Muppets Twitter spat boosts North Yorkshire tourist spot

Popular broadcaster Gyles Brandreth outside Newby Hall with the real Fozzie Bear from The Muppet Show.
Popular broadcaster Gyles Brandreth outside Newby Hall with the real Fozzie Bear from The Muppet Show.

A Twitter spat over a famous character in The Muppets has raised the profile of North Yorkshire visitor spot Newby Hall's amazing teddy bear collection.

The saga behind 'Fozziegate’ actually began back in 2016 when broadcaster, journalist and former MP Gyles Brandreth decided to give away his entire teddy bear collection to the 17th Newby Hall, one of England's finest homes.

Collected over decades by Brandreth, it included original star of the Paddington 1970s TV series, Harry Corbett’s Sooty from the 1950s and the Muppet Show’s Fozzie Bear given to Brandreth by its The Muppets creator, the late Jim Henson.

Now housed in Newby Hall's Bear House, which is free to visit with a Gardens ticket, it has proved very popular with visitors.

But earlier this month, an associate of the late inventor of The Muppets - Tweeting as @TheFrankOzJam - cheekily claimed that the bear at Newby Hall was probably an imposter and the public should be told so.

Furthermore, he added, the public should boycott going there until it was proved - or words to that effect,

And, just for good - or bad measure, he added that the 'real' Fozzy was in the USA in some puppet museum !


But Brandreth, the former MP for Chester, wasn't taking this lying down and shot back on Twitter to defend the honour of the Fozzy Bear at Newby Hall.


Eventually, the American conceded and Gyles and Newby Hall won.


Gyles later tweeted that a transatlantic truce had broken out and all was now harmony in The Muppets camp.

He tweeted: "The "Fozzie Wars" are over. The great @TheFrankOzJam (one of my heroes, of course) acknowledges that Jim Henson did indeed send me Fozzie in 1988. No apologies needed. What's intriguing is the label inside Fozzie mentioning the year 1965. (Photo of label now posted on Twitter."

Newby Hall also boasts 25 acres of award-winning gardens full of rare and beautiful plants.

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