Mark Speight

6 August 1965 – 7 April 2008

British artist, actor and TV presenter, the perpetually energetic host of CBBC art show SMart for 14 years, from its inception in 1994, till shortly before his death. A talented cartoonist with natural charm, humour and a constant grin, he was the most engaging children’s presenter of his generation. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he was truly devoted to his job and did not seek to use it as a springboard for ‘grown-up’ TV success. Speight, alongside co-host Jay Burridge, conceived all of the show’s art content, frequently utilizing his fondness for ‘speed lines’ to convey motion in his cartoons. As the show went on, Speight and new co-host Kirsten O’Brien formed its most iconic partnership. He presented, often in character, numerous other shows including Saturday morning show Scratchy and Co, Name that Toon, Timmy Towers and most notably played the King in the educationally-focused See It, Saw It. Adult presenting work did follow on This Morning and The Heaven and Earth Show and he also participated in Rolf on Art and Celebrity Wrestling, but was never his focus. Speight’s death came in tragic contrast to his life. In January 2008, Speight’s fiancée Natasha Collins died from a cocaine overdose; several months later, unable to cope without her, aged 42, he committed suicide by hanging.