Big Breakfast Zig and Zag’s history unveiled – Bob Geldof link to ‘puppet feud’

While viewers were watching Mr Blobby cause mayhem on Noel's House Party, another duo were becoming as equally iconic – Zig and Zag.

Yes, love them or loathe them, the two furry siblings from outer space were undoubtedly two of the biggest stars on TV in the nineties.

From causing mayhem with Chris Evans on The Big Breakfast, to landing chart topping singles with the help of X Factor's Simon Cowell, Zig and Zag were unstoppable.

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They even made a return to our screens recently for a cameo in The Big Breakfast reboot – but will they return for good?

After Zig and Zag's surprise appearance, Daily Star decided to take a closer look at Zig and Zag behind the scenes.

Before The Big Breakfast

Over five years before Zig and Zag burst onto our TV screens on The Big Breakfast, the puppet duo already had a huge following in Ireland.

The brothers made their debut in 1987 on RTE's Dempsey's Den – and became so popular that, in 1989, they won the TV Personality Of The Year Award.

Zig and Zag were brought to life by puppeteers Mick O'Hara and Ciaran Morrison and remained on The Den until 1993, after a very famous star heard them on the radio and brought them to the UK.

Bob Geldof link

Boomtown Rats singer and Live Aid organiser Sir Bob Geldof was responsible for bringing Zig and Zag to the UK to appear on The Big Breakfast.

Speaking to Chris Moyles on Radio X, Bob confirmed he was the person behind their introduction to the Channel 4 show, saying: "It was me."

He also called their success one of his "most major achievements", with the duo going on to cause mayhem live on air alongside DJ Chris Evans in a segment called The Crunch.

Speaking about the moment he first heard of Zig and Zag, he added: "Of course, they’re Irish, I mean those of you of a certain vintage – ie your vintage, Moyles – will remember them, but where I heard them was driving in the car in Dublin, on the radio.

"Now it’s probably only in Ireland that you will get puppets on the radio, because it could be anything!"

Bob also revealed that the first time he met puppeteers Mick and Ciaran, they were lying on the floor of a radio studio while the puppets were live on air.

"When they were doing the radio, the guys doing Zig and Zag – they were life-size so the guys would lie on the floor and manipulate Zig and Zag, these two little kids from Mars or wherever they were meant to be from – and they were doing that when I went to visit them, they were doing that on the radio!"

Chris Moyles also admitted he was a huge fan of the puppets and could not believe it when he saw them on UK TV for the first time: "I was a fan of Zig and Zag and had the CD, the t-shirt and whatnot and then all of a sudden they appeared on The Big Breakfast and then everybody was loving Zig and Zag and I was like, 'This is brilliant! Zig and Zag are from Ireland and now everyone in the UK knows who they are!'"

Chart hit with Simon Cowell

One year after their Big Breakfast debut, the furry duo landed a UK top five chart hit with the help of a certain Mr Simon Cowell.

The puppets were signed to RCA and, in 1994, they collaborated with Eric Morillo on the song Them Girls Them Girls.

It wasn't their first foray into music though, as they also had two No1s in Ireland with Zigzaggin and the aptly titled, The Christmas No1.

Although they never quite hit the heights of their chart success again, it didn't stop them from releasing further singles, including Hands Up, Hands Up in 1995.

Puppet 'feud'

Dustin The Turkey replaced Zig and Zag when they joined The Big Breakfast in 1992 – and even had a short lived attempt at Eurovision fame.

He represented Ireland in 2008, but failed to make it past the semi-finals.

Speaking about Dustin The Turkey on Radio X, Sir Bob Geldof said: "They had another character called Dustin the Turkey, which never made it to the UK but he did represent Ireland in the Eurovision, and he also did a version of one of our [The Boomtown Rats] songs, Rat Trap, which was No1 in Ireland for, like, nine weeks which was even longer than the original!"

However, reports claim that Dustin accused Zig and Zag of "selling out" during an episode of 2Phat in 1998, after they left Dempsey's Den to focus exclusively on The Big Breakfast.

The turkey also re-iterated his claims to Newstalk Breakfast in 2020, ahead of Dustin appearing alongside Zig And Zag on the re-launch of The Den.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Dustin said: "I tell you what: I think there's listeners there in Newstalk who are old enough to remember that they sold out," adding: "So there'll be a couple of scores to be settled there, let's just say that."

However, it seems that it is now all water under the bridge between the puppets, with Zig, Zag and Dustin all appearing alongside one another on The Den – brought to life by Mick and Ciaran as Zig and Zag, alongside Ciaran's younger brother John as Dustin.

Still going strong

After The Big Breakfast, Zig and Zag enjoyed successful stints on both ITV and MTV.

They also made a comeback to the UK in 2010, when they presented a stint on Big Brother's Little Brother, before landing their own animated series on CBBC in 2016.

Puppeteers Mick and Ciaran returned to voice the characters for the series – but their puppets were replaced by animated counterparts instead.

The series followed the duo as they crash landed back on earth, with a statement at the time saying: "Zig and Zag will take young viewers along with them on their hilarious adventures as the crazy pair attempt to experience everything planet Earth has to offer."

That's not all, as the puppets returned to radio to host a Saturday morning show on 2FM – and reunited with their fellow puppet pals on a reboot of The Den (formerly Dempsey's Den where it all began for the pair) in 2020.

Reboot absence

The Big Breakfast landed back on our screens in August, with a new set of presenters including AJ Odudu and Mo Gilligan.

However, fans had previously been disappointed after Zig and Zag were not slated to come back to the show.

Strictly star AJ Odudu joked about the reason behind their absence, telling viewers: "Sad news. They all got seriously affected by the great moth pandemic of 2005 and emigrated back to the planet of Zog."

However, the duo did indeed make an appearance after all, returning to surprise host Denise Van Outen, who starred with them on the original run of the show.

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