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Last Updated: Monday, 30 October 2006, 10:21 GMT
TV star Muffin the Mule turns 60
Annette Mills and Muffin the Mule
Muffin the Mule appeared on the BBC from 1946 to 1955
Muffin the Mule, the UK's first hit children's television character, is celebrating 60 years in the entertainment business.

The wooden puppet appeared in the BBC programme For the Children from 1946 to 1955, dancing on a piano played by host Annette Mills.

After a stint at ITV, the character returned in animated form to the BBC's CBeebies channel in 2005.

About 300,000 children tune in each week to watch the mule's adventures.

Muffin tributes

The BBC decided not to continue with the original series featuring Muffin the Mule when Mills, sister of the actor Sir John Mills, died in 1955.

The new Muffin the Mule
Muffin was given an animated make-over in 2005

Tributes have been pouring in for the children's character who appeared on television eight years before daily news bulletins were introduced.

Actress Dame Judi Dench said: "I remember how Sir John Mills was so incredibly proud of his sister Annette when Muffin became such a huge success - and rightly so."

June Brown, who plays Dot in EastEnders, said: "Muffin the Mule is one of the family and I am absolutely delighted that he's reached the grand old age of 60."

How the original Muffin the Mule puppet looks at 60

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