1 9 4 6 – 1 9 5 5 (UK)
Partnered by Annette Mills (sister of actor John Mills) Muffin The Mule started life on 30 October 1946 on For The Children and was really the first television character in Britain to capture the hearts of children.
Muffin – a marionette puppet originally created in 1933 – used to clank around energetically on a piano-top while Annette played the music.
He was worked by Ann Hogarth – who stood on the piano behind a screen – and he had a number of unlikely companions including Mr Peregrine the Penguin, Oswald the Ostrich, Sally the Sea-lion, and Louise the Lamb. Annette Mills also created Prudence Kitten in 1951.
The episodes were mostly transmitted live from the BBC’s Alexandra Palace studios, though some were also filmed for later re-broadcast.
Muffin the Mule became one of the first British TV shows to spawn a merchandising range, with books, clothing, toys and even a regular comic strip in TV Comic.
Muffin bowed out on 2 January 1955, and the following week, on 10 January, Annette Mills died at the age of 61 after an operation.
In 2005, Muffin returned to television as Maverick Entertainment unveiled a new show focusing on the mule’s exploits on a farm with other animals. Gone were the songs in favour of story-driven animation, and the new Muffin had no strings (heresy!).
Here comes Muffin, Muffin the mule
Dear old Muffin, playing the fool
Here comes Muffin, everybody sing
Here comes Muffin the mule.