According to Oliver Postgate‘s delightful autobiography, Seeing Things, [G. D. H.] Cole was a model for Professor Yaffle, the woodpecker in the children’s TV series Bagpuss. It seems that there is a kind of immortality for theoreticians after all.
Brother Michael, what can you tell us about Postgate and the Clangers as a fable of British Socialism?And while we’re all telling G. D. H. Cole stories, this one’s from Alan Bennett’s diaries for 1984, reprinted in the excellent Writing Home:
7 December. To a party at the Department of the History of Medicine at Univeristy College. I talk to Alan Tyson, who’s like a figure out of the eighteenth century: a genial, snuff-taking, snuff-coloured, easy-going aristocrat – Fox, perhaps, or one of the Bourbons. He is a fellow of All Souls, and when Mrs Thatcher came to the college for a scientific symposium Tyson was deputed to take her round the Common Room. This is hung with portraits and photographs of dead fellows, including some of the economist G. D. H. Cole. Tyson planned to take Mrs Thatcher up to it saying, “And this, Prime Minister, is a former fellow, G. D. H. Dole.” Whereupon, with luck, Mrs Thatcher would have had to say, “Cole, not Dole.” In the event he did take her round but lost his nerve.
That’s quite enough for one night.