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Skippy the Bush Kangaroo

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
UK DVD cover
Also known as Skippy
Genre Children/Family
Created by John McCallum
Written by Ross Napier (49 episodes)
Directed by
Theme music composer Eric Jupp
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 91 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) John McCallum (1 episode)
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Fauna Productions
Original channel Nine Network
Audio format Monaural
First shown in Australia
Original release 1968 – 1970[1]
Related shows The Adventures of Skippy

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo (known commonly as Skippy) is an Australian television series created by Australian actor John McCallum, produced from 1967–1969 (airing from 1968–1970) about the adventures of a young boy and his intelligent pet kangaroo, and the various visitors to the fictional Waratah National Park in Duffys Forest, near Sydney.[2][3]

Ninety-one 30-minute episodes were made.[1] The show was filmed in colour and after airing in its home country, it was shown in the United States and Canada, where it aired in syndication between 1969 and 1972. The Nine Network readily repeated the series several times after Australian television switched to colour transmission in 1975.[3]

International screenings

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. The series was also widely distributed in the United States. 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 Germany, it was known as Skippy das Bush Kangaroo. The series crossed the Iron Curtain and was aired in Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, and is still being broadcast in Iran.[3]


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, flight ranger (helicopter pilot) (exit No.78)
  • Liza Goddard as Clarissa 'Clancy' Merrick (entry No.9 exit No.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.
  • John Warwick as Sir Adrian Gillespie, Head of the NSW National Parks Board
  • Elke Neidhardt as Dr. Anna Steiner, a German doctor and playing a support role
  • Morgan Brain as Sgt. Bernard Gillies[1]
  • Skippy was played by at least nine different kangaroos[4]


Plot and setting

The show's star was Skippy, a wild 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 Premier, Tom Lewis AO, before the Skippy series began filming 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.

In 1969 a movie-length Skippy and The Intruders was released.[3]

The Adventures of Skippy

The Adventures of Skippy
Starring Andrew Clarke
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
Running time 30 mins
Original channel Nine /Animal Planet.
Original release 1992

The series was revived in 1992 as the short-lived The Adventures of Skippy. This revival series focused on the now adult Sonny Hammond – 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.[3][5]

This version also aired on Animal Planet in 1997, and is currently airing in the U.S. on TBN's Smile of a Child children's network.[6]

Later history

In 1999, Skippy starred in advertisements for the chocolate confectionery Rolo Cookies.[7]

In September 2008, actor Tony Bonner sued the production company seeking residuals from merchandising and DVD sales from the series.

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 WA-based documentary production company Electric Pictures.[8]

Also in 2009, the Nine Network began to rerun the series in a graveyard slot in the early hours of the morning.[9]

References 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. Its writer, Sanjeev Bhaskar, tried to put Skippy in Room 101. Also, Skippy was one of the main characters in the Scooter's video for "Nessaja" single.

Paul Hogan's character refers to a deceased kangaroo as "Skippy" in the movie "Crocodile" Dundee.

Starting in March 2014, talk show host Craig Ferguson began a recurring Skippy joke on his show The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.

International Broadcasters of Skippy the bush kangaroo


  1. ^ a b c Skippy timeline – Classic Australian
  2. ^ "John McCallum's Bon Bon", The Age, 12 January 1968 accessed 27 March 2014
  3. ^ a b c d e Skippy – Classic Australian
  4. ^ As quoted on DVD 1, Making of Special extra
  5. ^ Albert Moran, Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series, AFTRS 1993 p 44
  6. ^ SoaC programs – Smile of a Child
  7. ^ "Skippy to front Rolo Cookies spot from J. Walter Thompson". Campaign. 21 May 1999. 
  8. ^ What’s that Skip? Skippy the Bush Kangaroo returns to television, Western Australian Government Media Office, 31 July 2008
  9. ^ 13 August. "Skippy". Retrieved 2010-08-06. 

External links