Belfast Telegraph

Puppet to front BBC Saturday nights

BBC bosses have unveiled the new face of Saturday night entertainment - and it is made of felt, foam and belongs to a puppet.

Dougie Colon - pronounced Cologne - has been created by the makers of The Muppets for new BBC One series That Puppet Game Show, which will see him joined by star contestants such as Jonathan Ross, Richard Hammond and Jack Dee.

Dougie has been loosely based on Vernon Kay, who will also be among the well-known figures appearing in the series.

It marks a return to prime-time TV stardom for the Muppet crew after more than three decades. They hosted their own all-star comedy show on ITV for five years ending in 1981, but they found a new lease of life in 2011 Hollywood film The Muppets which saw the old gang brought back together. Although this show features a range of new characters, it has been put together by The Jim Henson Company which was behind Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo and the rest of the puppet creations.

Dougie bears a marked resemblance to Guy Smiley, the Muppet game show host who featured in children's series Sesame Street.

In the new show, two celebrities - the only two humans to appear in the programme - will go head-to-head in a number of games with the hope of winning £10,000 for their chosen charity. While Dougie hosts the 45-minute show, there will be different puppets running each of the games.

And like The Muppet Show, there will also be a backstage sitcom going on simultaneously featuring the likes of producer Mancie and the bullish show boss Udders McGhee.

Dougie said: "I can't wait to get stuck into the new show. We have a whole host of celebs joining us and I can honestly say that they will have never have seen anything like this before."

Other stars lined up for the series include Gary Lineker, Katherine Jenkins and Freddie Flintoff. Strictly Come Dancing host Tess Daly will also be a guest and come face to face with the character based on her real-life husband.

The series will be screened later this year.

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