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Fraggle Rock creator hopes new Apple series will stay true to original

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Michael Frith with characters from Fraggle Rock, the show he helped to develop for Jim Henson of The Muppet Show fame (File photograph)

The co-creator of the 1980s Bermuda-inspired hit children’s show Fraggle Rock has “guarded but high hopes” that a new series released on Apple TV+ today will remain true to its original philosophy.

Michael Frith, who was born and raised in Salt Kettle in Paget, created the series with Jim Henson of The Muppet Show fame and used his childhood and the island’s Crystal Caves as inspiration.

Mr Frith said from what he has heard so far, the new show was faithful to its origins.

Mr Frith was involved in discussions with the new creators The Jim Henson Company and New Regency at the outset of the project and was interviewed in a book called Fraggle Rock: the Ultimate Visual History, which was a reference for the new show.

He said: “I was in a Zoom call at the very beginning where we talked through a bit of the history and the genesis of the project and the philosophy behind it.

“They mentioned to me at the time, which I was relieved to hear, that there are a couple of holdovers working on it who will talk about the work we were doing, our goals and our ethos. It was joyful and experimental and hadn’t been tried before.

“They said it has been modernised but not too much. I’m not sure what needed modernising as the ideas were timeless, things that have been true since the beginning of time – the misunderstandings between people, between races and between social strata.

“So much of Fraggle Rock was about that and it sounds like that is what they are striving for.”

Michael Frith, the co-creator of hit children’s series Fraggle Rock (File photograph)

Jim Henson’s daughter, Lisa Henson, is executive producer on the new show with Halle Stanford and long-time Henson collaborator John Tartaglia.

The show follows on from last year’s Apple Original shorts Fraggle Rock: Rock On!

Mr Frith added: “Jim Henson’s daughter, I am sure, will bring a great deal of care and affection and history to the Apple version.”

The original show ran for four seasons with 96 episodes from 1983 to 1987.

It featured subterranean creatures, Fraggles, as well as other critters including Doozers and Gorgs.

Apple TV+ has so far committed to 13 episodes, which will all be streamed at once from today.

Mr Frith, 80, was responsible for much of the show’s setting and character design.

He said he was inspired by the story of two boys discovering the Crystal Caves as they looked for a lost cricket ball.

But he added that his entire upbringing in Bermuda served as inspiration.

Mr Frith said: ”A lot of it came from my growing up in Bermuda.

Fraggle Rock was very much like living in a place as isolated as Bermuda, where the rest of the world was a mysterious place.

“When I was a kid in those post-war years, Bermuda was very isolated and news from the outside world was a scarce commodity.

“Then there were those boys discovering the caves and being the first humans going into that magical environment.

“The idea of the world of the Fraggles is like the world of the imagination – if you follow them, who knows what you will discover about the world and yourself.”

Bermuda inspired: Michael Frith's original map of the subterranean world of Fraggle Rock, a fantastically reimagined version of Bermuda's Crystal Caves (File photograph)

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Published January 21, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated January 21, 2022 at 2:17 pm)

Fraggle Rock creator hopes new Apple series will stay true to original

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