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Muffin rides again!

Swelling the ranks of revived classic kids characters like Basil Brush, Bill & Ben, Andy Pandy and Postman Pat, the next vintage kids series to be resurrected is the 1940s wooden puppet Muffin the Mule.

The BBC has ordered 26 ten-minute episodes based on the character from Maverick Entertainment, due for delivery in 2005. Unlike the original puppet show, the new series will be stop-frame animated, with Muffin and his pals Oswald the Ostrich, Willie the Worm and Mr Peregrin Esquire all now living in a city farm.

The BBC is promising a radical reworking of the 60-year-old nag, turning the black-and-white dancing mule into a {moral guardian{ for his coterie of farmyard chums. Production is due to start in July.

The new Muffin series will air on digital preschool channel CBeebies as well as during kids shows on the BBC's regular terrestrial channels. The original Muffin the Mule show (pictured) first aired in 1946, with the BBC claiming that he was the first ever kids TV character in the world.

The resurrection deal came after Maverick picked up Muffin rights earlier this year, and follows the indie's Snailsbury Tales rating well on CBBC last year. The production company is unrelated to the Birmingham-based factual and drama outfit Maverick Television.


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