Emu (puppet)

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EMU logo.jpg
The logo for the new series of Emu.
Created by Rod Hull
Portrayed by Rod Hull (1960's–1999)
Toby Hull (2003–present)
Species Emu
Gender Male

Emu is a puppet emu given to British entertainer Rod Hull in the 1960s while he was presenting a children's breakfast television programme in Australia. Hull adopted the mute puppet for his cabaret act, and took it with him to the United Kingdom when he returned in 1970.[1] The character was given a mischievous and sometimes aggressive onstage persona, attacking celebrity guests (and Hull himself) for comic effect. Hull and Emu also appeared on several episodes of The Hudson Brothers' comedy show in the United States.[citation needed]

UK Television career 1975-1989[edit]

During the 1970s, Hull and Emu achieved national fame in the UK with their BBC series Emu's Broadcasting Company. The duo subsequently moved to ITV where a succession of shows were produced in the 1980s centring around their ongoing war with Grotbags, a witch played by Carol Lee Scott.

Emu's New Series[edit]

The first episode of Emu's new series, simply called Emu, was broadcast on 8 October 2007. The plot centres around Emu and his owner, Toby (Toby Hull), a computer games designer as the pair move into a flat. However, there is a catch: Toby has to keep Emu a secret because of Ken Cole, a grumpy security guard with a severe disliking for animals (especially birds) who is always on the prowl. Toby's neighbours, two kids Charlie and Dani, help him to keep Emu a secret. Cole (referred to by Charlie and Dani as "Coley") always carries a little black book with him, and will put you in the book for even the slightest "offence" (such as skipping in the foyer).

Toby's other neighbour, Sophie, is the sole villainess of the show. She is an air hostess who becomes obsessed with making money off of Emu, but her plans always backfire on her. While Toby is oblivious to her true colours, Charlie, Dani, and Emu are fully aware of her evil nature. It seems Sophie's one great weakness is she can't bear to have anything getting stuck in her hair which will usually cause her to cry out, "Not the hair, not the hair!" before flying into a rage. She once tried to film Emu making a fool of himself so she could send the tape in to Animals Do the Stupidest Things, but Emu turned the tables on her, stole the tape, and sent it to People Do The Stupidest Things. Sophie later received a written complaint from her employer about her rude behaviour towards a passenger with a fear of flying, and was given twenty-four hours to turn over a new leaf. Emu learned of this, and after causing Sophie to lose her temper, quickly called her employer; Sophie was reduced to cleaning toilets.

At the end of the first series, Emu and Toby moved back to their own home in Australia. Emu helped to clean up the flat but released he will miss all the fun he had with his friends with Charlie and Dani.

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 his owner Toby (Toby Hull) has got a job in a cool kids cafe. He meets Kelly (Bryony Skillington) the Cafe Manager who does loses of crafty things with the customers with her special table the craft table. Also Kelly is allergic to birds especially Tobys Emu so Kelly must keep a fair distance away from Emu. She still adores Emu even though she's allergic to birds. Cafe kids Sam and Georgia are recent customers of the cafe as they only lived upstairs above the cafe. They are good friends with Emu and loved playing with him in the cafe and were more great fun to have an Emu as a friend. But all the gang must watch out for Leo Leach (Toby Leach) the town inspector who's strict with hygiene control, pest control, safety control and behaviour control. He will close the cafe down if an animal is found in the cafe as pets weren't allowed in the cafe so Emu had to be kept a secret from Leo. He's suspicious that Toby owns an animal. Leo's common phrases when he enters the cafe and sniffs is "I smell animal!" and also after he points to his nose and says "The nose knows, you know!" and then stairs griefly. When Leo does inspections he uses super future technology to detect any hygiene and when he inspects shelves the food falls down onto him and blames other people for it. Leo also does some revenge and tricks to try and close down the cafe altogether. Leo makes trouble by placing his mothers cat in the cafe to blame Toby and Kelly. He also paid a visit to the fancy dress party even though he hates the cafe but really he wants to do revenge by tracking down Emu and close the cafe although he was off duty.

Unexpectedly Toby's Uncle called Uncle Peter (Graham Heywood) turns up at the cafe unexpectedly by entering the cafe from the window by ladder and helicopter. Uncle Peter, full name Peter Piper, is a worldwide explorer in the series known for exploring places like Antarctica and Egypt and has an extordinary imagination. He try's lots of prophecies and magic to make sure wishes come true but not all Uncle Peters tricks come to plan. Espcially when he tried to make Leo adore birds too much and wants to have an Emu all the time.

Mrs Browne recent customer of the cafe is so posh and stuck up she believes that discipline and education is the key to a fine life. She's so stuck up that she's firm with Emus playing around in the cafe and wants to change his ways by sending him to Boot Camp for wayward wildlife for 6 weeks because of Emus playing around. Toby then realised that he liked Emu the way he is when he decided that grown up Emu was a bit of the ordinary. She is also Sams grandmother and also Emus, Sam and Georgia's schoolteacher. Mrs Browne has a little good relationship with Leo.

The first episode called "Apricot Antics" was broadcast on the 13th September 2009 on ITV1 at 9.45am, The Episode starts with Toby having a job interview with his awesome Apricot bars where Toby and met Kelly. Toby shows the Apricot bars but were soon confiscated from Leo due to Kelly's sneezing. Sam and Georgia told Toby to keep Emu hidden away as Leo can just sniff not just look. As Toby and Kelly were in conflict back in the kitchen emu made some fresh Apricot bars. The Second Series puppeteer was Nick Blake and the director was Danny Mulheron the same director of Paradise Café by the same company.

The first series was filmed in Belfast with shots at Queens Street Flats. The second series was filmed in Singapore with shots at South Bridge Road Chinatown buildings and was also more shots were filmed at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

It was shown on CITV with repeats until April 2014.

The programme was distributed to other countries and channels TVNZ in New Zealand Abc in Australia and Playhouse Disney now Disney Junior which it was also broadcast on in the US.

There was a Special Beak Week On the CITV Channel!


  1. ^ "Emu set for television comeback". BBC News. 2006-06-08. Retrieved 2006-06-08.