From David Shrigley to Michael Landy – why all the best artists got their start in Tony Hart's gallery

Tony Hart pictured in front of The Gallery on Take Hart, 1977
Tony Hart pictured in front of The Gallery, 1977 Credit: PA

For nearly 40 years, week in and week out, millions of children across the country would rush home from school to lie sprawled on sofas and living room floors, hoping against hope that their latest masterpiece in corrugated card, crayon, straws, wax and, more often than not, pasta, had made it into Tony Hart’s “Gallery”. 

The odds were stacked against them. On average, Hart, whose programmes Vision On (1964-76), Take Hart (1977-83), Hart Beat (1983-93) and Smart Hart (1999-2000) were a linchpin of children’s TV, received 10,000 pictures a week.

Only about 25 of those survived the culling process, which, according to a biography of Hart written by his daughter, Carolyn, began with a small workforce...

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