Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

An original ‘Bungle’ the bear costume, pictured right, and a unique collection of his/her outfits was being auctioned, and there was joy beyond belief when cult presenter turned minicab driver Geoffrey Hayes arrived in the saleroom to be reunited with his old friend.

Currently starring in a Rainbow revue on the Edinburgh Fringe, Hayes was the much-loved compere of the show for 20 years, father figure to the troublesome menagerie of Bungle, the crossdressing bear, George, a male pink hippopotamus, and Zippy, a mouthy creature of alien origin. According to an Internet shrine to Rainbow, “Bungle is most famous for wandering around naked by day, only to pull on a pair of blue and white striped jimjams when it was time to climb the wooden ladder to Bedfordshire”. Those pyjamas were among the clothes being offered with the 5ft 5in (1.65m) ginger draylon bear suit, along with a policeman’s costume (for chastising Zippy), red duffle coat, various bloomers and a camp, blue peaked cap with a Rainbow badge.

One of several Bungle outfits made for the show, this ensemble had been purchased direct from Thames television by an ex-employee and it was bought at Christie’s by Geoffrey Hayes for £3200 (plus 17.5 per cent premium) to loud cheering in the