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Violet Philpott

Violet Philpott was an English puppeteer and author born in 1922. She was involved in the production of The Telegoons by making marionette figures and also created the character Zippy for the children's television show Rainbow in 1972, but left production after one series because of a back injury. She toured the United Kingdom giving performances until she stopped in 2009 after being afflicted with dementia. Philpott was born Violet Yeomans in north London. She was the only child of Lilian and Robert Yeomans, a pub entertainer. With an interest in photography, Philpott went to Saint Martin's School of Art where she was taught puppet making.


When the BBC was searching for a television outlet to broadcast its adaption of the radio show The Goon Show, it launched The Telegoons, and Philpott's involvement in its production was creating many of the marionette figures seen in the show, working for a total of 15 episodes, and voiced the characters of Major Bloodnok and Bluebottle. Philpott created puppets from junk material to entertain children at St Paul's Church, Covent Garden in their annual Punch and Judy festival. She found her greatest success with the creation of Zippy on the television show Rainbow in 1972.

In 1975, Philpott and Mary Jean McNeil produced a children's guide called The Know How Book of Puppets that contains illustrations which aims to educate children on how to produce puppet shows. She published a book entitled Bandicoot and His Friends the following year. Philpott taught drama at Rose Bruford College, served as a council member on the Educational Puppetry Association and became part of The Puppet Centre Trust in 1978. She ran workshops on a regular basis also gave performances for disabled and disadvantaged people. Philpott continued to tour until 2009 and died in her sleep in 2012.

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