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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April, 2003, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
Muffin the Mule to return
Muffin the Mule with Annette Mills
The original Muffin was a wooden puppet
Muffin the Mule, one of the most popular children's TV characters of all time, is being revived by the BBC to mark its 60th anniversary.

Twenty-six 10-minute episodes featuring an animated version of the nodding 1940s puppet have been commissioned for 2005.

Muffin was the first ever children's TV character, making his debut on a show called For the Children in October 1946.

Production company Maverick Entertainment has bought the rights to Muffin, and will unveil its radical reworking in two years' time.

Muffin the Mule
Muffin will be reunited with his old friends
He will be reunited with his old friends Oswald the ostrich, Willie the worm, Mr Peregrine Esquire and Louise the lamb.

Muffin started life as a wooden animal dancing on a piano with host Annette Mills during his first appearances from 1946 to 1955.

Now he will live on a city farm and act as a kind of moral guardian to the other animals - in a "proper structured environment", according to a BBC spokeswoman.

"He will be brought right up to date and will be radically different for a 21st century audience."

The show will air on terrestrial children's shows and on pre-school digital channel CBeebies, home of favourites such as Bob the Builder and Teletubbies.

After Muffin's early run until the mid-1950s, repeats went on to become a hit on the BBC series Watch With Mother in the 1950s and 1960s.

Other children's favourites of the era, such as Andy Pandy, Bill and Ben and Basil Brush, have also been resurrected and reworked for a new audience.

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