Article from Times Online (UK) - June 4, 2005
UK home of the Muppets faces closure over tax

TAX uncertainties and the falling dollar are threatening the closure of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, the fabled special effects company that created characters for films including The Flintstones, Babe the recent Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and episodes of The Muppets.

The Jim Henson Company, which owns Creature Shop, told The Times yesterday that it was considering shutting the iconic studio because the falling dollar and uncertainty over tax breaks for films shot in the UK allowed rivals to undercut the company.

All staff at the Creature Shop were told this week that they faced being made redundant. The company has 23 permanent staff and dozens more freelance workers.

“It is much more about the tax incentives and lack thereof for doing work in London, as well as the miserable dollar right now,” said Peter Schuber, president of the Jim Henson Co. “Because of those two external elements, which are out of our control, we are going to look at a whole range of alternatives including possibly shutting the Creature Shop.”

Mr Schuber said that it was “premature to say everything is closing” but admitted that “everything is under review”.