The Ghost Of Faffner Hall

Louise Gold starred in the title role, on this music education TV Series, made at Tyne Tees Television’s studios in Newcastle, and broadcast on Tyne Television, broadcast from August/September to November/December 1989

 

Cast (Regular performers)

Louise Gold – as Fughetta Faffner, and other assorted characters

Mak Wilson – as Farkas Faffner, and other assorted characters

Richard Hunt – as Wild Impresario, and other assorted characters

Karen Prell – as Mimi, and other assorted characters

Mike Quinn – as Riff, and other assorted characters

Richard Coombs – as various assorted characters (each episode he did a different main character)

 

Additional Puppeteers

Phil Knowles

Angie Passmore

Bob Smeaton

 

Production Team

Writers – David Angus, Patrick Barlow, and, Jocelyn Stevenson

Director – Tony Kysh 

Art Director – Andy Walmsy

Designer Ashley Wilkinson

Production Company: Jim Henson Organisation & Tyne Tees Television

Executive Producers – Jim Henson and Trish Kinane

Producer - Jocelyn Stevenson

Broadcast on Thames Television on ITV, 16:40 to 17:10

Theme song – Mike Roberts (music) and Jocelyn Stevenson (lyrics)

Musical Director – Ed Welch

Animatronics – Steve Donald

 

Episodes

 

 1. Your Body Is An Instrument (broadcast Muppet Wiki says 11 September 1989, BFI says 16 August 1989)

Guests           Harkan Hardenberger (as a trumpet player)

Gary Karr (as a double base player)

Bobby McFerrin (as a musician who plays his body)

    

Writers – Jocelyn Stevenson, and, Patrick Barlow

 

2. Delighting In Sounds (broadcast Muppet Wiki says 18 September 1989, BFI says 23 August 1989)

Guests           Nigel Kennady (as post-room person and violin player)

Joni Mitchell (as a guitarist, singer, and Wild Impressorio’s First Love)

    

Writers – David Angus, and, Patrick Barlow

 

3. Sound Becomes Music (Broadcast Muppet Wiki says 25 September 1989, BFi says 30 August 1989)

Guests           Fish (aka Derek William Dick, frontman for group Marillion)

Mark Knopfler (as a guitarist)

Paddy Maloney (as a recorder player)

George Martin (as a pianist)

The Notting Hill Billies

    

Writers – David Angus, and, Patrick Barlow

 

4. Music Is More Than Technique (broadcast Muppet Wiki says 2 October 1989, BFi says 6 September 1989)

Guests           Julia Fordham (as a recording studio artiste)

Ry Cooder (as a janitor turned music teacher)

    

Writers – David Angus, and, Patrick Barlow

 

5. The Voice Is An Instrument (broadcast Muppet Wiki says 9 October 1989, BFI says 13 September 1989)

Guests           Thomas Allen (as Don Giovanni)

Electric Phoenix (as concert artistes)

Marion Montgomery (as a singing teacher)

    

Writers – Jocelyn Stevenson, and, Patrick Barlow

 

6. Reacting To Sounds (broadcast Muppet wiki says 16 October 1989, BFI says 20 September 1989)

Guests           HK Gruber (as a composer)

HK Gruber’s Orchestra (it’s a rather weird one)

Dizzy Gillespie (as a trumpet player)

    

Writers – Jocelyn Stevenson, and, Patrick Barlow

 

7. If You Can Play It, It’s An Instrument (broadcast Muppet Wiki says 23 October 1989, BFI says 27 September 1989)

Guests           Courtney Pine (as a door-to-door-salesman, selling saxophones)

David Sawyer (as a person who makes instruments out of scrap)

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra (as an orchestra)

Northern Symphonia (as the squeezed orchestra)

    

Writers – David Angus, and, Patrick Barlow

Music for Squeezed orchestra by Gordon McPherson

 

8. Improvised Music [ BFI database calls it Improvised Music, Muppet Wiki calls it Improvised Sound)] (broadcast Muppet Wiki says 30 October 1989, BFi says 4 October 1989)

Guests           Ladysmith Black Mambazo (as a group moving forward)

                      Gil Evans Orchestra (as improvisers and room measurers)

 

    

Writers – Jocelyn Stevenson, and, Patrick Barlow

 

9. Notation: The Sign That Gets The Sound (broadcast Muppet Wiki says 6 November 1989, BFi says 11 October 1989)

Guests           Asward

                      James Taylor

 

    

Writers – David Angus, and, Patrick Barlow

 

10. Discovering New Sounds (broadcast Muppet Wiki says 13 November 1989, BFI says 18 October 1989)

Guests           Thomas Dolby

                      Patrick Moraz

 

    

Writers – David Angus, and, Patrick Barlow

 

11. Music Brings Us Together (broadcast Muppet Wiki says 20 November 1989, BFI says 25 October 1989)

Guests           Youssou N’Dour

                      Steve Turre

                      Yomo Toro

 

    

Writers – Jocelyn Stevenson, and, Patrick Barlow

 

12. The Power Of Music (broadcast Muppet Wiki says 27 November 1989, BFT says 1 November 1989)

Guests           Como String Quartet

                      GAMELAN

                      Los Lobos

 

    

Writers – Jocelyn Stevenson, and, Patrick Barlow

 

13. Anyone Can Make Music (broadcast Muppet Wiki says 4 December 1989, BFT says 8 November 1989)

Guests           Michala Petri

                      Robin Williamson

 

    

Writers – David Angus, and, Patrick Barlow

 

For an account/review of the entire series of The Ghost Of Faffner Hall please click here.

Out of the show’s six main puppeteers three of them puppeteer left-handed. Two of them (Louise Gold, and, Mike Quinn) do so because they are left-handed; while Richard Coombs  (who is right handed) started off as a puppet-builder (and so was used to having his puppet on his secondary hand).

Richard Hunt and Louise Gold were among the eight main puppeteers on The Muppet Show, on which Karen Prell also puppeteered; And on which Dizzy Gillespie was also a Guest Star. In fact Louise Gold learnt her craft as a puppeteer on job on that programme.

Richard Hunt and Louise Gold appeared in The Royal Variety Performance (1977), and, in The All Time Get Around Sometimes Play Together Every Other Friday Night Vaudeville Show; their recording credits include The Muppet Show Music Hall, The Muppet Show 2, For What It’s Worth, The Muppet Show Music Album, The Great Muppet Caper (Soundtrack Album), John Denver And The Muppets A Christmas Together, John Denver & The Muppets Merry Christmas 45RPM, Jim Henson Presents Silly Songs, Muppet Music Sampler, Muppet Hits 1, Muppet Hits2, Born To Add, Elmo’s Lowdown Hoedown, The Count’s Countdown, Christmas For Kids, John Denver Christmas, and, Music Mayhem & More.

Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, and, Mike Quinn puppeteered on The Great Muppet Caper, and, The Muppets Go To The Movies.

Louise Gold Richard Hunt, Karen Prell, Mike Quinn, and, Richard Coombs puppeteered on the Tale Of The Bunny Picnic, which was also written by Jocelyn Stevenson.

Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, and, Karen Prell’s recording credits include Favourite Songs From Jim Henson’s Muppets, Put Some Zing In Your Spring, and, Muppet Music Mix.

Louise Gold, Richard Hunt, Karen Prell, and, Mike Quinn puppeteered at Jim Henson’s Memorial Service.

Louise Gold, Mak Wilson, and, Richard Coombs had previously puppeteered on Spitting Image, in fact Louise Gold was originally that programme’s Leading Puppeteer.

Louise Gold, and, Richard Coombs went on to puppeteer on The Spooks Of Bottle Bay, and, Alice In Wonderland (The Creature Shop was also involved with the latter).

Thomas Allen’s recording credits include The Best Of Broadway Musicals, Encore The Very Best From The Musicals, Great Duets From The Musicals, Cole Porter – Night And Day, The History Of The Musical, The Great Musicals – Glamour And Majesty, The Great Musicals – Dashing Heroes, Blushing Maidens, Magic Of The Musicals, and, Let’s Go On With The Show – Hit Songs From The West End & Broadway.

Marion Montgomery went on to appear in A Time To Start Living, where she sang a Rogers & Hart number. Funnily enough Louise Gold was also involved in singing another Rogers & Hart number in that gala.

Interestingly both Marion Mongomery and Louise Gold have played the role of Reno Sweeney in productions of the musical Anything Goes. It is worth reading David Munro’s comments about that.

Mak Wilson, Karen Prell, Mike Quinn, and Angie Passmore had previously puppeteered on Labyrinth, with which The Creature Shop was also involved, and Steve Donald also did some of the animatronics.

Louise Gold, Karen Prell, and, Mike Quinn went on to puppeteer on The Muppet Christmas Carol. Their recording credits include The Muppet Christmas Carol (Soundtrack Album), and, A Green And Red Christmas.

Angie Passmore also went on to puppeteer on The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Mike Quinn and Louise Gold had previously puppeteered on The Dark Crystal (with which The Creature Shop was also involved), and went on to represent The Dark Crystal in an item on Blue Peter. They had also puppeteered on the UK Outer Space segments for the International Fraggle Rock.

Louise Gold, Mak Wilson, Mike Quinn, and, Angie Passmore went on to puppeteer on Muppet Treasure Island.

Louise Gold, and, Mak Wilson went on to puppeteer on Mopatop’s Shop, with which Jocelyn Stevenson, and, Ed Welch were also involved.

Mak Wilson also puppeteered on the opening titles for The Animal Show.

Louise Gold, and, Mak Wilson also went on to puppeteer on The Furchester Hotel, once again both in major roles.

Thames Television also broadcast Julia And Company, and, The Bill.

Louise Gold, and, Mike Quinn went on to puppeteer on The Secret Life Of Toys, with which Jocelyn Stevenson was also involved.

Louise Gold, and, Richard Hunt had featured on the documentary Of Muppets And Men, on which Karen Prell also appeared.

Marion Montgomery went on to take part in CLIC’s 18th Birthday Celebration.

The Bill, Up The Garden Path, Abba The Reunion, Spitting Image Must See TV, ABBA  - The Mamma Mia Story, ITV’s 50 Greatest Shows, and, Coronation Street were all broadcast on ITV.

 

Critics Comments

 

 

Links about The Ghost Of Faffner Hall

Muppet Wiki entry for the programme: http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/The_Ghost_of_Faffner_Hall

The BFI Database’s entry for the programme: http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/series/18020

Internet Movie Database entry for the programme: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0370142/combined

Punch And Jewlry’s guide entry for the programme: http://www.punchandjewelry.com/legacy/sueguide.txt

Richard Coombs’s website’s section on the programme: http://www.richardcoombs.co.uk/grotbags.htm

Composer Mike Roberts’s showreel, which includes the programme’s theme song: http://www.childrenscomposer.co.uk/showreel.html

Yahoo TV’s entry for the programme: http://tv.yahoo.com/jim-hensons-ghost-of-faffner-hall/show/31397

Toonarific.com’s page for the programme http://www.toonarific.com/show.php?show_id=1447

Steve Donald’s page for the programme: http://www.stevedonald.com/faffnerhall.htm

RetroJunk’s page for the programme: http://www.retrojunk.com/details_tvshows/2003-the-ghost-of-faffner-hall/ (they seem to think it’s country of origin is the US!)

Joni Mitchell’s fansite’s Chronology http://www.jonimitchell.com/chronology/details.cfm?id=1617  (actually they’ve got it down as 1988 when it should be 89)

Mike Quinn’s website;s photographs from the programme (on his website): http://www.quinnzone.com/page5/page51/page51.html http://www.quinnzone.com/page5/page51/page52/page52.html (I couldn’t get the second one to work when I tried to view it)

Slowbabymusic.com (Gordon McPherson’s) website’s list of his works: http://www.slowbabymusic.com/works.html

Amazon.co.uk’s entry for a DVD of the programme http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jim-Hensons-Ghost-Faffner-Hall/dp/B0007KVE6M/sr=1-44/qid=1167779083/ref=sr_1_44/202-7444200-7228653?ie=UTF8&s=dvd  (apparently this is scheduled to be released in 2020 – yes two thousand and twenty! but can be pre-ordered now!)

Mark Knopfler’s resume on his website (mentioning his contribution to the programme) http://www.knopfler.net/screenplaying.html

The Artiste known as Fish (article about, mentioning his appearance of the programme) http://www.warsawvoice.pl/view/4975/

Kaladiscope Publishing’s Children’s Research Guide (the programme is mentioned in it): http://www.kaleidoscopepublishing.co.uk/books/chilist.htm

New York Times archive article mentioning the programme as forthcoming: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DEED9113FF934A35754C0A96F948260

Hit Entertainment Catalogue’s entry for the programme http://www.hitentertainment.com/hitcatalogue/faffnerhall.html  (apparently includes a clip from it)

TV Shows On DVD’s entry for the programme http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/showinfo.cfm?showID=8613

Play.com’s entry for the DVD: http://www.play.com/DVD/DVD/4-/577401/-/Product.html?searchstring=%22Faffner+Hall%22&searchsource=0 (they say it is due for release, but do not specify a date)

 

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