Voice of Zippy Dies

Yesterday Roy Skelton, who famous for being the voices of Rainbow characters Zippy and George, died. The actor who also voiced Doctor Who baddies the Daleks and the Cybermen, died aged 79 from pneumonia following a stroke.

The multi-talented actor started out his career in Bristol’s Old Vic before moving into children’s television working on programmes such as Picture Book and Toytown. During a career spanning fifty years Skelton both amused and terrified children supplying the voices of the sinister Daleks and the fearsome Cybermen among many others, as well as the infamous troublesome Zippy and his loveable friend George on the hit show Rainbow from the 1970s till the show’s cancellation in 1992. Skelton later reprised his role as the Rainbow characters in the hit BBC series Ashes to Ashes and during a special puppet version of the Weakest Link.

It is little known that Skelton also worked in film, one of his most famous film credits being Hitchcock’s 1972 film Frenzy. His filmography also included Z-cars, the Bill, and the 1986 version of Alice in Wonderland. Skelton later went on to write ‘Naughty Rainbow’, a humorous, more adult version of the hit show filled with double-entendre jokes, needless to say the show became a cult hit.

‘The most wonderful thing was if Zippy and George were having an argument between themselves, it sounded like he’d double-tracked it as they seemed to be talking over each other. It was a wonderful technique,’ said Geoffrey Hayes who both wrote and hosted Rainbow, ‘He was fabulous at improvising if something went wrong’.

Since the news of his death many tributes and messages have been left by fans to whom Skelton was an important part of their childhood. It has been reported that Skelton had requested a ‘green funeral’ and will be buried in a cardboard coffin. He brought joy to millions and will be fondly remembered.

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