Says Marcus Clarke, "I couldn't get cast as a
puppeteer when I first took it up so 1986 I hit
upon the absolutely brilliant idea of getting my
own TV Show and then casting myself as the main
I phoned puppeteer
Nigel Plaskitt, whom I had met while in the
original West End Stage version of Little Shop of
Horrors, experienced and well known on the British Television
puppetry scene (Hartley Hare) and I asked him how I
"got my own TV show"?
He replied 'dear
boy if I knew that I wouldn't be......
all I can suggest is that you write to all the
heads of children's television.
I put the phone
down and straight away listed all the TV Heads
addresses from my copy of Spotlights Contacts and
I spent that weekend typing up a TV programme idea
It was about a
bunch of Dog Puppet characters living in a House
share run by a Theatrical Landlady.
You know what they
say, Write about what you know.
drawn and sculpted I decided to actually make most
of the puppets myself too so I could add photo's
of them. With Helena's help we made them all.
These were the first Puppets we made and a few
years later we formed Hands Up Puppets to make
"Off it all went!
Alan Horrox, Head of children's
programmes at Thames TV was the only person
He put my programme idea and puppet
characters together with a brilliant writer
Nigel Plaskitt was pleased to subsequently
work on the show as the puppeteer to 'Big
I played the central puppet character
'Hotdog' of course and got the best
puppeteers I could to play all the other
puppet characters as I wasn’t that good a
puppeteer myself at the time.
This not only made the Puppets and the Show
look good but gave me the opportunity to
learn at first hand from the best puppeteers
David Stafford was the real Star though and
he wrote the most wonderfully funny scripts.
'Hotdog' was commissioned as a Children's
Entertainment Series for the ITV Network and
ran as a popular favourite until Thames lost
it's franchise in 1990.
Underdog now lives in Hollywood.
The Hotdog Series Director Leslie Pitt now
Produces and Directs 'The Softies." Hotdogs
in a box.
re-aquired the rights to my Hotdog
TV Series with a view to Producing
a new and revamped version. We'll