Freddy Marks of the Rod, Jane and Freddy trio, from beloved children’s TV show Rainbow, has died aged 71.
Tributes have been pouring in from fans for whom Marks was part of their childhood following confirmation of his death from the Thames TV Archive on Thursday.
Rod, Jane and Freddy shot to fame as a singing trio on the classic children’s series Rainbow, which followed the adventures of the inhabitants of the Rainbow house from 1972 to the early 1990s – with long-suffering host Geoffrey Hayes holding the peace between squabbling puppets Zippy, George and Bungle.
They went on to make their own spin-off series, The Rod, Jane And Freddy Show, which ran for 10 years in the 1980s.
Marks was married to his co-star Jane Tucker, who had previously been married to Rod Burton. His death comes three years after that of Hayes, who appeared in more than 1,000 episodes of Rainbow from 1974 until 1992 after taking over from original host David Cook.
Speaking to the Daily Mail following his death, Tucker said her final words to her husband were “I love you”.
Rest in Peace Freddy Marks (10 September 1949 – 27 May 2021), an English musician, writer, singer and entertainer well known for being part of the musical trio Rod, Jane and Freddy from Rainbow and The Rod, Jane and Freddy Show. Pictured right with Rod Burton and Jane Tucker. pic.twitter.com/DlEcwYm2If
— Killer 80s (@killer1980s) May 28, 2021
She continued: “But Freddy didn’t say anything back, he just had a gentle smile on his face like he always did. It was incredibly beautiful. I’m totally devastated by his loss and it’s going to take me and a lot of other people in the country a long time to get over this.”
Tucker said her husband had died at a hospice after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, and that she and Burton had been mourning together, the newspaper reported.
The couple, who married in 2016, had appeared together in a “Classic Kids TV” special of Pointless only a few months ago, in February 2021, alongside Peter Purves, Lesley Judd, Dave Benson Phillips, Mike Read, Kirsten O’Brien and Terrence Hardiman.
Truly stunned and deeply saddened to learn Freddie Marks of Rod Jane & Freddy has died. RJ&F should have been showered in retrospective BAFTAs long ago. Their extraordinary body of work landmark television for all sorts of reasons. A friend to us all here too. So sorry, Jane. pic.twitter.com/dhHvFWUih5
— Danny Baker (@prodnose) May 28, 2021
Rod, Jane and Freddy had originally been known as Rod, Matt and Jane, with Sooty presenter Matthew Corbett in the line-up. Marks joined in 1980, starting the most famous incarnation of the trio.
Fans who grew up with Rainbow and Rod, Jane and Freddy have been paying tribute on social media, with many sharing fond memories of the shows.
“A huge part of my childhood memories watching that show,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “As the theme tune went. Up above the streets and houses, rainbow climbing high, rest well Freddy.”
Broadcaster Danny Baker was among those paying tribute, saying Rod, Jane and Freddy should have “been showered in retrospective BAFTAs long ago”.