The New Adventures of Blinky Bill

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The New Adventures Of Blinky Bill
Format Children's television show
Created by Dorothy Wall (book)
Developed by Tom Hanks
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 28
Production
Producer(s) Richard Smith
Running time 26
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Picture format PAL (576i)
Original run 1984 – 1987

The New Adventures of Blinky Bill was an Australian puppet series that ran on ABC Television from 1984 to 1987. After production ended, it remained on air in repeats until 1991. Twenty-eight 30 minute episodes were made and the producer was Richard Smith.

Plot[edit]

The show was a follow on from the original Blinky Bill books by Dorothy Wall. Set in the fictional Bollygum National Park, characters include Blinky Bill, Mrs Magpie, Angelina Wallaby and Walter Wombat from the books, and new characters such as Charlie Goanna, Eric Echidna, Sybilla Snake and Kerry Koala from the neighbouring fictional Acadia Ridge park.

Cast[edit]

Actor Character Notes
Ross Browning Blinky Bill, Eric Echidna Ross appeared in an acting role as Max, a plain clothes ranger from Head Office.
Janet Ashelford (aka Janette Dalgliesh)[1] Angelina Wallaby, Mrs Magpie, Kerry Koala
Alan Highfield Charlie Goanna, Mr Wombat, Sybella Snake
Robert Hughes Ranger Barry Portrayed the park ranger character Ranger Barry in the first two seasons. Gordon Poole and Alton Harvey also played ranger roles. Paul Williams as Ranger Ken in season 3 and Ben Franklin as Ranger Bob in Season 4.

Most episodes also featured at least one guest actor in a human character role. These guests included David Waters, Maggie Kirkpatrick, Joanne Samuel, Paul Chubb, Mike Meade (Actor), Benita Collings and many others.

Episode list[edit]

Season 1 (1984)[edit]

  1. Hello Stranger, Goodbye Ranger
  2. Ho-Ha at Bollygum
  3. Musical Wares
  4. Spaceship Shuttlecock

Season 2 (1985)[edit]

  1. Stuck On Gumleaves
  2. Frills and Feathers
  3. High Water
  4. Computer Capers
  5. Mine Too!
  6. Bikies from Outer Space

Season 3 (1986)[edit]

  1. Rock 'n' Roll Blues
  2. Legend in his Own Lunchtime
  3. Times Flies When You're Feeling Young
  4. Blinky Hits The Jackpot
  5. Not a Minute's Peace
  6. Twice Bitten
  7. The Visitor
  8. Food For Thought

Season 4 (1987)[edit]

  1. Say Snake
  2. Hot Wheels
  3. A Time Of Testing
  4. Operation Gumdrops
  5. Media Wars
  6. April Fools
  7. School's In
  8. Brush With Danger
  9. Horseplay
  10. Diplomatic Relations

Production[edit]

The series was unique for its production style. The puppets were designed and made by the late Beverley Campbell-Jackson, who chose to use a thick and fluffy yarn to knit the outer skin of the marsupial characters, which gave them their furry look on camera. Charlie's skin was made from a patterned lurex which gave him a distinctive look in sunlight. She designed internal mechanisms which used triggers to control the movements of each character's head, mouth and eyelids; while rods to each hand controlled arm movements. Each puppeteer used one hand for the trigger mechanism, and one hand to control both arm rods (this skill is somewhat like advanced chopsticks technique). Similar techniques are seen in some forms of Japanese puppetry.

At the time of shooting, the ABC network owned studios in the Sydney bush suburb of Frenchs Forest, and the show was recorded using multi-camera and live sound recording on the back lot, with the puppeteers voicing the characters at the same time as operating the puppets. The only time that they would used one Camera was the scenes with Blinky Bill and Charlie Goanna talking in Blinky's Tree. Ross Browning and Alan Highfield Blinky and Charlie's Puppeteers would bet on who could complete the scene the fastest. The Outside Broadcast unit provided crew, equipment and the control room. Some sets, including the ranger's hut and Walter Wombat's general store, were built permanently on location, while others were constructed as required for each episode. Sets were raised by a metre or so, to allow space underneath for puppeteers to stand or kneel. Only one scene - featuring a rock and roll performance by Blinky, Kerry and Charlie - was shot in a studio.

The puppet performers wrote roughly half the episodes. Other writers included Heather March, Mark Page and Morris Gleitzman, who is now a well-known author of children's books.

Every time the ABC wanted to make another series they had to asked permission of Angus & Robertson to shoot the next series of episodes. ABC were asked to pay a higher license from Angus & Robertson. ABC did not known of Yoram Gross and Angus & Robertson negotiating behind the scenes to make the animated Blinky Bill (film). In 1987 after the filming of the final season of The New Adventures of Blinky Bill. Richard Smith was thinking of making a One Hour Christmas Special of Blinky Bill. But because they had finished filming the final Season. It never came to be.

In 1994, Blinky Bill returned to ABC television in the animated series, The Adventures of Blinky Bill,[2] after which the ABC did not screen the puppet series again, a prospect that has become unlikely due to the conviction of Robert Hughes on sex offences.

References[edit]