Des O'Connor Entertains was a variety show from the United Kingdom, hosted by Des O'Connor and featuring guest stars, singing, dancing and comedy sketches. The Muppets made a guest appearance on February 27, 1976 to promote The Muppet Show.
Joining Des around a table were Kermit the Frog (who refers to himself as the executive producer of Des' show), Hilda ("costume mistress"), George the Janitor ("the janitorial engineer"), Waldorf (mostly asleep), Sam the Eagle, and Wally, a green bespectacled Whatnot at a typewriter.
In the sketch, Kermit comes up with a concept -- a chat show with guest stars, hosted by Des with help from the frog. Together, Des and Kermit welcome UK television star John Inman. During the interview, John kisses Kermit, hoping to turn him into a prince. Instead, Kermit turns into a princess.
Des and Kermit decide that the show needs a choir, and Kermit says that he's brought the Muppet Glee Club with him. He tells Des that he's going to get into his tuxedo, and runs out. This leads into "Temptation", a clip from the first episode of The Muppet Show. As Kermit leads the choir, soloist Miss Piggy gets excited and pounces on the frog.
The Muppets were played by Jim Henson (Kermit the Frog), Frank Oz (Sam the Eagle), Richard Hunt (George the Janitor), Dave Goelz (Wally), Eren Ozker (Hilda) and John Lovelady (Waldorf). Richard Hunt performed Miss Piggy in the "Temptation" clip.
Waldorf is referred to as "Conrad Waldorf".
The same episode featured a guest appearance by Rod Hull and Emu, singer Marti Caine, and John Inman. The music is provided by Jack Parnell and his orchestra, who provided the music for The Muppet Show.
Des O'Connor won a Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards in 2001. Clips from the Muppets' scene were shown and Kermit made a quick appearance, thanking Des for introducing the British audience to the Muppets.
The Muppets' British debut was covered by The Sun on February 21st, 1976:
|“|| The Muppets Fly in for a Fortnight|
by Philip Phillips
WATCH OUT Wombles! The Muppets are moving in!
The Muppets are puppets from America. And once they hit our screens they are bound to be deadly rivals of the Wimbledon Common folk.
The Muppets have flown over to make a series of 24 half-hour shows for Associated-Television.
They could become the rage of 1977.
They were first introduced to viewers in Sesame Street, the American-made children’s television programme, which was screened on some British independent television stations.
But the Muppets that viewers will see in this lavish new series some time next winter are later models.
The British branch of the family will be headed by the "star," Kermit, a big green frog; Waldorf, a retired businessman; Wally Weazle, a writer; and Hilda, a wardrobe mistress.
Shops will be selling Muppets' shirts, hats, toys and other goods.
But the British Muppets will not be angled solely at children. An Associated-Television official says: "The series will be family viewing.
"We plan to screen it at peak viewing time on a Saturday or Sunday night."
Most of the team will be introduced to British viewers next Friday when they will form part of the Des O’Connor show which opens his new series.