Watch out, Parkie - Hull's son is bringing back Emu

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The Independent Online

Michael Parkinson will be cowering behind his black leather chair. Emu is back.

The mute, irrationally aggressive hand puppet, star of such Seventies and Eighties children's television classics as Rod Hull and Emu, EBC (Emu's Broadcasting Company) and Emu's World, will return to the small screen, this time wielded by Rod Hull's son.

The 26-episode sitcom for children will be broadcast on CITV next year and is made by Endemol, the company behind Big Brother.

Toby Hull, a 28-year-old actor, has spearheaded the comeback, appearing with Emu in pantomimes and children's shows.

The days when Rod and Emu attracted audiences of more than 11 million seemed finished after Hull died in 1999, aged 63, falling off the roof of his house while fixing the television aerial. By that time, Hull had come to loathe the national institution he created. It made him a multimillionaire but he lost his money and went bankrupt in 1994.

Emu's attack on Parkinson in 1977 has entered the annals of television infamy. The bird, which Hull found in a props room, had become famous for its belligerent pecking of guests. But the attack on the chat show host was particularly savage.

Parkinson has lamented the likelihood viewers will remember him for "that bloody bird" and not for higher profile interviewees. However, when Hull died, his tributes were warm: "He was a very charming, intelligent and sensitive man - quite unlike the Emu."

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