ASH-BLOND and Barbados tanned, Geoffrey Hayes was an icon; his calm combination of paternal care and firm instruction brought order to the otherwise unruly 1970s children's show, Rainbow. His role was to keep Bungle the bear, George the pink, camp hippo and Zippy the yellow rugby ball-headed thing, in order. The show was a hit, airing to huge audiences for over 20 years, only to be cancelled in the early 1990s.
Since Rainbow, Hayes found small acting parts but as funds dwindled he stacked shelves at Sainsbury's before becoming a taxi driver. His career in acting, however, has not ceased entirely. He featured in an advert for a savings account, amusingly exploiting the "don't end up like me" angle.
Hayes even tried breaking into music, playing a taxi driver in a music video shot by Oasis tribute band NoWaySis. A second music video gig found him in the all-star cast for Peter Kay and Tony Christie's Is This the Way to Amarillo? This short-lived musical career had precedent in the backing vocals Hayes provided for the Happy Mondays' dance version of the Rainbow soundtrack.
Hayes's career highlight since Rainbow was the 2002 Edinburgh Fringe show Over the Rainbow where he was re-launched and created a media frenzy. Not, of course, because the show was any good – by all accounts it wasn't – but because the costumes for Zippy, Bungle and George were stolen from Hayes's van en route to Edinburgh.
You realise career credibility is thin on the ground when the guy who nicked the props ends up stealing the show. If Hayes has hit the end of the rainbow, it seems he's clean out of gold.