John Cunliffe (author)

John Arthur Cunliffe (16 June 1933 – 20 September 2018) was an English children's book author and television presenter who created the characters of Postman Pat and Rosie and Jim.[3][4][5]

John Cunliffe
BornJohn Arthur Cunliffe
(1933-06-16)16 June 1933[1]
Colne, Lancashire, England
Died20 September 2018(2018-09-20) (aged 85)
Ilkley, West Yorkshire,[2] England
  • Author
  • teacher
  • librarian
  • TV presenter
Years active1981–2018
Notable works
Sylvia Thompson
(m. 1960)


Cunliffe was born in Colne, Lancashire, the only child of Nelly and Arthur Cunliffe. His father left the family when John was a baby. His great-uncle Herbert introduced him to the literary works of Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare, and let him use the microscope he kept in his front room. Cunliffe was very tall for his age, and bullied at school because of this.[6] He attended Colne Grammar School, and later lived in Kendal, Westmorland, where the area's small towns and villages provided inspiration for his most famous character, Postman Pat.[7] 'Greendale', where Cunliffe's character and series are set, are based on the valley of Longsleddale, near Kendal.[8] Cunliffe worked for many years as a librarian, and also as a teacher at Castle Park Primary School.[4]

Cunliffe was commissioned by the BBC to write Postman Pat, which was produced by Ivor Wood and first aired in 1981. He created Pat and Greendale as an idyllic village where everyone was nice to each other, in contrast to the bullying he suffered while growing up.[9] Following the success of Postman Pat, Cunliffe became something of a local celebrity, and had a room dedicated to him at Kendal's Museum of Lakeland Life.[10][9]

In the 1990s, Cunliffe's other well-known creation, Rosie and Jim, was also written for television. He scripted and presented the first 50 episodes, then turned some of them into books. He intended to create a series closer to what he wanted overall, after being disappointed by some of the merchandising and tie-in books for Postman Pat, over which he had little control.[5] His role as presenter was taken over by Pat Hutchins in 1995, and later by Neil Brewer in 1997.

In 2010, he released Ghosts, a children's story for the iPad.[7] He was patron of the Ilkley Literature Festival.[6]

Cunliffe died of cardiopulmanory failure on 20 September 2018, at the age of 85.[6][7][11] His death was first announced in the local newspaper, the Ilkley Gazette, which said he "left his Ilkley home in a deluge of rain [...] never to return".[9]

VHS videos and DVDsEdit

  • My Favourite Nursery Rhymes


  1. ^ "My favourite Postman Pat stories / written by John/Cunliffe, John, 1933– – Full Catalogue Listing". Amlib Library Management System. Archived from the original on 27 September 2018. Retrieved 31 July 2008.
  2. ^ Beresford, Jack. "Postman Pat and Rosie And Jim creator John Cunliffe has died aged 85". The Irish Post.
  3. ^ "Postman Pat's creator looks back at its conception". BBC News. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Postman Pat's creator John Cunliffe has been at a school in Kendal". ITV. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b Davies, Nick. "The Selling of Postman Pat". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  6. ^ a b c "Postman Pat and Rosie and Jim author John Cunliffe dies". BBC News. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Stolworthy, Jacob (27 September 2018). "John Cunliffe dead: Postman Pat, Rosie and Jim creator dies age 85". Independent. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  8. ^ "John Cunliffe, creator of 'Postman Pat' and 'Rosie and Jim' – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  9. ^ a b c "Postman Pat creator John Cunliffe dies". The Guardian. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  10. ^ "Cumbria on film". BBC News. 30 March 2006. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  11. ^ Jeffries, Stuart (28 September 2018). "John Cunliffe obituary". Books. The Guardian. Retrieved 11 May 2019.

External linksEdit