Rick Jones (television presenter)
Frederick Joseph Jones (7 February 1937 – 7 October 2021) was a Canadian-born television presenter and folk musician, best known for his work in BBC children's television programmes Play School (1964–1973) and Fingerbobs in 1972.
Frederick Joseph Jones
7 February 1937
London, Ontario, Canada
|Died||October 7, 2021(aged 84)|
Life and careerEdit
Jones was born on 7 February 1937, in London, Ontario, Canada. His father was Frederick Jones, who served in the Canadian Army, and his wife Agnes (née Hanson), who had both emigrated from Britain. He had an older sister, Shirlie, who died in 2020 from COVID-19. Their cousin Bud, whose parents had died, was also raised in the family.
He moved to the UK at the age of 18 to study at the Webber Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art. He began his television career as one of the original co-presenters of Play School, a daily programme for pre-school-age children, in which he played guitar and sang. While Jones was appearing in Spoon River at the Royal Court Theatre in 1964, the programme's producer Joy Whitby invited him to join the cast. In 1972, he became the host of Fingerbobs, another show for younger children, in which he created characters from finger puppets made of paper. He also wrote and performed the English theme for the French TV series The Aeronauts.
He was one of several entertainers who took turns to present We Want To Sing, a musical variety series made by BBC Manchester, in which a young live audience was invited to sing along with songs performed by the host and various guests such as The New Seekers, The Settlers, and cabaret trio The New Faces. Other BBC TV programmes in which he appeared included Watch and Play Away.
Many years later he revealed the scale of marijuana use at the show Play School after Johnny Ball, a former presenter, alleged that Jones and Lionel Morton, another presenter, were "stoned out of their minds" before filming a nativity scene during the 1970s. Speaking in 2012, Jones told The Sun that the BBC was "really liberal" at the time, explaining "Once you were in all laws were forgotten. I had a wonderful time... Marijuana was like cornflakes." Having been fired by the BBC, after a fan sent him two cannabis spliffs at the corporation's address, Jones subsequently had success as a musician (keyboards/vocals) fronting the British country rock band Meal Ticket. Songs featuring him included "Snow", "Last Port of Call", and "Laughing Daughter". The song "Better Believe it Babe" featured as the theme for the BBC television Play for Today episode The Flipside of Dominick Hide (1980) and its sequel Another Flip for Dominick (1982). After Meal Ticket broke up, Jones wrote and appeared in the musical Flash Fearless vs. The Zorg Women in Los Angeles. In 2001, he reunited with Meal Ticket for a one-off gig at a London pub.
Jones latterly lived in San Francisco, United States, with his wife, Valerie. In collaboration with Roger Penycate, he wrote a stage musical based on the songs and lyrics of Meal Ticket (originally written by Rick Jones and Dave Pierce) entitled Laughing Daughter. It had a three-week run at the Indian Head Center for the Arts, Southern Maryland, United States, from 3 September 2009.
Illness and deathEdit
- "Rick Jones obituary". The Times. 11 October 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
- Hayward, Anthony (12 October 2021). "Rick Jones obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
- Jerome, Fiona; Dickson, Seth (28 March 2006). Classic TV: The Friends, The Foes, The Fighters of Crime, The Good, The Glam, and The Famous Last Line. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. pp. 15–. ISBN 978-1-4027-3672-8. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
- Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series: Music. Part 5. Library of Congress, Copyright Office. 1972. p. 1325.
- "Search Results - BBC Genome". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk.
- "Play for Today: The Flipside of Dominick Hide". 9 December 1980. p. 58 – via BBC Genome.
- "Rick Jones Biography, Songs, & Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
- Taylor, Harry (9 October 2021). "Fingerbobs and Play School presenter Rick Jones dies aged 84". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 October 2021.