That Puppet Game Show. Copyright: BBC.

That Puppet Game Show

BBC One variety / sitcom. 8 episodes (1 series), 2013 - 2014.

Press Clippings

BBC axes That Puppet Game Show and I Love My Country

The BBC has no plans to make more episodes of Saturday night comedy entertainment formats That Puppet Game Show and I Love My Country.

British Comedy Guide, 25th October 2013

Dougie Colon's cod-Lancashire accent has not improved since the series started. This would be less of a problem if Tess Daly, on whose husband, Vernon Kay, Colon is surely modelled, wasn't one of the guests.

She's going head to head (well, perhaps not quite) with Ronan Keating in a battle that includes some of the livelier Puppet Show games. It's like a bizarre circus. See them strapped to a giant revolving glittery wheel! Watch as they race to blow out 100 candles! Laugh as they fail to name the Chancellor and the members of the G8!

As ever, the sideshow - the behind-the-scenes puppet soap which has a hint of human sadness about it - is just as diverting as the main event.

Emma Sturgess, Radio Times, 14th September 2013

Sarah Millican: I liked That Puppet Game Show

Personal highlights of mine are the grumpy crab in charge of the scoreboard, and the diva armadillo. A sentence I never expected to type...

Sarah Millican, Radio Times, 24th August 2013

BBC1 now offers three solid hours of breezy game shows on Saturday nights. None, though, offers a game as inspired as the "Life's a Speech" round inflicted by the puppets here on their guest celebrities. It's the one where contestants have to read a speech from an autocue, but with bits missing that they have to fill in on the fly.

I don't suppose Alex Jones will ever live down being unable to fill in the blank for the name of the President of the United States, while Jack Dee's devotion to mental arithmetic (he has to work out 425 divided by 25) is touching. Elsewhere, in the distractingly good backstage sections, music buff Eddie wants to ask Mancie out, mad scientist Dr Strabismus dons a dress, and there's a good throwaway gag about Fiona Bruce.

David Butcher, Radio Times, 24th August 2013

'That Puppet Game Show' attracts 2m for second episode

That Puppet Game Show continued with 2.03m viewers (11.5%) on Saturday (August 17), overnight data suggests. The BBC One show, which aired from 6.45pm, was down 340,000 from last week's debut.

Beth Hilton, Digital Spy, 18th August 2013

Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff and Gary "clean as a nun's undergarments" Lineker compete in the second instalment of the knockabout game show run by Jim Henson puppets. It's not high-concept, but it's surprisingly well-rounded; they've constructed a complete puppety world on and off stage.

Tonight's behind-the-scenes drama explores the anguish of modern working life and Labour policy under Clement Attlee. You don't get that on The Voice UK. Challenges include a whizz-bang game of ping pong, a singing sausages round featuring A-ha's synthpop classic Take On Me, and something overlong that involves bird calls and a big bucket. It's around this time that Freddie and Gary start to look, understandably, as if they might wander off to see what's happening backstage.

Emma Sturgess, Radio Times, 17th August 2013

That Puppet Game Show, co-produced by Muppet creators The Jim Henson Company, offers genuinely inventive games, lots of funny backstage banter, non-stop madcap energy, two authentic celebrities as contestants - Jonathan Ross and Katherine Jenkins in episode one - and a host of loveable puppet characters, including some singing Scottish sausages. Now that's what I call fun.

Harry Venning, The Stage, 16th August 2013

That Puppet Game Show is another attempt by BBC1 to create the next big weekend family entertainment programme and this time they've called in Jim Henson Productions for help. The company behind The Muppets have created a whole new set of puppet characters to front a game show which every week welcomes two celebrity guests who battle it out to win money for charity.

This first episode saw Jonathan Ross and Katherine Jenkins being the unwilling victims of host Dougie Colon and his team of experts. The challenges were all reminiscent of ones we've seen on The Generation Game or any of Ant & Dec's game shows. They included Ross and Jenkins attempting to squeeze hotdogs in the right order, punch themselves, give an awards acceptance speech and be observant while jumping up and down on a trampoline. The game show elements of the programme were counterbalanced by backstage skits involving the show's experts and producer Mancie O'Neil. The plot of this first episode saw the programme's boss Udders McGhee, who for some reason was a giant bull, forcing Mancie to fire one of the employees. Mancie's issue was that they were all as useless as each other and she had more than enough reasons to fire every single one of them.

It's easy to be cynical about a programme like That Puppet Game Show however I feel like it will appeal to families who want to watch TV together. I feel that the little kids will enjoy the games involving hotdogs, the teenagers will enjoy the jokes involving the weird creatures backstage and the adults will appreciate some of the ruder gags that fly over the heads of their children. As I'm not part of the target market for That Puppet Game Show, I found it hard to get into it but I rather enjoyed some of the games especially the awards acceptance speeches. Ross and Jenkins were both game guests who didn't seem to have an issue interacting with puppets and sort of had an attitude of 'we're both in this together'. Though the humour employed in the backstage skits was hit-and-miss, the gag ratio was high so if you didn't like one joke there was another one along in a minute. The programme was incredibly surreal at times, including a segment where a family at home was commenting on how they weren't being entertained by the show, but I felt it had its heart in the right place.

I thought that the programme never outstayed its welcome and the forty minute runtime suited it perfectly as it would definitely have run out of steam had it been given a full hour. Though it's not everybody's cup of tea, I do applaud BBC1 for at least trying something different and That Puppet Game Show is a thousand times more enjoyable than the horrendous I Love My Country. It will be interesting to see if the show will find an audience, early rating suggest that it didn't too well, but for now at least I would say that this was an entertaining piece of early-Saturday night programming that would more than appeal to its core audience.

The Custard TV, 16th August 2013

That Puppet Game Show review

For those of us who remember Kermit and the gang, That Puppet Game Show was very confusing indeed.

Arifa Akbar, The Independent, 12th August 2013

Well, That Puppet Game Show (BBC1) was twice as good as the woeful I Love My Country. Which meant it was still pretty much pants, as the idea of having a bunch of crazy puppet characters hosting a quiz show made for an interminably long 40 minutes.

This was an uninspired retread of Sesame Street (I admit, I never really got why that was so popular) with a pretty bland host called Dougie Colon (Vernon Kay, only half as tall) tickling the egos of guests Jonathan Ross and Katherine Jenkins as they joshed and giggled their way through yawn-worthy challenges.

Backstage, the puppet types were caught up in some kind of showbiz drama that was equally lame.

It's all for charity, that great get-out card for throwing any old mud at the screen and hoping some of it will stick. The best character was a crabby crab called Clive, called upon to keep the scores, who looked as disgruntled at being there as I did watching this mess. When does Strictly start?

Keith Watson, Metro, 12th August 2013