Home > Children's Programmes > Whirligig > Joy Laurey
Puppet Maker and Puppeteer
Joy with Mr Turnip
Laurey was born the great grand daughter of the
famous Drury Lane clown Sam Laurey.
At the end of the war, Joy continued entertaining with puppets, although concentrating the focus on children's entertainment, performing regularly at such venues as the Lord Mayor's Children's Party held at the Mansion House London, appearing with the Laurey Puppet Company regularly for summer seasons at seaside resorts, and representing Britain in puppet festivals in countries such as Rumania.
During the early 50's Joy Laurey was offered an opportunity to make a puppet character for a one-off television show called "Whirligig". She made a puppet based on a vegetable, and it was named "Mr Turnip". The pilot show proved so successful that it went on to run for over 6 years and Mr Turnip was one of the very first television puppets ever to become a celebrity in his own right. Mr Turnip was so popular in his day that there was great demand for Mr Turnip toys, dolls, games and even toiletries such as Mr Turnip soap. Cardboard cut outs were printed on the back of cereal boxes and even fleecy material was printed with Mr Turnip on it for making children's pyjamas. The programme "Whirligig" was the first "magazine" type children's programme ever to be produced by the B.B.C. and featured appearances from many famous names such as: Humphrey Lestocq, Steve Race, Peter Butterworth, Francis Coudrill with his puppet "Hank", and Rolf Harris.
After the success of Mr Turnip and
"Whirligig" Joy Laurey was commissioned to make
a puppet character called Twizzle for A.P. films
produced by Gerry Anderson. Joy not only
made all the puppet characters for the 52 films that were
produced, but operated them with the assistance of Murray
Clark. "The Adventures of Twizzle"
films were shown on I.T.V. during the late 50's and
early 60's, and also appeared in childrens annuals as did
Mr Turnip and his friends.
About the Puppets
All the Whirligig television programmes starring Mr Turnip were broadcast live, so the Mr Turnip puppet had more strings than a conventional puppet in order to facilitate a wider range of movements including eye movements etc. The controls were, as Joy would call them, an aeroplane hand control, meaning that the control for the puppet looked very much like a aeroplane shape, the bar that went across the main handle was detachable and connected to Mr Turnip's arms and hands enabling a wide range of movements, and the shorter bar at the end of the control worked Mr Turnips legs and feet.
There were many other puppets characters that featured in the Mr Turnip Annuals that were made by Joy Laurey These included; Colonel Beetroot, Sarah Swede, and The Carrot twins. Unfortunately these puppets are no longer in existence.
There were two Twizzle puppets, one for the main shots walking about, sitting down etc and the other Twizzle puppet was the one with the extendable arms and legs, that was used for the action shots. The method for making the arms and legs extend was based on curtain rings in the puppet's arms and legs which when pulled made the limbs extend.
The above information and photographs supplied by Joy's daughter, Julie
Joy Laurey died on 2nd June 2014 aged 90
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