Many years ago when TV was good, Friday nights at 7.00pm didn’t mean Emmerdale it meant The Muppet Show.
Today The Muppets are part of the Disney empire and you could be forgiven for thinking this was one of those American success stories that made it big here in Britain. However The Muppet Show was the first time we met these mad puppets and it all started in the UK.
The Muppet Show was a comedy-variety television series aimed at a family audience. It was originally produced by puppeteer Jim Henson who created The Muppets. Two pilot episodes of The Muppet Show were produced in 1974 and 1975, but failed to get the attention of America’s network executives, Lew Grade approached Henson to produce the programme for ATV’s ITV franchise in the United kingdom.
Henson agreed and in 1976 The Muppets made their TV debut on British TV. The show ran for five series totalling one hundred and twenty episodes. The programmes were recorded at ATV’s Elstree Studios just north of London.
Such was the popularity of the show it went on produce seveal movies and various spin offs.
The series was effectively a music hall-style song-and-dance variety show, as well as glimpses behind the scenes of such a show. This was mixed with mini series “Pigs In Space” and “Veternary Surgery”
Kermit the Frog stars as a showrunner who tries to keep control of the antics of the other Muppet characters (and his temper), as well as keeping the guest stars happy.
The show was known for outrageous physical slapstick, sometimes absurdist comedy, and humorous parodies. Each episode also featured a human guest star.
Jim Henson – Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Dr. Teeth, The Swedish Chef, The Muppet Newsman, Waldorf, Link Hogthrob
Frank Oz – Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Sam the Eagle
Jerry Nelson – Floyd Pepper, Robin the Frog, Crazy Harry, Camilla the Chicken, Pops, Lew Zealand
Richard Hunt – Scooter, Janice, Statler, Beaker, Sweetums, Miss Piggy (Season 1)
Dave Goelz – Gonzo the Great, Zoot, Beauregard, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew
Steve Whitmire – Rizzo the Rat, Lips
Louise Gold – Annie Sue
Eren Ozker – Janice (Season One)
Created By: Jim Henson
Original Transmission Dates: 13th September 1976 – 15th March 1981