Today, 6 Dec 2010, the creator of the longest running children’s TV show has died. As a way to commemorate his life and work, I continue my series of articles on the greats of Australian puppetry. Norman Hetherington was 89, and is best known for his work on Mr Squiggle. There is a short video at the end of the post. (This article cited on Wikipedia; thanks anonymous tipster for letting me know)
Dickie Knee is a ‘popular’ (I never liked him) character on the TV show Hey, Hey, It’s Saturday. You can find a short video at the bottom of the post: please be warned, it’s not safe for work or young kids. (Overseas people may know this as the Aussie TV show that caused chaos in the media recently by having performers wearing black paint on their faces. Yep, the very same show) HHIS is the longest-running Aussie show which began in the 70s and ran up until its cancellation in 1999; the show came back in 2009 for a reunion and was apparently so popular they’re starting again in 2010 (personally I think it’s a bit dated now. It seems others agree, and the main reason for the show’s recurrence is actually a very large Facebook fan page).
Please DO NOT CONTACT ME about Richard Bradshaw. I have no contact with him and do not act as his agent. As far as I know, Richard does not have a website. So anyone looking for a way to contact him or view his stuff is best off contacting local Australian talent agents: Nexus Arts or Young Australia Workshop. He does tour internationally as well, so those in other countries may wish to send an enquiry through the above agents as to how to get him to come to a location near you.
If you’re looking for a list of Australian puppeteers or companies, please visit this page instead.
To mark the new year, I thought it would be a good idea to do a series of posts about Australian puppetry, with a focus on notable performers or characters. And since Richard is a hot search engine topic, I thought I’d start with him. Video of his work is at the bottom of the post, along with a slideshow of photos. For those wanting more, I highly recommend this video from the ABC which includes a behind-the-scenes look at Richard’s workshop space and performances.
This is a broad look at what kinds of puppetry is performed in this country; if you’re looking for specific shows and companies, visit this article instead. You may also be looking for the list of different puppet types and their explanations of what they are.
When people think of puppetry, they assume that there is a particular type that is native to Australia - Europe is home to the glove puppet and marionette, Asia to the shadow puppet, America the Muppet - surely there is one that represents Australia. Well, that assumption is wrong. Because Australia is a relatively ‘new’ country, in terms of its culture, there is no puppet type that is representative of the puppetry scene here.
Australians may want to buy locally. Where? I explain here.