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benriggers780 posts since 19 Sep 2005
Meridian (South) Oxford
I do wonder why he was introduced, presumably Otos's puppeteer, Dave Chapman, wanted to move on but I don't know why they felt the need to directly replace the character with another straight away rather than wait for a bit then come up with something a bit interesting. But then going from Otis to something like Hacker would have jarred a bit


Presumably by 1999 they'd had puppet presenter(s) on a permanent basis since 1985 so it was probably tradition to have one, even if it was something as bland as that. Think he was dropped by the time the CBBC Channel launched and I don't think they had a puppet character again on the network until Oucho came along.

Of course Hacker wipes the floor with the lot of them in terms of durability, apparently ten years now he's been there, and Gordon the Gopher only racked up eight overall. Wiki suggests Basil Brush is the longest serving CBBC puppet but of course he was never a regular "presenter" like Otis, and he didn't start on the BBC anyway, Basil Brush was actually created for an ITV show.


I think Emlyn was dropped when CBBC did a 2-way split in late 2001 (Pre-School zone/older children zone)
"They don't want your name, just your number"
RDJ2,768 posts since 25 Oct 2003
Central (South) Midlands Today
Though the 2001 era of WoF only lasted for a short run, that run was repeated sporadically on ITV1 up until 2004.

Note the interesting Jenny Powell gag at the start of the second game.

Of course at this point ITV was becoming more centralised and therefore whereas the previous John Leslie 'mega-run' of hundreds of episodes survived purely on particular regions thirst for the show, schedules became normalised nationally so this was no longer possible. Also, SMG was slimming down itself so its own network productions came to a halt - as it was the same time that production of Fun House stopped too.

The rise in big budget prime time gameshows was also booming by this point too, so it was overshadowing the lower budget gameshows and ITV commissioners appetite for them diminished, who they no longer saw much of a future in them (Supermarket Sweep and Bruce's Price is Right amongst others all ended production at a similar time). Catchphrase and Family Fortunes survived, but only after being turned into cheap daytime fodder and they didn't last that much longer either.
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January 9th 1989 - December 3rd 2006
Inspector Sands13,904 posts since 25 Aug 2004

Presumably by 1999 they'd had puppet presenter(s) on a permanent basis since 1985 so it was probably tradition to have one, even if it was something as bland as that. Think he was dropped by the time the CBBC Channel launched and I don't think they had a puppet character again on the network until Oucho came along.

Did Otis come straight after Edd The Duck? I assumed there was a bit of a gap as there was after Gordon The Gopher.

I notice that BBC Worldwide had a hand (excuse the pun) in Emlyn, sounds like there was a commercial reason to replace Otis too
Neil Jones5,558 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today

Presumably by 1999 they'd had puppet presenter(s) on a permanent basis since 1985 so it was probably tradition to have one, even if it was something as bland as that. Think he was dropped by the time the CBBC Channel launched and I don't think they had a puppet character again on the network until Oucho came along.

Did Otis come straight after Edd The Duck? I assumed there was a bit of a gap as there was after Gordon The Gopher.

I notice that BBC Worldwide had a hand (excuse the pun) in Emlyn, sounds like there was a commercial reason to replace Otis too


Otis came to CBBC in 1994, Edd the Duck left in 1993.
But of course the puppets still appeared in some of the programmes and IIRC Gordon the Gopher, in addition to Going Live, also appeared in his own show in 1991 which was repeated off and on until 1995 so he was was still floating around to some degree on the network.

I think there were only three puppets presenters who ultimately got their own shows - Gordon, Oucho (with Ed Petrie) and Hacker. Otis did do the unique "CBBC on Nick" strand for a while but that isn't a "show" as such.
62305823,630 posts since 19 Aug 2005
The thing was it depended on who owned your local ITV area, for when WoF was broadcast in your area. During 2000 If you lived in Carlton or SMG areas you would get Wof every week day at 5.30 no questions asked. The other areas: Anglia, Border, Granada, Meridian, Tyne Tees, Ulster and Yorkshire aired the episodes at 2:40pm, and of course not during the summer. SMG liked to put out its local show in peak time around this era.. Again during 2001 except for Meridian, Yorkshire, Tyne Tees. The problem was Granada was getting its dirty hands on all of ITV and there wanted something else in that slot.

Let's be fair here ITV had half decent format filling up the time slots, during a period where its just lost Home and away and was still having trouble filling the 5pm arae. So what does it do bring in crossroads and not kept WoF to have a stable schdeul

Fun house was already axed in 1999 replaced with Twister which just never took off..

Though the 2001 era of WoF only lasted for a short run, that run was repeated sporadically on ITV1 up until 2004.

Note the interesting Jenny Powell gag at the start of the second game.

Of course at this point ITV was becoming more centralised and therefore whereas the previous John Leslie 'mega-run' of hundreds of episodes survived purely on particular regions thirst for the show, schedules became normalised nationally so this was no longer possible. Also, SMG was slimming down itself so its own network productions came to a halt - as it was the same time that production of Fun House stopped too.

The rise in big budget prime time gameshows was also booming by this point too, so it was overshadowing the lower budget gameshows and ITV commissioners appetite for them diminished, who they no longer saw much of a future in them (Supermarket Sweep and Bruce's Price is Right amongst others all ended production at a similar time). Catchphrase and Family Fortunes survived, but only after being turned into cheap daytime fodder and they didn't last that much longer either.
JAS844,130 posts since 26 Aug 2010
Yorkshire Look North (E.Yorks & Lincs)
Emlyn the Gremlin was such a bland generic character and coming after years of one that was a bit of a cheeky maverick he was never going to last long. I remember seeing the two of them being operated and the puppeteers matched the characters in terms of personality.

I do wonder why he was introduced, presumably Otos's puppeteer, Dave Chapman, wanted to move on but I don't know why they felt the need to directly replace the character with another straight away rather than wait for a bit then come up with something a bit interesting. But then going from Otis to something like Hacker would have jarred a bit
Wasn't even an original name. An early 90s Beano character was called Emlyn the Gremlin.
TIGHazard535 posts since 3 Jan 2014
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)

Presumably by 1999 they'd had puppet presenter(s) on a permanent basis since 1985 so it was probably tradition to have one, even if it was something as bland as that. Think he was dropped by the time the CBBC Channel launched and I don't think they had a puppet character again on the network until Oucho came along.

Did Otis come straight after Edd The Duck? I assumed there was a bit of a gap as there was after Gordon The Gopher.

I notice that BBC Worldwide had a hand (excuse the pun) in Emlyn, sounds like there was a commercial reason to replace Otis too


Otis came to CBBC in 1994, Edd the Duck left in 1993.
But of course the puppets still appeared in some of the programmes and IIRC Gordon the Gopher, in addition to Going Live, also appeared in his own show in 1991 which was repeated off and on until 1995 so he was was still floating around to some degree on the network.

I think there were only three puppets presenters who ultimately got their own shows - Gordon, Oucho (with Ed Petrie) and Hacker. Otis did do the unique "CBBC on Nick" strand for a while but that isn't a "show" as such.


And CBBC didn't even have puppets between 2002 and 2007.

Although Basil Brush, Tiny & Mr Duk, The Bungalow Cat and Nev the Bear ended up turning up in the studio so often to promote their respective shows they might have well as been CBBC puppets.
Steve in Pudsey10,347 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
I guess you could just about claim Saturday Aardvark as Otis's show? Yes it was just extended pres links with a bit more time for sketches and guests but they did try to make it into a show in its own right.

I know a lot of puppeteers prefer to work with a monitor that is flipped left to right, would Studio 9 and Pres A before it have been permanently rigged with this kind of monitor?
Write that down in your copybook now.
Inspector Sands13,904 posts since 25 Aug 2004
I'd have thought that would either be a setting on the monitor itself or something that could be done via the vision mixer.

I'm wracking my brain trying to remember what they did have in Studio 9. The puppeteers did have a special monitor but not because of anything technical, just because they needed one literally on the floor. I'm pretty sure this was a small monitor on a wooden angled frame with castors that was moved around to wherever needed.

They had a padded wooden plank on castors with a section that propped up at an angle which they lay on. I think that might have had a section at one end to put their monitor on as an alternative.
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 3 November 2019 11:33am