From 1981 to the late nineties, I was a professional puppeteer working under the names Janet Dalgliesh or Janet Ashelford. Some of the highlights are listed below:

1983 – The Maestro’s Company (Independent Productions) made for SBS Television. This six-part series featured puppet characters living in an abandoned theatre, where they rehearsed and performed opera productions. Two human children, Tina (Justine Clarke) and Johnny (Adam Willits) discover the characters and help them as they lurch from disaster to disaster. I played Maria, the ingenue soprano with the heart of gold. This production was unusual as the speaking (dialogue) voices were provided by the puppeteers, but all the singing was provided by Decca recordings under licence. Consequently I had the strange experience of learning how to lip-sync Joan Sutherland and Renata Tebaldi.

1984-1987 inclusive – The New Adventures of Blinky Bill (ABC-TV, Sydney). This innovative half-hour kids’ TV series featured puppet animal characters interacting with human actors, and was shot almost entirely on location in the backlot at the ABC’s old Frenchs Forest studios, complete with ticks and other bush wildlife. Set in fictitious Bollygum Park, the show usually had a vaguely environmental theme. I provided voice and puppetry for Angelina Wallaby, Mrs Magpie and Kerry Koala, and also wrote several episodes (an early claim to writing credibility, as one of our other writers was the excellent Morris Gleitzman).

1992 – Lift Off (Australian Children’s Television Foundation) Series 1.  I created the character of Doris the Pig in the successful Wakadoo Cafe episodes featured in this early childhood series; and also Tweesak and Grumblesak from the main series.

1995 – Babe (Kennedy Miller).  I was one of five Australian puppeteers who worked in the special effects creature team alongside Henson puppeteers Mak Wilson, Dave Greenaway and Allan Trautman. My specialty was sheep’s ears. Next time you see the movie, check out any sheep close-ups and it’ll be me operating the ears (unless it’s a real sheep of course – ha ha). I actually based the ears on how dogs express emotion, since sheep don’t use their ears for anything more than flicking away flies. Sssh, don’t tell Chris Noonan

2 responses to this post.

  1. Hey Janet….woops sorry thats Janette,

    I was looking for you when I added some new text to the BLINKY BILL listing on wikipedia…then when I re visited the same site a moment ago I saw the link you have to this web site to find you spell your name differently now…
    Biut I guess theres another storey to that…
    How the heck r U?

    Alan Higfield contacted me a few months ago and all my three kids got a chance to speak with Charlie Goanna and Walter …so now they know they really do exist and dad’s not really a puppeteer after all.

    I guess one day when I’m reired I will catch up on all your blog hereto find out what you have been doing …alternatively i will have a quick geeza in a mo or two.

    Hope you are well

    Ross b


    • Posted by janettedalgliesh on March 1, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      Hey Ross!!!! I wondered if it was you who put the entry on Wikipedia, LOL! I went in an added some more detail. Tried to put an entry on IMDB but without any “official” site to refer back to it’s hard to get in accepted. Dang that ABC – can’t believe they still keep it a secret. The show that dare not speak its name, hahahahah.

      If you see Allan again, give him a hug from me – one for you too of course! And wow – three kids now… and I’ll bet they’re all taller than me, right? Boy it’s been a long time. Welcome back any time, or drop me an email at info@janettedalgliesh.com :-)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 459 other followers

%d bloggers like this: