If one asked a random member of the British public who grew up during the 1980s and ‘90s to name the puppets they best remember seeing on TV, the chances are that it wouldn’t take them long to mention Orville the Duck and Emu.
Well, now, it is those very puppets that are going on sale at auction in London, with each of them expected to fetch as much as £10,000.
How did these legendary animal puppets become so famous?
The mischievous bird Emu will always be synonymous with the late comic Rod Hull. The duo proved a chaotic act, the puppet famously attacking celebrities during guest appearances and their own BBC series, Emu’s Broadcasting Company.
The likes of Michael Parkinson, Snoop Dogg and even the Queen Mother were all on the receiving end of Emu’s misbehaviour. Hull died at 63 years old in 1999, after falling off the roof of his cottage while attempting to adjust his TV aerial.
Orville, meanwhile, was a cheeky nappy-clad green duckling who featured regularly on British TV during the ‘80s and ‘90s, alongside late ventriloquist Keith Harris.
The puppet became a standout act on BBC programme The Keith Harris Show, and at the height of their popularity in the ‘80s, the pair even released a number of singles, including “Orville’s Song”, which reached number four in the UK Singles Chart.
In later years, Harris and Orville continued to appear as guests on such shows as Shameless and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. In 2013, Harris was diagnosed with cancer of the spleen, and he died two years later, aged 67.
Authentic puppets on offer to bidders
The Orville puppet that will go on auction was purchased from Harris in the early 2000s, and has been described by the Bonhams auction house as “an original puppet owned and used” by the ventriloquist during his career.
Meanwhile, the Emu puppet is sold as “the original puppet owned and used by Rod Hull during his television and stage career”, having been acquired from his estate in the early 2000s.
The puppets each have a guide price of £8,000, and will go on sale on Tuesday 17th December.
But if your own pockets aren’t quite that deep...
...don’t worry, because as ever here at Puppets By Post, we’re continuing to offer great deals on puppets over the festive season – for parents, guardians, schools, puppetry enthusiasts and professional puppeteers alike.
With the best in animal hand puppets, character hand puppets, Christmas-themed puppets and full body puppets – to name just some of our latest available additions – on sale in our store right now, Puppets By Post is the only store to which you may need to turn for great-quality, well-priced puppets this winter. And don’t forget that if you order more than £10 worth of goods in one go, we’ll even deliver them for free!