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Tuesday, 16 October, 2001, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Basil Brush: Ballot box icon
Basil Brush
Basil Brush and Mr Roy (North) in 1974
Basil Brush, the 38-year-old television personality, is to spearhead a campaign to encourage students to vote.

The National Union of Students says that the fox is an "icon" to today's students and that his involvement will help to raise the turn-out in union elections.

Basil Brush, now old enough to have his own cubs at university, was quoted by the students' union as looking forward to his new role.

Basil Brush
On the Bewes: Basil's early assistant Mr Rodney
"Although I've never attended university, I can very much identify with students. It was actually one of my dreams to be a graduate - I've always wanted to meet Mrs Robinson," said Mr Brush.

The union's national secretary, Ben Monks, was hopeful that the fox could help to persuade more students to vote in elections which begin in January, including for the union's presidency.

Showing his attraction to a younger audience, Basil Brush has received a lifetime's achievement award from the magazine, Loaded.

The puppet was created in 1963 by Peter Firmin and Ivan Owen (who died last year), with the character's raffish manner believed to have been partly based on the actor Terry Thomas.

Basil Brush
That's all fox: Basil Brush was a major 1970s ratings success but was ditched in the early 1980s

The fox went on to appear in a show featuring magician Roy Nixon, before becoming the star of his own series.

Applauded by fan websites for his "cheeky volpine antics", Basil Brush and his assistants were watched by over 12 million viewers in their Saturday afternoon shows in the 1970s.

His assistants, always called Mister, included Rodney Bewes, Derek Fowlds and Roy North.

See also:

19 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Voice of Basil Brush dies
14 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Boom time for Basil Brush
30 Jul 99 | The Company File
Brush flush after 1.7m deal
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