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A farm manager for thirteen years, Johnny Morris began a long and successful broadcasting career after being discovered by renowned BBC producer, Desmond Hawkins, as he regaled customers in a local pub with his stories.
After his radio debut in 1946, Johnny became a regular voice on BBC West Country radio throughout the 1950s, commentating on local events and presenting his regular show, Pass The Salt.
His first appearance on television was as The Hot Chestnut Man, a short children’s slot where, from behind his chestnut barrow and brazier, he told a humorous yarn in a thick West Country accent. He would begin his stories by saying “Did I already tell you that story ? . . . No ? . . . I thought I did”.
Morris moved on to Tales of the Riverbank (1960) – where his talent for animal mimicry became apparent – and in 1962 he was approached to present the new BBC children’s show Animal Magic.