Hot on the heels of the news that a sequel to one of the late Jim Henson’s best-loved films is in the works, plans have been announced for another new take on an equally cherished Henson property.
Fraggle Rock, the popular children’s TV series created by the Muppets legend, is being relaunched by The Jim Henson Company for Apple TV+.
Originally launched in 1983, Fraggle Rock ran for 96 episodes and utilised much of the same performing and writing staff as The Muppet Show and Sesame Street.
The show followed the adventures of the cuddly, radish-loving Fraggles, who live in a mystical underworld beneath a lighthouse alongside the tiny workaholic Doozers, where they try to avoid the monstrous surface-dwelling Gorgs and learn all about the ‘silly creatures of outer space’ (i.e. human beings).
After Jim Henson’s death in 1990, The Jim Henson Company (of which Jim’s daughter Lisa is the CEO) sold the rights to The Muppets, his most famous creations, to Disney. However, the company kept the rights to other properties including Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth.
This isn’t the first time that a new take on Fraggle Rock has been touted by The Jim Henson Company. Plans to reboot the show for HBO were announced in 2016, but this never came to fruition.
Apple TV+ has already hosted Fraggle Rock: Rock On!, a series of specially-produced shorts featuring the beloved characters, and it is promised that the new full-length series will continue in the same spirit.
Fans of the show may also be pleased to learn that many of the same writers and puppeteers who worked on the original series will be returning.
Most notably, the new Fraggle Rock will see the return of original performers Dave Goelz, as Boober and Uncle Travelling Matt, and Karen Prell as Red.
We all had our favourite TV shows when we were kids growing up, and many of these would star puppets in leading, or supporting, roles. Some of these puppets were very simple, others very inventive, but all effective and full of character. Let’s take a look at some of the puppets that made our favourite shows great…
1. Cosmo and Dibs
The stars of You and Me, this duo would make us laugh and had very unique voices, too.
Cosmo and Dibs were bright, vibrant and full of colour. What’s not to love?!
They even had segments on numeracy and literacy, making learning super fun!
2. Roland Rat and Friends
Roland Rat would appear on TV:AM regularly and got more and more of his own slots and shows.
He had his group of friends including Kevin and Errol and we loved them all – “Yeaaaah! Rat Fans!”
We used to love waking up to watch the show at 9am in the school holidays!
3. The Fraggles
Fraggle Rock was one of the classic Henson productions.
The Fraggles and Dozers were full of character and often had us in stitches laughing, a real classic!
They had a laid-back lifestyle, spending their days playing, exploring and having fun.
4. Zippy, George and Bungle
What was there not to love about Rainbow?
Geoffrey had his pals with him at all times, and Zippy, George and Bungle kept us entertained every afternoon after school.
One of the best!
5. The Wombles
“Wombles of Wimbledon, Wombling free. Wombles of Wimbleton Common are we”.
The classic stories of these lovable creatures living in Wimbledon who go around picking up litter to help us all out!
We just couldn’t get enough of those pointy-nosed, furry cuties.
If there’s one thing that we all know about Badger, it’s that he loves mashed potato!
He didn’t always eat it, as he would often get Bodger covered in it, but Bodger and Badger had us laughing out loud every week!
What’s not to love about this slapstick comedy duo?!
7. Sooty, Sweep and Soo
The Sooty Show has been around in one form or another for a very long time, and there have been several presenters.
Harry Corbett was one of the most popular, and he was great alongside the lovable puppets.
Sooty was largely mute, although he could communicate through whispering in his handler’s ear.
8. Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird and Elmo
Where would we be without Sesame Street?
The educational program that made learning fun and had some of the most recognisable and fun characters of any pre-school program out there!
As well as helping kids learn numbers and words, it also broached important issues such as culture and equality.
Rod Hull and Emu were one of the great double-acts of the time, and Emu was well-known for getting up to mischief, even when interviewed by greats like Michael Parkinson!
He even destroyed the Queen Mother’s bouquet of flowers during the Royal Variety Performance!
Sadly, Rod Hull passed away in 1999, the result of a tragic accident.
Emu lives on through his son Toby Hull, who revived him for a pantomime performance in 2003.
The gorgeous and very cute duck, Orville, was partnered with Keith Harris and the two made a wonderful pair in one of the best family-friendly shows.
A real classic show and characters that have lasted a lifetime!
He took his name from one of the legendary Wright brothers, Orville Wright.
A very unusual character, Pob was never quite as popular as some of the others on this list, which we feel is unfair as the character was vibrant, charismatic and full of energy and fun!
A talented puppet, Pob can speak both English and Welsh.
Pob’s Programme would feature a celebrity guest, who would read a story and help solve a word puzzle.
12. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Animal, Gonzo and the gang!
How could we possibly miss The Muppets off this list?
The ultimate puppet-related show and the show that really made us realise what a genius Jim Henson was, has given us years and decades of fun and amusement with these wonderful characters who are timeless and are still going today!
Which show had your favourite puppets? Is it still going today and have they changed? How do you think modern shows with puppets compare to the classics from when we were growing up? Let us know all your thoughts and memories in the comments as always!