I Am Big Bird

Recent documentary Being Elmo looked at the life of Sesame Street puppeteer Kevin Clash, although it glaringly missed the story that emerged soon after its release in which Clash was ruinously accused of improper conduct with minors.

Perhaps as a swift corrective, comes I Am Big Bird (12A) ***, a sweet film about Caroll Spinney, the 81-year-old string puller who has been hidden inside the giant yellow puppet since 1969.

The soft-spoken, gently affable Spinney admirably mines the another side of his ego by also playing dustbin dweller Oscar the Grouch.

There is one sobering recollection that, to widen kids’ interest in science, Big Bird was actually asked and trained to be a guest traveller on the ill-fated Space Shuttle mission of 1986 (shortly before launch, it was discovered the costume was too big to fit in the capsule.)

However, for the most part, the film keeps well away from any darkness or soul-searching, preferring to dwell on the cute nostalgia of Jim Henson’s workshop and the technical achievements of walking around inside all those feathers without falling over.