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What's on the telly? Part four: The Muppet Show

Updated: May 24, 2022

The Muppet Show was one of my favourite programmes as a child – and, to be honest, it still is.

The humour is so closely aligned with the Goon Show, it is no wonder that both Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan were asked to appear – and stole the show by out-muppeting the Muppets.

Sellers was the guest for episode 19 of the second series, broadcast on New Year’s Day 1978. His chameleonic acting skills and love of the ridiculous are perfectly suited to The Muppet Show, as typified by this sketch: “There used to be a me, but I had it surgically removed.”

Sellers was quite musical in this episode too, appearing as a gypsy violinist and an Amish singer.

Spike’s episode – first broadcast in the US on 2 March 1979 – has more limited availability as its international theme means some jokes and portrayals of people from different countries have not aged well. This a shame, because Milligan is in excellent form. He thoroughly outrages Sam the Eagle (“Leave the stage? You didn’t think I was going to take it with me, do you?”) and baffles/batters the newsreader.

Goon Pod has a really good episode on The Muppet Show and its Goon links, with guest Manning Krull, a Muppets fan and Goon Show newbie.

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