Rainbow’s Steamy Secrets: Puppeteer Recounts Drinking Abuse and Lewd Jokes


Rainbow’s behind-the-scenes action was far from family-friendly. Picture / File

The puppeteer behind Zippy from classic British children’s TV show Rainbow spoke about what happened behind the scenes.

While a show about a grown man who lives with two sentient puppets and a man in a bear suit may seem innocent, Ronnie Le Drew revealed that some of the off-camera behavior is far from it.

The series, launched in 1972, ran for 27 series and 1071 episodes and kids loved its three main characters: Bungle the teddy bear, George the hippo and Zippy, a yellow creature with a zipper for a mouth.

Speaking to the Daily Mail ahead of the release of his book Zippy and Me, Le Drew explained that the actors were heavy drinkers who liked to “get whipped” and arrange animals in sexual positions.

The Drew recalled how on one occasion an Archbishop was shown around the studio and found the crew laughing with “Zippy riding George, going hammer and claw”.

He also claimed that the show’s singer, Jane Tucker, was nicknamed “Miss Whiplash” because she opened her coat to show off a “leather S&M outfit” and asked Zippy to “play with her maracas”.

The Drew also claimed that the cast will place the models on the set of zoo and farm animals so that they are in sexual positions.

He says there was also a culture of heavy drinking, and the band regularly showed up drunk at rehearsals.

According to Le Drew, there was also jealousy on the show, as host Geoffrey Hayes was frustrated that his star was overshadowed by the puppets, who received more fan mail than he did.

“Geoffrey was afraid of being upstaged by Zippy and George,” Le Drew said.

Misbehavior behind the scenes at Rainbow will be nothing new to some after a 1979 recording, intended for a staff Christmas tape, was leaked in 1997.

The infamous episode of Twangers then became popular on You Tube and showed Geoffrey and the puppets engaging in a very risque conversation.

The long-running show was canceled in 1992, but has remained a cult favorite ever since.


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