Britain’s Best-Loved Puppets
To celebrate the recent DVD release of Yonderland, we’ve gone a little puppet crazy! Britain just loves puppets, so we thought it’d be fun to take a look back at the nation’s top 10 most-loved TV puppet programmes, old and new, starting with Yonderland!
Delving into Yonderland allows the whole family to let their imagination and laughter run wild. The show follows mum Debbie Maddox who unexpectedly finds herself on a quest through the mysterious and wild world of Yonderland, with only an Elf by her side, where she meets oodles of fantastically different puppets. To read our 5* DVD review of Yonderland, click here.
Kermit from The Muppets
Kermit the Frog was the star and host of The Muppet Show and also played a significant role alongside Big Bird in Sesame Street (see below). Kermit was often pursued by Miss Piggy who wasn’t shy of showing her love for him, but who was also happy to violently hit him if ever he made her angry. This amphibian comedian was the centre of action and hilarity everywhere he went, and has appeared in films and other TV shows since, including the soon-to-be released Muppets Most Wanted.
Brains from Thunderbirds
Brains is the highly intelligent mechanic and aerospace engineer in the 1960s British puppet TV series Thunderbirds. Employed by International Rescue, Brains is a highly-valued yet somewhat socially inept member of the team. In the show, you can see him designing Thunderbird machines and other vehicles and facilities used by International Rescue. Every now and then, his wisdom is needed on the field so he occasionally accompanies the Tracy brothers on their missions.
Big Bird from Sesame Street
One of the tallest TV characters ever, Big Bird is the main man (bird?!) that springs to mind when you think of the classic children’s show Sesame Street. But 8ft 2in Big Bird was not just famed for his height, he could roller-skate, ice-skate, dance, sing, write poetry, draw and even ride a unicycle.
Bungle from Rainbow
Bungle, a large brown furry puppet was the UK’s favourite clumsy yet inquisitive bear. The gawky bear frequently got into quarrels with his co-puppets Zippy and George in the British children’s series Rainbow. For 20 years, Geoffrey (the show’s only human) attempted to keep peace inside the Rainbow House as they sang songs and read stories from the Rainbow storybook.
Bollo and Crack Fox from The Mighty Boosh
Bollo is the very old and wise gorilla in The Mighty Boosh. Having experienced a hard and traumatic life, he is the source of much wisdom and strength. Bollo grew up in a jungle before going to live in a zoo (the Zooniverse) where he became good friends with Vince. In the series we often see him DJ-ing, drumming and having to obey Naboo, the shaman. Unlike Bollo, the Crack Fox is an insane, crack-addled and conniving fox. A menace for mischief, he travelled to London looking for wild parties and sex, however things didn’t turn out his way and he ended up in a pile of rubbish in London’s Dalston.
Sooty from Sooty and The Sooty Show
Sooty has been a national institution since 1948, being TV’s first ever puppet. Although never muttering a word, Sooty won the hearts of children across the nation. Together with his friends Sweep, Soo and Little Cousin Scampy, he ran a hotel with help from his magic wand whose power was invoked by saying “izzy wizzy, let’s get busy”.
Basil Brush from The Basil Brush Show
Basil Brush is the mischievous puppet fox who’s been seen on our TV screens since 1962! Best known for the catchphrase “Ha Ha Ha! Boom! Boom!”, this posh fox claimed to dislike puppets. The TV show was filled with one-liners and banter between Basil Brush and his flatmates.
Bill and Ben from Bill & Ben The Flowerpot Men
Bill and Ben is a classic, known and loved by children and adults across the UK. Since its first broadcast in 1952, the puppets have been a part of TV history. As flowerpot men, Bill and Ben live in a den by an old potting shed with their sunflower buddy Weed. The two gabble to each other in a language known as “oddle-poddle”, which is centred around the word “flobbadob”. The trio come to life whenever the owner of the garden is away. Together they plant seeds, grow things and generally play around in the garden.
Fleegle and Bingo from The Banana Splits
The Banana Splits was a popular Saturday morning kids TV show between the 60s and 70s. The fun, fury foursome comprised an eccentric rock band that caused musical mayhem in their home, Hocus Pocus Park. Together they introduced a variety of acts, cartoons and adventure segments such as The Arabian Knights, The Hillbilly Bears and The Three Musketeers. Fleegle a dog (voiced by Paul Winchell) was the only member who didn’t wear glasses! He rocked alongside Bingo, a bongo-playing gorilla.
Yonderland Season One is available to own now on DVD.