Muffin the Mule was the first great star of children’s television in Britain. He made his television debut as a puppet in October 1946 with Annette Mills. No one is really sure about his origins but it seems he had been on the workshop shelves of the Hogarth Puppet Circus before being discovered by Mills to accompany her on the TV programme For the Children. He became such a popular feature on For the Children that in 1952 the programme was name after him and became Muffin the Mule.
Despite Mills’ death in 1955, Muffin continued alongside co-producer Ann Hogarth until 1957. In 2006 Muffin returned to the BBC for his 60th birthday. This time round Muffin is an animated character who lives on a farm and helps other animals get out of trouble.
Muffin is one of the earliest examples of the importance of television in creating demand for toys. Inspired by the TV programme, British children bought many Muffin toys and novelties, which had been licensed by Ann Hogarth and Annette Mills through the Muffin Syndicate. The most well known toy is this heavy die-cast string puppet made in the 1950s.