Emu's TV programmes

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Emu
GenreChildren's television
Created byRod Hull
Written byRod Hull
Directed byColin Clews (ITV shows)
Presented byRod Hull
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Production company(s)Central Independent Television, BBC
Release
Original networkITV Network (CITV), BBC

Emu is a British television puppet, modelled on the Australian flightless emu bird and operated by the performer Rod Hull. After appearing on a number of variety shows, he was given his own television series on the BBC, then on ITV.

Cast[edit]

  • Rod Hull (Emu)
  • Carol Lee Scott (Grotbags)
  • Susan Maughan (Princess Hortensia)
  • Carl Wayne (Odd Job John)
  • Freddy Stevens (Robot Redford)

The Pink Windmill Kids[edit]

The Pink Windmill Kids were all students from the Corona Stage School.

Name Join Caption
Joe Greco 1982–1986 Emu's World Series 2, 4, 5, Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 1, 2, 3
Debbie Harper 1982–1986 Emu's World Series 2, 3, 4, 5, Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 1, 2, 3
Emma Whitlock 1982–1985 Emu's World Series 2, 3, 4, 5, Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 1 & 2
Hugh Harper 1982–1984 Emu's World Series 2, 3, 4, 5, Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 1
Catrina Hylton 1982–1984 Emu's World Series 2, 3, 4, 5, Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 1
Lorraine Plummer 1982–1984 Emu's World Series 2, 3, 4, 5, Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 1
Anthony Hosier 1982–1984 Emu's World Series 2, 3, 4, 5, Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 1
Sarah Jeffs 1982–1984 Emu's World Series 2, 3, 4, 5, Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 1
Daniel Chamberlain 1982–1984, 1986 Emu's World Series 2, 3, 5, Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 3
Emma Louise 1982–1984 Emu's World Series 2, 3, 4, 5
Natalie Pennington 1982–1984 Emu's World Series 2, 3, 4, 5
Kate Hayden 1982–1984 Emu's World Series 2, 3, 4, 5
Spencer Roberts 1983–1985 Emu's World Series 3, 4, 5, Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 1 & 2
Sarah Stone 1983, 1986–1989 Emu's World Series 3, 6, Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 3, Emu's Wide World, Emu TV
Abbie Shilling 1984–1989 Emu's World Series 5, 6, Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 1, 2, 3, Emu's Wide World, Emu TV
Kelly Rossiter 1984–1989 Emu's World Series 5, 6, Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 2, 3, Emu's Wide World, Emu TV
Tammy Smallworth 1985–1988 Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 2 & 3, Emu's Wide World
Peter Davies 1985–1986 Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 2 & 3
Daryl Peck 1986–1988 Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show Series 3, Emu's Wide World
Giannie Fuccio 1987–1989 Emu's Wide World, Emu's World Series 6, Emu TV
Danny Hosier 1987–1989 Emu's Wide World, Emu's World Series 6, Emu TV
Claire Stock 1987–1988 Emu's Wide World, Emu's World Series 6
Nicholas Pinnock 1987–1988 Emu's Wide World, Emu's World Series 6
Tiffany Reed 1988–1989 Emu's World Series 6, Emu TV

BBC[edit]

Emu's Broadcasting Company[edit]

Emu's Broadcasting Company (1975–1980) is a children's television series featuring Rod Hull and Emu running their own television station, which parodied many BBC series of the time. Supporting Rod Hull and his emu puppet were Billy Dainty who played a James Bond pastiche called Captain Perceval and Barbara New who played the tea lady.

Transmissions[1][edit]

  • Series 1: 6 editions from 18 November 1975 – 23 December 1975
  • Series 2: 6 editions from 12 November 1976 – 17 December 1976
  • Series 3: 6 editions from 10 October 1977 – 14 November 1977
  • Series 4: 8 editions from 26 October 1978 – 14 December 1978
  • Series 5: 8 editions from 2 December 1979 – 27 January 1980
  • Christmas Special: 24 December 1977

BBC Specials[edit]

Rod and Emu became staples of early-evening variety entertainment on or around Bank Holidays, and the following one-off specials were made for the BBC:

  • Emu's Blackpool Walkabout: 29 August 1977 (30 Minutes)[2]
  • Emu's Cornish Walkabout: 28 August 1978 (30 Minutes)[3]
  • Emu's Scottish Walkabout: 27 August 1979 (35 Minutes)[4]
  • Emu's Magical Music Show: 27 December 1980 (35 Minutes)[5]
  • Emu's Magical Christmas Show: 27 December 1981 (35 Minutes)[6]
  • Emu's Magical Easter Show: 12 April 1982 (35 Minutes)[7]

Rod and Emu's Saturday Specials (BBC)[edit]

  • Series 1: 6 editions from 1 January 1983 – 5 February 1983[8]

The Rod & Emu Show (BBC)[edit]

  • Series 1: 6 editions from 28 January 1984 – 10 March 1984[9]

ITV[edit]

Emu's World[edit]

In 1981, Rod Hull was offered the opportunity to make a series for younger children by the newly-awarded ITV franchise Central Independent Television. This led to the birth of the Pink Windmill in which Rod and Emu lived, the green witch named Grotbags (played by the singer and comedienne Carol Lee Scott), and her hopeless assistant Croc. The premise of the show was simple: each week Grotbags attempted to steal Emu so that, once captured, (in Grotbags's own words) she would be able to use its "special powers" to control all the "brats" in the world. Children from the Corona Theatre School—referred to collectively as the Pink Windmill Kids—were on hand to offer protection and break into one or two song and dance routines per episode.

The show featured Rod Hull's chanted catchphrase "There's somebody at the door, oh, there's somebody at the door" every time a visitor rang the doorbell of the Pink Windmill—which 'sneezed' loudly when pressed.

Transmission[edit]

  • Series 1: 6 editions from 5 January 1982 – 9 February 1982
  • Series 2: 6 editions from 20 October 1982 – 24 November 1982
  • Series 3: 6 editions from 2 March 1983 – 6 April 1983
  • Series 4: 6 editions from 7 September 1983 – 12 October 1983
  • Special: Emu's World at Christmas – 21 December 1983
  • Series 5: 6 editions from 9 March 1984 – 13 April 1984
  • Special: Emu at Easter: 20 April 1984

Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show[edit]

The success of Emu's World led to the series being expanded in mid-1984 from 20-minute to 42-minute episodes and re-branded as the Pink Windmill Show. The target age range was broadened, and the programme now featured viewer phone calls, a studio audience, games such as one in Grotbags's grotto based on the format of the "take the money or open the box" segment of Take Your Pick!, the Post Office (for viewers to send their letters and pictures), and Boggle's Kingdom—a mini-series featuring Rod's ancestor who is trapped in Tudor times. A subsequent addition was the Twin Schools section, which aimed to pair British schools with similar ones in Australia, Canada, or the US.

The singing and dancing of the Pink Windmill Kids was retained, extra character Robot Redford introduced, and the show in this format achieved enormous popularity (evidenced by being broadcast in the coveted Children's ITV slot of last thing on a Friday). Three series were broadcast live from 1984 to 1986 (despite the third run dropping "All Live" from the title), and in 1987 two series of Emu's Wide World were made. These followed a similar formula to the Pink Windmill Shows, but were pre-recorded, resulting in the phone-based Spin Quiz being replaced by Emu's Bargain Basement—an obstacle course in a supermarket. A final series of Emu's World aired in 1988, which retained Boggle's Kingdom and introduced an outdoors obstacle course despite being cut to a 20-minute run time. All series were produced and directed by Colin Clews for Central Independent Television and broadcast from the now-defunct East Midlands Television Centre in Nottingham.

A clip from the very first live episode, which saw the Pink Windmill Kids enthusiastically introducing themselves before launching into a rendition of the song "Can't Stop the Music", became an Internet meme in late 2016, and, not long after, all but Spencer, who was unavailable for filming, reunited to remake the segment for 2017's Comic Relief.[10]

Transmission[edit]

Emu's All Live Pink Windmill Show

  • Series 1: 7 editions from 13 July 1984 – 24 August 1984
  • Emu at Christmas – 25 December 1984
  • Series 2: 13 editions from 12 April 1985 – 5 July 1985

Emu's Pink Windmill Show

  • Series 1: 10 editions from 14 February 1986 – 25 April 1986
  • Emu at Easter – 29 March 1986 (repeat of 1984 special)
  • Emu at Christmas – 26 December 1986 (repeat of 1984 special)

Emu's Wide World

  • Series 1: 9 editions from 3 April 1987 – 5 June 1987
  • Series 2: 8 editions from 3 November 1987 – 4 January 1988

Emu's World

  • Series 6: 13 editions from 12 May 1988 – 4 August 1988

EMU-TV[edit]

Following the demise of Emu's World, Rod Hull went to Canada and recorded a single series of EMU-TV, based heavily on his earlier Emu's Broadcasting Company series. His co-stars this time were Murray Langston and Carolyn Scott, while Les Foubracs made regular guest appearances. These episodes were brought back to the UK and re-edited for a British audience by Central Independent Television, with a small number of additional segments featuring Grotbags and the Pink Windmill Kids also being shot.

Episode 5 of this series features future England international footballer Emile Heskey running an obstacle course and accidentally being called "Emily".[11]

Transmission[edit]

  • Series 1: 22 editions from 15 March 1989 – 20 September 1989

Rod 'n' Emu[edit]

Emu[edit]

The first episode of Emu's new series, simply called Emu, was broadcast on 8 October 2007. The first series was filmed in Belfast with shots at Queens Street Flats. The plot centres around Emu and his owner, Toby (Toby Hull), a computer games designer. Toby has to keep Emu a secret from Ken Cole, a grumpy security guard. Toby's neighbours, children Charlie and Dani, help him to keep Emu a secret. Toby's other neighbour, Sophie, is the villainess of the show: an air hostess who becomes obsessed with making money off of Emu, but her plans always backfire on her. At the end of the first series, Emu and Toby moved back to Australia.

In June 2009, it was announced that a second series of the show with 26 episodes was produced by the Gibson Group a New Zealand film and broadcast company. Most of the cast was done by New Zealand actors. The plot in the second series is where Toby has a job in a kids' cafe. He meets Kelly (Bryony Skillington), the cafe manager, who is allergic to birds, especially Emu, although she still adores Emu. Cafe kids Sam and Georgia live upstairs above the cafe. They are good friends with Emu. They all must watch out for Leo Leach (Toby Leach), the town inspector who is strict with pest control; he will close the cafe down if an animal is found.

The first episode of the second series was broadcast on 13 September 2009 on ITV1 at 9:45am. The second-series puppeteer was Nick Blake and the director was Danny Mulheron the same director of Paradise Café by the same company. The second episode was broadcast on the same day as well.

It was shown on CITV with repeats until April 2014.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Search Results - BBC Genome". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Emu's Blackpool Walkabout". 25 August 1977. p. 26. Retrieved 18 December 2018 – via BBC Genome.
  3. ^ "Emu's Cornish Walkabout". 24 August 1978. p. 28. Retrieved 18 December 2018 – via BBC Genome.
  4. ^ "Emu's Scottish Walkabout". 23 August 1979. p. 33. Retrieved 18 December 2018 – via BBC Genome.
  5. ^ "Emu's Magical Music Show". 18 December 1980. p. 60. Retrieved 18 December 2018 – via BBC Genome.
  6. ^ "Emu's Magical Christmas Show". 17 December 1981. p. 67. Retrieved 18 December 2018 – via BBC Genome.
  7. ^ "Emu's Magical Easter Show". 8 April 1982. p. 37. Retrieved 18 December 2018 – via BBC Genome.
  8. ^ "Search Results - BBC Genome". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Search Results - BBC Genome". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  10. ^ Vice Staff (28 February 2017). "The Dancing Pink Windmill Kids Have Recreated That Viral Video as Adults". Vice. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  11. ^ Adam Shergold (3 October 2012). "Emile Heskey on the Rod Hull and Emu Show | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2 August 2013.

External links[edit]