Acting on plans first announced last year, the BBC have revealed a new part of their Saturday night prime-time line-up to be a series led by puppets, with That Puppet Game Show set to air as a ‘family-friendly’ quiz show.
The news comes a day after the BBC had hinted at revealing their new ‘face of Saturday nights’ this week, although it will be to many people’s surprise that said face has turned out to be a completely synthetic one (though not as surprising if the stereotype of ‘celebrity makeovers’ is applied). The new presenter will be gameshow host ‘Dougie Colon’ (pictured), presenting a variety quiz show that the channel hopes will be ‘family-friendly entertainment’.
Each episode of the new series will see two celebrities (from a list of confirmed participants including Vernon Kay, Tess Daly, Katherine Jenkins, and Claudia Winkleman, amongst others) facing off against eachother in a set of ‘madcap games’ in an attempt to win a grand prize of £10,000 for a chosen charity.
The games will each have a specialist puppet sub-hosting (in areas including ‘science’, ‘sport’, ‘nature’, ‘celebrities’, and ‘mental agility’), whilst the programme will also be seen by the audiences at home as ‘part-sitcom’, with a number of original puppet characters (including producer ‘Mancie’ and show executive ‘Udders McGhee’) joining the presenters backstage for a number of humourous subplots.
‘Dougie’ summarised of the new format: “I can’t wait to get stuck in to the new show. We have a whole host of celebs joining us and I can honestly say that they will never have seen anything like this before!”
It seemed as though the BBC had everyone fooled yesterday when they made a statement on their then-mystery new presenter, with many speculating that Vernon Kay or another major celebrity of his type would fill the void when they read: “The new signing will bring their natural Northern charm to BBC One’s Saturday night lineup. The host has a unique style and look and the BBC are hoping that viewers will fall for his cheeky sense of humour.”
As previously hinted, production for That Puppet Game Show will come from The Jim Henson Company (most famous for The Muppets), working alongside BBC In House Entertainment and aiming at a debut on BBC One at some point in 2013. Despite the seemingly unique angle of ‘puppet gameshow’, like many other ideas, it has already been done (more than once if you count video game character ‘Buzz’ as a puppet), while the BBC themselves have previously experimented with puppets as leading characters on a TV show, even if it was not aimed at a ‘family audience':