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Here it is: we answer some of your frequently asked questions

We get asked a lot of questions about the shows from our fans.
Here are some answers to questions we get asked frequently – plus some cool trivia.

We hope you enjoy it.


One of the things that made this series work was the way in which it was produced by John Pattison and Shawn Thompson. Pattison and Thompson have known each other since their days as stand-up comedians at Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto in the 80’s. Puppets Who Kill was their first collaboration together. Pattison did most of the writing, Thompson did most of the directing. Shawn was responsible for many of the stylistic elements that found their way into the series and gave the show a unique visual language that suited the scripts. It was this close way of working together that made the show unique.

Trivia Note: Shawn Thompson, by the way, has a very wide ranging resume. He has done everything from being a star of the soap opera Guiding Light, to appearing in the John Water’s movie Hairspray [as Corny Collins], to co-hosting the Joan Rivers show for one week.

More trivia: That’s Shawn Thompson’s voice doing the intro voice-over for the show.

We also made use of an extraordinarily large cast of additional actors – something quite unique in Canadian television. Every season we used some 80 guest actors – and because Toronto has many fine actors we had access to some of the finest people in Canada. We got some fantastic and memorable performances over the years from all these guest actors on the series.

We also used many people who are used to working in feature film on this series. Everyone from our editor [Caroline Christie] to our sound designer [Dan Pellerin] to our music [Carlos Lopes] and our Line Producer/Supervising Producer Colin Brunton – we had a group of very talented people working on our show.


The show was made in Toronto, Canada. We made no effort to hide this in the visuals of the series, in fact we saw it as a strength. We made a conscious effort to place the show in Toronto and show parts of the city. The show is full of Toronto references, particularly the streetcars we used in the wipes between scenes.

The series itself was shot in a studio downtown, but every season we went on location for two weeks to get the characters out of the house. In season 4 we shot on location in Hamilton, Ont. for two weeks.


The house in the establishing shots is the house of a friend connected to the show. It is located close to downtown Toronto.


Puppets Who Kill started out as a one-man comedy play created and performed by John Pattison. It starred Bill the evil ventriloquist dummy and a few other characters who evolved into the ones you see in the series.


The puppets came from different sources. Bill is a very old ventriloquist dummy from England, purchased by John Pattison in a junk shop in Toronto back in the 1980’s. Bill was in bad shape back then – in fact, his head was damaged and split open. Bill was restored by a very talented man named Geoff Felix in London, England. The other puppets were designed and built by various talented puppet builders in Toronto.


Most of the episodes were written by John Pattison.
Dan Redican was brought in to help the scripts where necessary, especially by adding gags and jokes to the scripts. Dan is a highly accomplished joke writer and came up with some fantastic jokes for the series. Dan also wrote some episodes of the series, which in turn were story edited by Pattison.

There was no one way of working on this series. Some of Pattison’s scripts have very little of Dan’s work in them…a few have quite a few of Dan’s gags in them. Conversely, some of Dan’s scripts have a lot of John Pattison’s story plotting and writing in them….some have almost none.

It might be a good time to mention that Puppets Who Kill was never conceived of as a sitcom – something a number of TV reviewers fail to notice. The show was never intended to be too ‘gaggy.’ Puppets Who Kill was an attempt at a form that has become more common in TV since it first came out: It is a hybrid of a drama with comedic elements.


Dan Redican [who plays Dan] has long been on the comedy scene in Toronto. He is best known for being a member of the comedy group ‘The Frantics.’ John Pattison had worked on the same bill with the Frantics many times and had been a fan of theirs for years. Dan brought the right quality to the character Dan, playing the put-upon straight man to these awful characters.

All the puppets in the show were performed by comedians and puppeteers who John had known for many years.

Bruce Hunter [Rocko] is a very talented improvisational comedian/poet/songwriter and former member of Second City. Pattison thought Bruce would be perfect for Rocko – he had the right attitude and energy for the part.

Trivia note: That’s Bruce playing the cop in season one who Cuddles punches and he falls out of the tower to his death.

More Trivia: You can check out some of Bruce’s poetry and music on You Tube. He recorded them under the name Dumigod. Check it out.

Jim Rankin [Buttons] is a hugely accomplished actor and puppeteer. He is especially adept at character voices. Buttons was actually written with him in mind to play.

Gord Robertson [Bill] was given the part of Bill, which was originally going to be played by Pattison himself – who originally created the character and the voice. Pattison found that being showrunner/writer was already a fulltime job and brought Gord in to assume the role of Bill. He did a tremendous job – adding a lot of wonderful stuff to the character. Gord and John Pattison have known each other since the Fraggle Rock days in Toronto back in the 80’s.

Bob Martin [Cuddles] is a Second City comedian/writer. Although Bob has no puppet experience he was perfect to play the part. He has such a gentle delivery and simplicity in the way he plays the part – it just made the character come alive. Bob is one of the busiest men in Canadian entertainment. He is a writer/actor on the acclaimed series Slings and Arrows, and is one of the creators/writers of the wildly successful Broadway hit The Drowsy Chaperone.

Trivia note: Bob puts in a small appearance as an actor in season one in the episode Dash the Greeter.

More Trivia: Bob’s unavailability for Season 4 necessitated John Pattison to play Cuddles for that season, and Bob dubbed the voice in later.