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It's time to play the music, It's time to light the lights, It's time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight

“When I was a kid, I never saw a puppet show. I never played with puppets or had any interest in them,” said Jim Henson, the creator of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzy Bear and the hundreds of other colourful characters of the Muppet Show’.

Mississippi-born Jim first developed the Muppets for a five-minute TV segment called Sam and Friends when he still was at college in the 1950s. From there, his Muppets started appearing on adverts.

Kermit and Oscar the Grouch got their first big TV break alongside Big-Bird, on the long-running educational show Sesame Street in 1969.

Between 1976 and 1981, millions of families settled down to enjoy the comic capers of The Muppets own variety show. Celebrity guests including Alice Cooper, Elton John, Diana Ross and John Cleese appeared on what was one of the most popular shows on TV, while Michael Caine loved taking on the role of Scrooge on the big screen, in The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Characters from Jim’s studio also featured in TV shows including Fraggle Rock and the films Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal.

The Muppets played a part in two memorial services held to celebrate Jim’s life when he died in 1990.

“Life’s like a movie. Make your own ending,” said Jim, whose aim in life had been “to leave the world a bit better than when I got here.”