Belsize cameraman remembers Jim Henson and The Muppet Show
- Credit: Jeremy Hoare Collection
“When we went to shoot The Muppet Show it was always a good day.”
Belsize Park’s Jeremy Hoare, 80, holds fond memories of his time as cameraman for The Muppet Show from 1976 to 1980.
He worked with the show’s creator Jim Henson, the former Hampstead resident who died in 1990 aged 53.
To honour Henson’s connection with NW3, English Heritage plans to install a blue plaque outside the puppeteer’s former home at 50 Downshire Hill, where he lived from 1979 to 1990.
“I think it’s a really nice way to remember Jim,” Jeremy said.
“He was a really nice guy who was very dedicated and determined, as really successful people have to be.
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“He was really successful but he was very pleasant with it. Some really successful people are not pleasant, but Jim always was.”
One of Jeremy’s favourite memories is when Jim passed over the puppet character Kermit the Frog for him to have a go.
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“We were doing nothing at the time,” Jeremy recalled.
“I was standing at the back of the camera crane and there was Jim with Kermit, he always had the puppet with him.
“Suddenly he started talking to me as Kermit, so I had this conversation with Jim but of course the whole time I was talking directly to the puppet. It was really strange.
“Anyway this went on for a bit and then he suddenly took Kermit off and said ‘here have a go’.”
On another standout day, Jim asked the entire camera crew to have a stab at operating the Muppets, a sequence which ended up appearing in the opening titles throughout series three.
In 1976 The Muppet Show was racking up around 14 million viewers as it aired on Sunday evenings in the UK.
It went on to be broadcast in more than 100 countries and dubbed in five languages, with around 235 million people a week watching the show.
Jeremy pointed to the programme as one of the proudest periods of his career, having left school at 15 with no qualifications.
From 1956 he worked his way up at the production company ATV, beginning as a post boy in the mailing room on £3 a week.