'No way' - hilarious moment Josh Widdicombe left starstruck by Gus Honeybun puppet

  • Moment Josh Widdicombe left stunned by Gus Honeybun

To anyone living in the West Country from the 1960s to the 1990s, Gus Honeybun is no doubt a familiar name.

The puppet rabbit was the star of Gus Honeybun's Magic Birthdays on Westward Television, and later Television South West. He wished children across the region a happy birthday while bouncing up and down - and became something of a star.

He is such an iconic figure, comedian Josh Widdicombe has dedicated the first chapter of his new book - Watching Neighbours Twice a Day... How '90s TV (Almost) Prepared Me For Life - to him.

"He was the biggest star in the West Country really," said Widdicombe.

"He had his own single, he had his own ride at Flambards, he had his own bus which had pictures of carrots on it... This guy was a superstar."

ITV News West Country reporter Eli-Louise Wringe showed Josh 'Gus Honeybun', fresh from the archives after 30 years.

Widdicombe was such a fan of Gus, he was left in disbelief when the puppet gatecrashed his interview with ITV West Country this week.

"No way," Josh said as Gus appeared on screen. "Oh my word! That is amazing, that is unbelievable - look at him!

"It's unprofessional for me to take a photo in the middle of an interview but I'm going to have to take a photo - that is amazing."

"Let me just clean my camera lens" - Josh was keen to get a photo of the children's TV star.

The comedian's new book documents his childhood growing up in Bristol and later in rural Devon.

He said his "first memories" are of being stung by a bee in a sandpit in Totterdown, the area he lived in of the "brilliant, vibrant city".

But he said his happiest childhood memories are of living in Haytor Vale on Dartmoor.

"It was a tiny village, which just had a Post Office and it was the kind of place where you would get a week a year off school, because of snow. It was that isolated. The bus, if it snowed, was just like, not happening," he said.

Haytor is located on Dartmoor, in rural Devon - leading to Josh's eccentric childhood.

"I went to a tiny school with four kids in my year and it was the kind of childhood you don't realise is weird, until you move to Manchester to go to uni at 18," Josh joked.

The book, which he wrote during the coronavirus pandemic, takes a look at television in the 1990s and how it influenced him growing up.

"Neighbours was such an important show for my generation", he said.

"That's how we kind of understood what being a teenager was. And then there was TFI Friday, which I still think is maybe the best TV show ever made.

"It felt like a completely different era for television, the '90s, in that the television was what everything was about. It was how you got your news, your sport, your music - everything came through television.

"And it was a shared thing. You knew if you were watching something that was scheduled, your friends would be watching it in their house. And you'd have to be watching it if you wanted to talk to them the next day, because that's what you'd be talking about.

"And now, if there's a shared TV show, you'll be watching it while looking at your phone. And then you won't be able to talk about it because they'll have got to a different episode and they won't want a spoiler."

Josh is now going on tour in the West Country, with comedy gigs in Yeovil, Bath, Torquay and Weston-super-Mare, between November and April 2022.

Describing returning to live performances, he said: "I've done three dates so far, and it just feels back to normal, which is great, it's a really amazing feeling.

"I've done all of [those towns] before and they're all great dates, so I can't wait for them."

  • More information about Josh Widdicombe's new book and tour can be found here.