The man was a pioneer. He showed how to it was possible to make the educational seem entertaining, and vice versa. He devised ways for the smart to sit next to the silly in the same programme and for neither to feel out of place.
Above all he established the template for several decades’ worth of instructional TV hosts: that of one part teacher, one part clown.
Over on TV Cream’s sister site Off The Telly, you can find a full tribute plus an interview with Dowling and fellow Adventure Game creator Ian Oliver.
“I remember The Adventure Game with huge enjoyment,” said Dowling in 2004. “We had an absolute ball making it. Every show was totally unexpected – it was like lighting a blue touch-paper and standing back with hands over our eyes! No, I know what it was like – Alice in Wonderland crossed with The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide. That sums it up exactly. Alice… was always my favourite book of philosophy.”