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The 'kicking mule' with the Hogarth Circus

The ‘kicking mule’ with the Hogarth Circus

The story of Muffin and how he became a TV star started many, many years ago. Muffin says he is not that old to have that many many’s! So…

The story of Muffin and how he became a TV star started some years ago.

He was actually made as a ‘kicking’ mule in 1933 by Fred Tickner for the Hogarth puppet circus. But it wasn’t until 1946 that the mule became known as ‘Muffin the Mule’.

He was a puppet selected from the Hogarth collection by Annette Mills who was looking to host a children’s TV programme and named him Muffin the Mule. It was agreed that Annette was to write the songs for the puppets which would appear on her grand piano, Ann Hogarth would write the scripts and manipulate the puppets, and Jan Bussell would direct the shows.

A few days later on Sunday 20th October 1946 Muffin first appeared. A 12 minute live performance broadcast from Alexandra Palace at 5pm in an edition of ‘For the Children’.

Muffin went from strength to strength with his antics on top of Annette’s piano catching the public’s imagination whilst whistling his signature tune. It was one of the first shows totally devised for television, and the BBC claimed him as the first star to be made by TV.

Such was his success that the programmes went out fortnightly until Annette’s death in January 1955.

His success, however, was extraordinary. There were numerous Muffin ‘commodities’ on the market and the first to be spawned from a children’s TV show. They made many, many programmes firstly for BBC and then in 1956 for ATV (ITV), they appeared at countless theatres across the country and in numerous other countries too.