Vale: Norman Hetherington

Blackboard would be sad today…

Norman Hetherington, who created and played Mr Squiggle to generations of Australians, has died following a long illness in Sydney.

He was 89.

Hetherington recently appeared on Collectors in July where he shared many of his 400 puppets.

He worked initially as a cartoonist before venturing into television in the late 1950s and pursuing his interest in puppetry.

He created Mr Squiggle in 1959.

Over its 40 years on TV, the show varied from five-minute spots to a one-and-a-half hour variety show featuring other performers. But it retained its main feature: children writing in with their “squiggles” which Mr Squiggle turned into drawings by connecting lines with his pencil nose. It ended in 1999.

When Mr Squiggle turned 50 in July last year, Hetherington told ABC News Online the world of television was a very different place when the show made its exciting debut.

“He came into the program without even an audition… that wouldn’t happen today,” he said.

“He was given a six-week trial and he stayed for the six weeks, six months, then six years and so on.

“And we didn’t always stick to the script. There was a lot of adlibbing, particularly in the drawing segment.”

His funeral service is expected to be held next Monday.

Source: ABC, SKY News


  1. matty the TV Guru

    ABC should give us re-runs of Mr Squiggle so our next generation of children can enjoy this brilliant show.

    R.I.P Mr Hetherington – Mr Squiggle you will be sorely missed by fans of all ages.

    Upside Down! Upside Down!

  2. I spoke about this sad event with a few people today and we realised how amazing it was that we all had fond memories of Mr Squiggle even though we spanned decades. A timeless classic and a a very special man.

  3. Lovely sentiments Alex, and curious that only 5 people have left comments in this thread. What a unique and defining talent that this man had. He leaves a wondrous legacy & memories for millions of Aussies. He was a glorious one-off.

  4. Armchair Analyst

    I watched Mr Squiggle when it was at the back end of its run i enjoyed it but now that i am in my 20s dont remember mutch of it, was good though.

  5. As a child I loved watching Mr Squiggle. I loved seeing him fly down from his rocket and sitting there guessing what he is trying to draw. The his upside down upside down comments.

    Thankyou Norman for creating a wondefrul character.

  6. I love this show when I was a young kid in the late 80’s.

    Mr Squiggle was a huge part and influence in my childhood. It opened the world of creativity though drawing and cartooning, which lead me into enroling into an animation course next year.

    Thank you Mr Sqiggle for being a huge part of my life and many other lives across the country.

    Lets hope it come back on TV or repeats. Tim, I agree a Hall of Fame is a MUST.

  7. Few people could say, at the end of their lives, that they had made such a deep impression on two or three generations of children. Thank you Mr Hetherington.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.