BBC puppetry up for grabs at Vectis

22 June 2020
Collection of original BBC TV props and ephemera from the children’s show Whirligig to go under the hammer.
BBC puppetry up for grabs at Vectis Images

Featuring in the 23rd June TV and Film Related sale at Vectis Auctions, is a collection of original BBC TV props and ephemera from the Children’s Show Whirligig.

Whirligig was first broadcast in 1950; a new children’s programme that soon became a huge success. The show ran for 6 years and aired fortnightly in a prime-time 5pm Saturday evening slot. The show featured Mr Turnip, a vegetable-based puppet who became a celebrity in his own right. He had toys, dolls, games, and even toiletries made in his name, as well as being made children’s “Man of the Year” in 1951.
Mr Turnip was created and operated by renowned puppeteer Joy Laurey. As the show was broadcast live Mr Turnip had many more strings than a conventional puppet, allowing for a greater range of movement by Joy.

The original, fully operational, Mr Turnip puppet prop is featuring in the Vectis sale on the 23rd June 2020. He is accompanied by original scripts, including one dated 25th November 1950 – the first time the show was aired; plus working notes from Joy, studio floor plans, contracts, photographs and correspondence.
Other Whirligig items include printers proof mock-up annuals, Mr Turnip and Whirligig annuals, and puppet related literature....Some very interesting reading!
Also in the collection are two further puppets created by Joy; Septimus and Phoebe, the puppets were designed and created for the show The Adventures of Septimus. The show, which was not televised, was intended for Anglia Television and was about a stone gargoyle boy who comes to life and is capable of time travel. This unique lot also includes letters, sketches and photographs of the intended show.
Another show, which Ms Laurey was commissioned for, and which was subsequently produced, was The Adventures of Twizzle. “Twizzle” was produced by Gerry Anderson and AP Films during the late 50s early 60s, the puppet, Jiffy The Broomstick Man, was created by Joy using images created by Roberta Leigh, these original hand coloured illustrations are available within this fascinating collection.
The catalogue is now online at and these lots can be found between Lot 316 – 330.

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For further information on any of the lots in this collection or in this sale please contact Kathy Taylor on 01642 750616 or email [email protected]