BBC1 to launch new Muppet Show for Saturday nights presented by a puppet modelled on Vernon Kay

That Puppet Game Show, hosted by Dougie Colon, will feature a range of new characters designed by the Jim Henson Company
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A puppet game show host from the creators of The Muppet Show will today be unveiled as the BBC’s new face of Saturday night entertainment.

Dougie Colon - pronounced Cologne - has been designed by The Jim Henson Company for a new BBC1 series That Puppet Game Show, which will see the felt character joined by star contestants including Jonathan Ross, Richard Hammond and Jack Dee.

Dougie has been loosely based on the presenter Vernon Kay, who will be among the well-known figures to appear in the series.

It marks a return to prime-time television stardom for the Muppet crew after more than three decades.

The BBC commissioned the Henson Company, the team behind Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo and the rest of the puppet creations, to create a range of new characters for the show.

However Dougie does bear a marked resemblance to Guy Smiley, the Muppet game show host who featured in children’s series Sesame Street.

In the new show, two celebrities - the only two humans to appear in the programme - will go head-to-head in a number of games with the hope of winning £10,000 for their chosen charity.

While Dougie hosts the 45-minute show, there will be different puppets running each of the games.

Like The Muppet Show, there will also be a backstage sitcom running simultaneously featuring the likes of producer Mancie and the bullish show boss Udders McGhee.

The original Muppets hosted their own all-star comedy show on ITV for five years ending in 1981. They found a new lease of life in the 2011 Hollywood film The Muppets which reunited the old gang.

Dougie said: “I can’t wait to get stuck in to the new show. We have a whole host of celebs joining us and I can honestly say that they will have never have seen anything like this before.”

Other stars lined up for the series include Gary Lineker, Katherine Jenkins and Freddie Flintoff. Strictly Come Dancing host Tess Daly will also guest and come face to face with the character based on her real-life husband. The series will be screened later this year.