Radio Sandwell Miscellanea

How Tony Hart was mourned twice on Twitter

2015-02-17 00:11:57

Tony Hart

Tributes have been suddenly pouring in online for the artist and kids TV presenter Tony Hart - which is surprising, as he passed away six years ago.

Since Sunday Tony Hart has been Trending in the UK as hundreds use Twitter to pay their respects with hashtags like #RIPTonyHart and #Hartbeat. People are also sharing obituaries about Hart who died at age of 83. However they've missed one very important detail. Mr Hart died on the 18th of January 2009.

As his obituary on the BBC from the time says, TV programmes such as Hartbeat, featuring the character Morph, made him "an iconic and much-loved figure for millions of budding young artists who tuned into his BBC art shows for nearly 50 years".

So why is his name suddenly one of the UK's top Twitter trends? It appears that the confusion started on Sunday at 20:44 GMT when Dan Huntly, a 33-year-old father of two from Kent, tweeted "RIP Tony Hart. #tonyhart #hartbeat #morph" About half an hour later he'd discovered his mistake and acknowledged it online. "My Mrs just told me she saw a post on Facebook and assumed it was today he died," he said.

"I loved Hartbeat as a child so I wanted to pay tribute. I didn't really think twice about it," Huntly told BBC Trending. "However, when I was informed that he died 6 years ago, I remembered paying tribute on my own Facebook page. I have no idea why it would suddenly start trending like that, unless it was a simple mix up like what happened with me."

Many others who say Tony Hart's name had also made the same assumption. "Tony Hart has died. How many artistic careers and fulfilling pastimes did that simultaneously gentle and fiercely creative man launch?" tweeted digital arts consultant Steve Manthorp.

Those who posted about Hart's death in error were quickly corrected by other Twitter users. Before long there was a cacophony of tributes and corrections followed by a dose of sarcasm with remarks like: "Tony Hart: so good, we mourned him twice."

Others took their mistake in good humour. "Tony Hart did indeed pass years ago. He's popped up in a lot of timelines today." wrote Jon Carter." Well it's still a shame. Sorry to see you go - again - Tony."

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