script, practising character voices and pacing the story before turning up to the studio on Recording Day.

When the recording light went on Richard would begin – as though reading a bedtime story to children. A studio clock would time the read and as it entered the last second – Richard would close the story and leave grown technicians in a wonderland.


I will miss your phone calls Richard.

God bless,


2 Responses

  1. Christian Zante May 8, 2013 / 2:53 pm

    Dear Mr Calveley,

    I work in the BBC’s Literary Copyright department and I am currently trying to establish who we would need to contact in order to clear the use of Roobarb extracts for use in BBC programmes.

    I have been through the various contracting database systems and have come across a few passing references to the rights being held by Bob Godfrey Films Ltd. and then latterly, A+BTV Ltd. but I can find no reference to yourself or details of the current rights holder.

    If you have any information I would be extremely grateful if you could pass them on to me as we would like to make sure that the appropriate permissions are in place for the use of any Roobarb extracts with particular interest in the script element therein.

    I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

    Your sincerely,

    Christian Zante,
    Rights Executive, Literary Copyright
    MC4 C6, BBC Media Centre, 201 Wood Lane, London, W12 7TQ

  2. Rebekah Taylor February 27, 2014 / 2:49 pm


    To introduce myself I work as the Archivist at the University for the Creative Arts, and in charge of the management of the extensive Bob Godfrey Archive (artwork, animation cels, scripts etc), , which is currently being catalogued under the direction of our Archive Cataloguer. This includes some collaboration work that you undertook with Bob Godfrey, including Dirty Rat Tales. It would be great to get in touch with you to talk about the inspiration behind your work, which would really enhance our cataloguing process.

    Look forward to hearing from you
    Best wishes

    Rebekah Taylor
    Library and Student Services

    University for the Creative Arts
    Falkner Road
    GU9 7DS

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