Do you remember Ollie, the Australian muppet who used to be on pay TV channel Nick Jr about eight years ago? Well, I do! My first son LOVED him. So why did he suddenly disappear? And why can’t we bring him back for good already?!
The orange Aussie
When my first son was little, he used to love various characters on kids’ TV shows, but one in particular that stands out in my memory, and that’s Ollie – the four-year-old orange-haired Aussie muppet. Ollie was Elmo’s cousin and had his own series of segments called Play Along with Ollie. The series first aired in 2004, but I didn’t see it until 2011. It featured him singing songs, talking and playing with small children or special guests.
Image credit: Muppet Wikki
My son and I were expecting to see Ollie make his global debut on ABC’s Sesame Street but then all of a sudden his segment disappeared – along with him. Why? I have NO idea. He was ripped off the air only a few months after we’d discovered him.
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Gone without a trace
Ollie was so cute, and it was great for Aussie kids who loved watching Sesame Street to see a muppet with the same accent as them! I get that there was probably contractual issues between the pay TV channel and the Sesame Workshop, but why couldn’t Ollie have found a home somewhere else? Or given a guest spot on Sesame Street or a short segment bit in between other shows on ABC Kids – right?!
Not just muppets
And it appears that it’s not just fun-loving fair dinkum fur-balls that disappear either. Parents and children were outraged after Fireman Sam favourite’s Italian shopkeeper, Bella Lasagne, didn’t make the cut when the show went CGI back in 2008. Absent over seasons 6-9, it wasn’t until the 10th series, years later (probably after a global petition asking for her reinstatement), that she made a guest appearance in the episode Pizza Pandemonium, where she casually explained to the other characters that she had moved to a new suburb. Pffft!
What the hoot?!
But there’s one show that’s NOT removing characters – instead, it’s gaining them as fast as gremlins would multiply in a swimming pool! And that’s ABC Kids’ Giggle and Hoot.
Yep, when my eldest was a baby, Jimmy Giggle originally had just the one owl-pal, Hoot, and now seven years later there are about 20 different friends and counting!
There’s Hootabelle (like a girl Hoot), Giggleosaurus, Mini-Hoot and Gigglepaws (the dinosaur, owl and cat toys of Jimmy, Hoot and Hootabelle), Hootoclaws (Santa owl), Captain Hootbeard (pirate), Hoot Pa (Hoot’s relative, I think), Giggle Fangs (a bat), Hootaluna (another girl owl), Hootogadget and Giggle Spikey (girl tech owl and toy dragon), the singing vegetables, Hootly (a small owl), Hoot Bot (robot owl?), Giggle Wings (butterfly), Giggle Bones (dog) and Mini Fangella (another bat).
I also thought I heard them mention a new alien character the other day too. Talk about cashing in on merchandising!
But seriously, bring back Ollie! Why can’t he be a new segment on ABC Kids or better yet, a regular on Sesame Street?! Let’s start the campaign now. And in the meantime, here’s a little reminder of Ollie’s furry goodness:
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