Man behind 'Thingee' puppet dies

1:39 pm on 15 February 2020

The man who brought to life the much loved TV puppet Thingee, has died.

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Thingee was a feature of children's television for years, with its creator Alan Henderson usually working alongside presenter Jason Gunn. Photo: NZ on Screen / SkySport

In a post on Facebook, Sky Sport confirmed Alan Henderson - the man behind the children's show puppet, died earlier today.

The puppet graced New Zealand TV screens in the nineties, alongside Jason Gunn, in shows such as The Son of a Gunn and What Now.

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Jason Gunn and Thingee aka Alan Henderson who has died today. Photo: NZ on Screen

Gunn said Mr Henderson was a legend, who helped bring out the best in other people.

"He enabled me to be at my best, and so many others to be at their best. Taught us so much, and always with the best sense of humour. Just an incredible man."

He said Henderson had been a camera operator at TVNZ when he offered to voice up a new puppet character.

"There was the puppet, but really there was Alan. Alan was Thingee with all of his humour and his beautiful big heart. Everything that was Thingee was really Alan. He was the creator of Thingee in everyway he could be."

Henderson was in his fifties, and worked for Sky as a sports producer and cameraman where colleagues knew him as "Hendo".

Sky's post described him as a kind and caring person, fanatical Crusaders supporter, cricket tragic, joker - and "a wonderful man who will be hugely missed".

"Today we lost the heartbeat of our sport department. A person we all loved for his positive outlook on life, infectious laugh and big smile," the post read.

He had been battling prostate cancer.

Former children's television star Matt Gibb tweeted about Henderson's death.

"Grateful to have known Al, one of the loveliest men you could have the pleasure of meeting. Never got tired of having Thingee's voice in my ear when he was in the director's seat. Rest in Love mate." Gibb said.

Television producer Ric Salizzo also shared his sadness, saying the TV veteran would be missed by many.

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Many New Zealanders will remember the puppet, Thingee, as a popular character in children's television. Photo: Facebook