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Thursday, 12 July, 2001, 00:10 GMT 01:10 UK
Rainbow figures go under the hammer
George, Zippy and Bungle
George, Zippy and Bungle will feature in Christie's sale
Characters from the children's television series Rainbow are to be auctioned at Christie's.

The costume of Bungle the bear and the puppets of George the pink hippopotamus and Zippy are expected to fetch up to £3,000 on Thursday.


You would be amazed by the Rainbow fanatics out there

Presenter Geoffrey Hayes
Only four or five sets of these characters are thought to have survived from the ITV children's show.

The three characters are being sold by a fancy-dress shop owner who bought them during a studio clear-out in the 1980s.

Childhood memories

Former Rainbow presenter Geoffrey Hayes told the BBC he was unsurprised by the continuing popularity of the show that evoked happy memories for adults.

He said he thought the items would sell for double the catalogue price and that he intended to be at Christie's for the sale.

"You would be amazed by the Rainbow fanatics out there. I meet them nearly every day.

"They are people who grew up on Rainbow and are now in their 20s and 30s," he said.

The characters come with costumes, including a turquoise and silver tutu for Bungle and a superhero costume and mask for George and Zippy.

But Roy Skelton, who was the voice of Zippy and George, said he would have never anticipated the interest in the characters.

"I had an old one which was used for rehearsals which I gave to my children.

"They wrapped it around the hamster cage to keep the hamster warm and he ate most of it and then Zippy was used as bedding."

Cult toys

Also for sale is a range of cult TV and film- related toys, space toys and robots dating from the 1940s up to the present day, and valued from £200 to £20,000.

The highlight of the sale is expected to be a rare Diamond Planet Robot, valued at up to £20,000.

This large clockwork robot, the first of its kind to be offered at auction by Christie's, was produced by the Japanese company Yonezawa in the late 1950s.

Toys such as Barbie, Sasha, Action Man, Disney and Noddy will also feature in the sale.

Rainbow ran on ITV for 20 years from 1972 until 1992 when Thames Television lost its ITV franchise.

The format was revived twice for brief periods in the 1990s.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Voice of the Rainbow characters, Roy Skelton
"I always used to say Zippy was a cross between Margaret Thatcher and Ian Paisley"
See also:

30 May 01 | TV and Radio
Rainbow figures for sale
24 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Spock's ears up for auction
14 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Bond bikini sells for £35,000
13 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Spitting Image sale boosts charity
22 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Barbie stays on the shelf
17 May 99 | TV and Radio
Made in the 70s, still going strong
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