dapper bunny in a part-tuxedo, Billy Nibbles was the manic co-presenter
BBC Bristol's "The Animal Magic Show".
The human host was the equally-manic
Dominic Wood, who still presents regularly for
BBC and CBBC. In 1998, he
was proffered to us as a youthful illusionist
and magician, with a leaning
towards ridiculous costumes and exuberant
The production itself was a twist on a familiar
theme and title. Each week we'd
see footage of animals working their natural magic
in the wild, capturing prey,
avoiding enemies, dining, tracking, etc. "Dom"
and his puppet assistant would
then perform "crazy" tricks and illusions
following the theme of the footage,
together with a smattering of theatrical skits
Billy regularly had the upper hand over his "wacky"
human friend. He'd subvert
Dominic's tricks, and undermine his daft routines
- for which many viewers were
eternally grateful. But alas, he never made
"Dom" disappear from our televisions.
Indeed, Dominic has progressed to full-blooded
CBBC stardom with his human
presenter pal Dick in "Da Bungalow"and
beyond . Billy Nibbles did disappear
though, departing when the series came to the end
of its run.
Billy was constructed by Neil Sterenberg,
who's put together numerous famous
puppet characters over the years. And that
rabbit was operated by Brian Herring,
a busy chap who has brought characters to
life in "The Hoobs", "Mopatop's Shop",
"Construction Site", "Muppet Treasure
Island" and more.
The series title is, of course, a twist on
"Animal Magic" the long-running BBC
Bristol production from tea-times past featuring
the unforgettable Zookeeper
Billy follows in the footsteps of the likes
of Ali Cat, who was doing much
same thing back in the 1970s...
Neil Sterenburg has put together lots
of famous puppets over the years...
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