Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo (known commonly as Skippy) is an Australian television series created by Australian actor John McCallum, Lionel (Bob) Austin and Lee Robinson produced from 1967–1969 (airing from 1968–1970) about the adventures of a young boy and his highly intelligent pet kangaroo, and the various visitors to the fictional Waratah National Park in Duffys Forest, near Sydney.
|Skippy the Bush Kangaroo|
UK DVD cover
|Also known as||Skippy|
|Created by||Lee Robinson|
|Written by||Ross Napier|
|Theme music composer||Eric Jupp|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||91 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||John McCallum, Lionel (Bob) Austin|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Fauna Productions|
Norfolk-International Films Limited
|Original network||Nine Network|
|First shown in||Australia|
|Original release||5 February 1968 –|
4 May 1970
|Related shows||The Adventures of Skippy|
Ninety-one 30-minute episodes were produced. Additionally, a full-length film titled Skippy and The Intruders was released to theatres in 1969.
Plot and setting
The show's star was Skippy, a female eastern grey kangaroo befriended by Sonny Hammond, younger son of the Head Ranger of Waratah National Park. The stories revolved around events in the park, including its animals, the dangers arising from natural hazards, and the actions of visitors. The boy's mother is said (in Episode 48 "The Mine") to have died shortly after Sonny was born.
The series was shot in northern Sydney at the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and the adjacent Waratah Park (now known as Waratah Park Earth Sanctuary). Permission to film and build structures in the park was given by the then NSW Minister for Lands, Tom Lewis, before shooting of the series began in 1967, to showcase the new NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service government department he had just established.
The clicking sounds made by Skippy are vocal sound effects, rather than the natural vocalisations of a kangaroo, with chocolate, chewing gum or grass and in some cases, an elastic band around the lower jaw, used to make Skippy move her mouth. Between nine and fifteen kangaroos were used for each show. The apparent manual dexterity was often achieved by using separate arms in the hands of human operators.
The main characters were:
- Ed Devereaux as Matt Hammond, the Head Ranger of Waratah National Park
- Garry Pankhurst as Sonny Hammond, Matt's younger son
- Ken James as Mark Hammond, Matt's elder son
- Tony Bonner as Jerry King (episodes 1-78), flight ranger (helicopter pilot)
- Liza Goddard as Clarissa 'Clancy' Merrick (episodes 9-75), the teenage daughter of a ranger stationed at another section of the park. When her father is transferred to a park in northern New South Wales, Matt invites Clancy to stay with the Hammond family so that her music studies are not disrupted by the move north. She leaves the series when her character is awarded a musical scholarship to study in London.
- John Warwick as Sir Adrian Gillespie, Head of the NSW National Parks Board
- Elke Neidhardt as Anna Steiner, a German doctor and playing a support role only in season one.
- Morgan Brain as Sgt. Bernard Gillies
- Skippy was played by at least nine different kangaroos
The show was produced for global distribution and filmed in colour. It premiered outside of Australia. The domestic premiere in Sydney (on TCN-9) and Melbourne (GTV-9) was Monday evening, 5 February 1968.
The Nine Network readily repeated the series several times after Australian television switched to colour transmission in 1975. In 2009, the Nine Network began to rerun the series in a graveyard slot in the early hours of the morning.
In 2013, 9Gem started showing Skippy at 6:30am.
The Australian series was one of the most heavily exported programs. It was broadcast in all Commonwealth countries, including in Canada where it was adapted in Quebec for the Standard French market as Skippy le kangourou.
It was dubbed into Spanish in Mexico, where it is known as Skippy el canguro, and has been seen in most Spanish-speaking countries, including Cuba and Spain, where it became very popular. In Latín América, the show was broadcast on free TV in 1970s, and on pay TV (Cable, Satellite and IPTV) vía Sundance Channel (Channel 520 of DIRECTV).
It was shown in the Netherlands, where it was first screened between 1969 and 1972. In Germany, it was known as Skippy, das Buschkänguruh, while in Italy was known as Skyppy il canguro and broadcast by RAI Television. The show was popular in Scandinavia, and in Norway a chain of shopping centres were named in honour of the programme. The series crossed the Iron Curtain and was aired in Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s.
The series was also widely distributed in Ghana where is aired weekly on the GBC. The series was also broadcast in Iran.
When it was transmitted in the United States, Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo was largely shown as weekend-morning children's television.
The Adventures of Skippy
|The Adventures of Skippy|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of episodes||39|
|Running time||30 mins|
|Original network||Nine Network|
The series was revived in 1992 as the short-lived The Adventures of Skippy. This revival series focused on the now adult Sonny Hammond (played by Andrew Clarke) – having followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a ranger at a wildlife park – who now had his own family and a pet kangaroo named Skippy.
In 1998, an animated spin-off series was produced, known as Skippy: Adventures in Bushtown. It featured a version of Skippy, portrayed as an anthropomorphic kangaroo, working as a park ranger.
In 1999, Skippy starred in advertisements for the chocolate confectionery Rolo Cookies.
On 17 September 2009, a documentary Skippy: Australia's First Superstar was broadcast on the ABC in Australia and the BBC in the UK. The documentary was produced by Western Australian-based documentary production company Electric Pictures.
In popular culture
The original series was parodied in a recurring sketch as part of the British comedy series Goodness Gracious Me under the title "Skipinder, the Punjabi Kangaroo": the parody redubbed scenes from the original Skippy. The show was also parodied in the 1989 - 1992 Australian sketch comedy TV show, Fast Forward.
|Title||Format||Ep #||Discs||Region 4 (Australia)||Special Features||Distributors|
|The Complete Skippy: The Bush Kangaroo||DVD||91||14||1 June 2011||None||Umbrella Entertainment|
|Skippy and The Intruders||DVD||Film||01||1 April 2015||None||Umbrella Entertainment|
|Skippy: Australia's First Superstar||DVD||Film||01||1 February 2017||Bonus Scenes with Directors Commentary
The Academics' View
The Crews' View
|The Adventures Of Skippy (Complete Series)||DVD||39||5||4 April 2018||None||Umbrella Entertainment|
- Musgrove, Nan (7 February 1968). "SKIPPY" IS COMING HOME". The Australian Women's Weekly. p. 14. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
- Skippy timeline – Classic Australian TV.com
- "John McCallum's Bon Bon", The Age, 12 January 1968 accessed 27 March 2014
- Skippy – Classic Australian TV.com
- "TCN9's new show lineup". The Sydney Morning Herald. 28 January 1968. p. 61. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
- As quoted on DVD 1, Making of Special extra
- "John MaCallum's bon bon". The Age. Melbourne, Australia. 12 January 1968. p. 9. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
- 13 August. "Skippy". Channelnine.ninemsn.com.au. Retrieved 6 August 2010.
- 2009 tv documentary Skippy: Australia's First Superstar
- Albert Moran, Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series, AFTRS 1993 p 44
- SoaC programs – Smile of a Child TV.org
- The Adventures of Skippy - DVD Land
- "Skippy to front Rolo Cookies spot from J. Walter Thompson". Campaign. 21 May 1999.
- What’s that Skip? Skippy the Bush Kangaroo returns to television, Western Australian Government Media Office, 31 July 2008
- Wikipedia French Page : Skippy le kangourou
- Skippy on IMDb
- Classic Australian Television -Skippy
- "Skippy" – Memorable TV
- Skippy an AustLit
- http://aso.gov.au/titles/series/skippy/ Speaking of Skippy
- Skippy the Bush Kangaroo at the National Film and Sound Archive
- Documentary – Skippy: Australia's First Superstar – ABC Documentaries and Electric Pictures, 2009
- Skippy the Bush Kangaroo at TV Tropes
- Skippy the Bush Kangaroo at Waratah Park Earth Sanctuary