Thursday, May 6, 1999 Published at 22:53 GMT 23:53 UK
TV naturalist Johnny Morris dies
Johnny Morris was an extremely popular television figure
The much-loved naturalist and broadcaster Johnny Morris has died aged 82.
Two generations of children were captivated by his rapport with the show's animal stars including, most memorably, Dottie the ring-tailed lemur.
Before that he had been the Hot Chestnut Man, telling children's stories on television for eight years. He was also known for his many travel programmes, including Johnny's Jaunts on radio and television.
"He was very sensitive, he watched people very carefully and that was why he became so successful with the animals, because he watched people and he related people to animals and animals to people.''
He added: "He will be a great loss. He was a living legend, Johnny Morris."
Peter Salmon, Controller of BBC One, said: "Johnny Morris was a TV pioneer.
Morris had been in a nursing home after collapsing with a mystery illness in March, when he was about to star in a new animal series, Wild Thing, on ITV.
Filming for the new series was postponed when Morris, a diabetic, collapsed at his home in Hungerford, Berks.
The widower, who lost wife Eileen 10 years ago, was admitted to Swindon's Princess Margaret Hospital for tests.
But although daughter-in-law Cherry Monro said he had been ill for a while she had reassured fans that he was "on the road to recovery".
Morris made his first broadcast in 1946, and before long he had a regular radio show, Pass the Salt, broadcast from the BBC's West Region.
Animal Magic was dropped in 1984, when the idea of giving animals human qualities fell out of favour.