The firm was on the verge of extinction itself until it discovered that the old television series still has many exploitable fans. Britain's largest toy retailer, Toys 'R' Us, ordered 20,000 wooden puppets.
Higgi Cox, managing director of Pelham Puppets in Calne, Wiltshire, has found that there are some things the local unemployed will not do. There are 3,000 people on the dole in the town and Ms Cox has failed to persuade any to come and help to string her puppets.
'We need at least a dozen people but men don't seem to want to work with puppets. It's ridiculous . . . You would think they would be queuing up at the door, but sadly for us they're not,' she said. This sounds like a job for International Rescue.