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1001 The Muppets
Added on 15th August 2020

Creator Jim Henson
First shown 1976, ATV (UK)
Produced by Henson Associates, UK/USA

A fabulous variety show that made stars of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.

Story

The Muppet Show is a television comedy that ran for 5 series (120 half-hour shows). The characters are puppets, led by Kermit the Frog, who each week try to present a variety show of musical numbers and comic sketches, usually involving celebrity guests.

Invariably there is more drama backstage than on it, as Kermit struggles to control his wayward cast, especially diva superstar Miss Piggy, crazy daredevil Gonzo, hopeless comedian Fozzie Bear and wild drummer Animal.

Some shows incorporated themes such as horror or murder mysteries, or familiar stories like Robin Hood, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or Arabian Nights.

Why we chose it

Watched by 235 million people in 100 countries The Muppet Show won many awards and was described as the most popular television entertainment on earth.

There was much for all ages to enjoy – lovable characters, good-humoured mayhem, clever pop culture parodies, running jokes and celebrity guests – like Gene Kelly, Roger Moore, Rudolf Nureyev and Elton John - who took the muppet characters so seriously that they came to be regarded as celebrities in their own right.

Where it came from

The muppets were created in the 1950s by puppeteer Jim Henson, who invented the word ‘muppet’ to describe a mix of marionette and puppet. Kermit and Rowlf appeared in a television series Sam & Friends. In 1969 they joined Sesame Street and from 1976 had their own show, The Muppet Show, with a large cast of new characters.

Where it went next

The series spawned several much-loved film classics such as The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island.

The muppets were bought by Disney in 2004 and continue to appear in films and TV shows, theme parks, comics and other media.

Legendary voice artist and puppeteer Frank Oz (best known as Miss Piggy, and later Yoda in Star Wars) went on to direct films such as the Little Shop of Horrors.

Associated stories

The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island.

Added on 15th August 2020

Creator Jim Henson
First shown 1976, ATV (UK)
Produced by Henson Associates, UK/USA