TAHRA Zafar is the animatronics, puppet and costume maestro who has worked on blockbuster movies including Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Star Wars VII. She also looked after Lady Gaga’s Monster tour and was head of costume for the Olympic and Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies at London 2012 of costume for the Olympic and Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies at London 2012

But ask the creative whiz what character she’s most proud of working on in her three decade-plus career, and the answer isn’t Hermione, Gaga or R2D2 - it’s Upsy Daisy, the ever-happy doll with rainbow-coloured hair, who Tahra designed for the original TV show of In the Night Garden.

“She’s just smashing,” Tahra beams. “Upsy Daisy is a girl character who avoids the usual stereotypes - she isn’t overly bossy, or stuffed with props. And she’s a star of one of the most popular pre-school shows ever; I’m very passionate about young kids’ entertainment - it’s such an exciting thing to be the first one to show something creative to children.”

The Bafta award-winning In the Night Garden remains one of the most popular children’s TV series ever made: even though no new episodes have been made since 2010.

Now young fans will get the chance to see their favourite characters including Igglepiggle, cave-dwelling Makka Pakka, the Tombliboos and their awkward trousers, and the family of Pontipines, live on stage.

The show will be at The Lowry , Salford Quays, from next Thursday until next Sunday and tells the tale of Igglepiggle’s Busy Day, as he hunts for his friends.

Tahra has spent months working on the design and costumes of the puppet characters for the new live show.

She said: “To the children in our audience, In the Night Garden’s characters are like friends that they know really well: they have to look exactly as they do on their home screens. The puppets have to be perfect.”

Tahra first designed Upsy Daisy more than a decade ago.

“Working on her was my first job after I returned from maternity leave with my now 14-year-old,” she laughs. “I used to bring my then-toddler into the workshop, and the crew would all watch how she responded to our characters - luckily, she laughed at all the right times!”

To the average grown-up, In the Night Garden might seem to have a strange plot and cuddly toys talking a lot of gobbledegook to the soporific backdrop of a lullaby-like soundtrack.

“The noises might sound odd to adults, the characters’ names, words, and actions are all things that pre-schoolers can say,” explains Tahra.

The world of Wontingers appears to be a long way from the glamour of Star Wars or the celebrity of the Jim Henson Creature Shop, where Tahra worked for a long spell, including on the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But the costumier says every previous role she has worked on has fed into In the Night Garden.

“In fact, I feel a lot of similarities with the atmosphere when I was working at Jim Henson - because the love we had for all those Muppet characters is what we feel for In the Night Garden, and we’ve already got generations of people loving them.”

In the Night Garden, The Lowry, Salford Quays, Thursday, January 28 to Sunday, Match 3. Details from 0843 208 6005 or www.thelowry.com