The Repair Shop guest’s delight at rejuvenated 128-year-old ventriloquist dummy


The Repair Shop team stun guest by rejuvenating a 128-year-old ventriloquist’s dummy after it helped her overcome the trauma of being bullied for undiagnosed dyslexia

A guest of The Repair Shop has told how her aunt’s 128-year-old ventriloquist dummy helped her overcome the trauma of being bullied at school.

Alison Gunn-Robson told how the dummy, named George, was made in the 1890s and appeared in the music halls of London.

George came into the possession of Alison’s family when his owner died and her aunt inherited him.  

Ahead of Alison and George’s appearance on BBC One’s The Repair Shop on Wednesday, according to the Mirror, Alison explained: ‘She didn’t like him. He gave her the creepies. She asked my mother when I was 11, “Do you think Alison would like this thing?” Me and George have been inseparable since.’

Alison said she was bullied and physically beaten while at school due to her undiagnosed dyslexia. 

Special: A guest of The Repair Shop has told how her aunt’s 128-year-old ventriloquist dummy helped her overcome the trauma of being bullied at school (L-R: Furniture restorer Jay Blades, guest Alison Gunn-Robson and restorer David Burville)

Special: A guest of The Repair Shop has told how her aunt’s 128-year-old ventriloquist dummy helped her overcome the trauma of being bullied at school (L-R: Furniture restorer Jay Blades, guest Alison Gunn-Robson and restorer David Burville)

She said: ‘I’d get beaten up in the street after school.

‘At 11, I couldn’t read or write. The teachers gave up on me, they thought I was stupid. I was so shy and had an ­inferiority complex. But George helped bring me out of my shell’

She said she spent hours working out how to operate the doll and came up with a Cockney accent for him.

Alison told how she would later entertain her friends at school, bringing him on stage as an interval act during plays.

Her classmates would laugh as George amused them with jokes about the teachers at the school.

However, over the years, George had started to look a little rough, with holes appearing in his suit and his hair fraying.

The doll’s shoes were also being held on by elastic bands and the strings that connected his eyelids and jaw were wearing away.

Alison brought George to The Repair Shop after struggling to find someone expert enough to repair him.

On air: The Repair Shop airs on BBC One on Wednesday at 8pm (pictured leather and saddles expert Suzie Fletcher)

On air: The Repair Shop airs on BBC One on Wednesday at 8pm (pictured leather and saddles expert Suzie Fletcher)

Ceramics guru Kirsten Ramsay repainted his face while David Burville fixed up his mechanical parts.

Meanwhile, Julie Tatchell and Amanda Middleditch made him some new clothes and hair.

Alison described the moment she saw George after he was fixed up as an ‘out of body experience’, saying he now takes pride of place on her landing at home.

The Repair Shop airs on BBC One on Wednesday at 8pm. 



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