Throughout my childhood a small fox was a regular presence on television. Basil Brush was an endearing character aimed at impressing the children of 60s and 70s Britain. I believe ‘he’ has made a comeback in recent years but with a slightly altered voice and a bit of a make- over. What I am writing about here, though, is the original Basil who was voiced by Ivan Lewis from the 60s until his death in 2000. He was a fixture on television schedules from 1968 until 1980 with his own BBC show.
What was fantastic about Basil was that the performer who provided his voice never appeared in public, creating a stronger illusion that the puppet was real. His upper class accent was apparently based on screen actor Terry-Thomas. Like all characters that appeal most to children he had child like aspects, such as his inability to pay attention for long periods causing his sidekick human to become exasperated with him. The adult, always a man and always called Mr, as in Mr Derek and Mr Roy, played the straight man who acted as if a talking fox was the most natural thing in the world.
Famous people had guest appearances, the most memorable to me was Demis Roussos, who in 1973 was at the height of his fame in Britain. Basil Brush singing a duet with Demis Roussos is a classic of 70s television.
‘Basil Brush’ is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?