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Postman Pat creator John Cunliffe leaves £800,000 to his wife and son

Postman Pat’s final delivery: John Cunliffe who created the beloved character leaves £800,000 to his wife and son after signing away his rights before TV show became a hit

  • The late John Cunliffe missed out on a small fortune in royalties for Postman Pat
  • He had to give half of his Postman Pat book royalties to Woodland Animations
  • Under the deal, Mr Cunliffe also did not receive repeat fees for the BBC TV series

John Cunliffe, who died last September aged 85, signed away the bulk of his rights in the early 1980s before the character become a television favourite

The creator of Postman Pat left less than a £1 million in his will after missing out on a small fortune in royalties.

John Cunliffe, who died last September aged 85, signed away the bulk of his rights in the early 1980s before the character become a television favourite.

Probate records released last week show that Cunliffe left his £828,051 estate to his wife Sylvia and son Edward.

The Postman Pat rights are owned by Woodland Animations, the production company that makes the hugely popular 15-minute films. The firm is owned by animator Ivor Wood.

Under the deal, Cunliffe did not receive repeat fees for the BBC series, and received only ten per cent from annuals and comics and nothing for other merchandising. 

He also had to give 50 per cent of royalties from Postman Pat books to Mr Wood’s company.

Although the overall figure for profits on sales of everything associated with Postman Pat over the past four decades has never been publicly disclosed, it is thought to run into tens of millions of pounds.

Children around the world have been enchanted by kindly Pat’s adventures with his black-and-white cat, Jess. 

The Postman Pat rights are owned by Woodland Animations, the production company that makes the hugely popular 15-minute films. The firm is owned by animator Ivor Wood [File photo]

The Postman Pat rights are owned by Woodland Animations, the production company that makes the hugely popular 15-minute films. The firm is owned by animator Ivor Wood [File photo]

Cunliffe was inspired to create Pat’s fictional home village of Greendale, with its dry-stone walls and rolling hills, after spending much of his life in the Lake District.

He was said to have based his characters, including postmistress Mrs Goggins, handyman Ted Glen and Rev Timms, on people he met while working as a mobile librarian in Northumberland.

Cunliffe revealed in an interview in 1994 that he got nothing for the Postman Pat films when they were repeated and only a small percentage of the income from other spin-offs. 

But when he raised concerns about the direction his creation was going and the volume of merchandise being created, he was told to ‘face commercial realities’.

Cunliffe, of Ilkley, West Yorkshire, also created the ragdoll characters Rosie & Jim.

The royalties that he received paid for a house, but he lived modestly, writing in his bedroom with a statuette of Pat on the shelf.

Woodland Animations was sold for £5.1 million in 2001.

Cunliffe was inspired to create Pat’s fictional home village of Greendale, with its dry-stone walls and rolling hills, after spending much of his life in the Lake District. The Beast Bank Post Office in Kendal is said to have inspired his work

Cunliffe was inspired to create Pat’s fictional home village of Greendale, with its dry-stone walls and rolling hills, after spending much of his life in the Lake District. The Beast Bank Post Office in Kendal is said to have inspired his work

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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