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Toonhound presents...






It's A Puppet!

Gilbert the alien

   small spacer
Gilbert the Alien  (1986-1994)

       puppet: hand puppet
       creator: Phil Cornwell
    operator: John Ecclestone 

/ GET FRESH / Tyne Tees
    1989 / GILBERT'S FRIDGE / Tyne Tees
    1990 / GILBERT'S LATE / Tyne Tees
    1994 / AN AFTERNOON ON THE MOON / BBC special



Gilbert the snot-tastic acerbic green alien from Drill landed on earth in the
    Summer of 1986. He was one of the co-presenters of Tyne Tees' Saturday
    morning kids show "Get Fresh". Gilbert presented snot-infested sketches,
    antics and escapades alongside his human pals Gareth Jones (aka Gaz Topp)
    and Charlotte Hindle, and his gabbled, gooey ways made him an instant hit
    with kids big and small. His stream of nonsense was as relentless as the
    trails of green snot which spilled from his big red nose.

    Gilbert was created and voiced by comedian Phil Cornwell, who is currently
    starring in the top BBC series "Dead Ringers. In a BBC online interview a wee
    while back, he had this to say about his big green friend:

      "Very very fond memories of Gilbert. It was a break for me in
       my career, in a way, and it enabled me to play to my strengths,
       which was improvisation. And I was basically given carte blanche
       and I was told I could say what I liked - I made it up as I went
       along. I have very fond memories of having a go at popstars
       of the day and trying my best to puncture a few egos.
       Somebody should have punctured mine!"

   The Hound reckons Gilbert and Phil look vaguely alike, if you squint a bit!
    After "Get Fresh", young Gilbert was given two further bites of the celebrity cherry
    in the form of "Gilbert's Fridge" - which co-starred Charlotte Hindle again - and

    a little-seen late-night chat show for Tyne Tees called "Gilbert's Late". In 1994
    he was dusted down one last time for a BBC afternoon special celebrating the
    25th anniversary of the moon landing. And in an eerie bookend to his earthbound
    career, the production was hosted by his old pal Gaz Topp.

    » Notice the hand of puppeteer John Eccleston somewhere in Gilbert's nether
        regions. John also helped bring those tricksy Leprechauns to our screens,
        amongst many others.

» Gilberteers should keep their eyes open for copies of the short-lived "Gilbert's
        Fridge" comic, and a tie-in book entitled "Gilbertís Guide to Life".


     On the web


       Paul Morris writes about "Get Fresh", Gaz Top
       and Gilbert here...

       Gareth Jones.TV

       You can "Get Fresh"again with Gaz and
       Gilbert here too...

      index »    previous »   next »

© Phil Cornwell / F2006