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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 January, 2005, 21:16 GMT
Mr Majeika creator dies at home
Humphrey Carpenter
Humphrey Carpenter wrote children's books and biographies
The writer and broadcaster Humphrey Carpenter has died aged 58.

Carpenter created the Mr Majeika children's books, turned into a TV series starring Stanley Baxter.

He began his career at BBC Radio Oxford before moving to national radio and was currently presenting the Radio Four series Great Lives.

He died suddenly from heart failure at home in Oxford on Tuesday, leaving a wife and two daughters. He also suffered from Parkinson's disease.

Carpenter, the son of a former bishop of Oxford, was a pupil at The Dragon School in Oxford.

The nice thing about being a writer is that you can make magic happen
Humphrey Carpenter

As well as children's books, his works included biographies on Tolkien and CS Lewis and the Oxford Companion to Children's Literature.

Describing his hobbies in Who's Who as sleep and "exploring decayed railway junctions", he was also a musician and played the tuba, double bass and bass saxophone.

In 1983 he formed a 1930s style jazz band, Vile Bodies, which for many years enjoyed a residency at the Ritz Hotel in London.

He also founded the Mushy Pea Theatre Group, a children's drama group based in Oxford, which premiered his Mr Majeika: The Musical in 1991 and Babes, a musical about Hollywood child stars.

In an interview, Carpenter once said: "The nice thing about being a writer is that you can make magic happen without learning tricks.

"Words are the only tricks you need. I can write: 'He floated up to the ceiling, and a baby rabbit came out of his pocket, grew wings, and flew away.' And you will believe that it really happened. That's magic, isn't it?"

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