1. Patchwork Dads – Postman Pat


Postman Pat, father of Julian.

Created by John Cunliffe, and if ever there was a lesson in reading the small print (or getting a lawyer to do so) before signing over the rights to something you have created and love, Cunliffe’s is it. Nothing to do with the money, of which he only got a small percentage, but rather not having control of your creation.

The following is from a Guardian article by Nick Davies , it talks about how Cunliffe felt about other people writing Postman Pat stories.

“It was so badly written. It made him feel quite awkward that people might think he had written it. And in one story, Pat did something particularly stupid. The radiator in his little red van boiled over, and he hopped straight out and pulled the radiator cap off. He’d have burned his face off if he’d have done that. Cunliffe was sure he would never have let Pat do anything so silly. He felt so upset that he wrote off a letter, asking how this could happen. Apart from anything else, Cunliffe was under the impression that he was supposed to be the only author of books about Pat. It turned out that this was not a book, because it was printed on card instead of paper. It was “merchandising”. It was a legal distinction that passed Cunliffe by but now he watched as the shops were bombarded with books that weren’t books: more comics, more annuals, activity books, sticker books, magic painting books, nursery rhyme books, books with wheels, books for baths, musical books, colouring books, press-out books, books with recipes and knitting patterns and all of them were all about Greendale – and nothing to do with John Cunliffe.”

This is the first square in my patchwork of dads. It is made from discarded books, magazines, postcards and junk mail. There are sixteen squares in total. You can see the whole piece here.

Taken from a very badly made book which had dropped to bits. Illustrated by Joan Hickson and published by Tempo Books (3, Standard Road, London NW10) in 1988.

All of my work is individually numbered, this piece is 798. It can be found in my shop.



3 thoughts on “1. Patchwork Dads – Postman Pat

  1. Goodness. I knew nothing about the author’s loss of control over his creation. I must admit I had noted when my kids were into Postman Pat that the quality was inconsistent and characterisation patchy. This explains it. Goodness. That is actually very sad.

  2. Pingback: Patchwork Dads | Alison Sye

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