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Opening Title Card
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||89|
|Original network||Seven Network|
|Original release||30 January 1980– 1 September 1984|
Kingswood Country was an Australian sitcom that screened from 1980 to 1984 on the Seven Network. The series started on 30 January 1980 and was a spin-off from a sketch on comedy program The Naked Vicar Show that had featured Ross Higgins as a blustering suburban father. It was produced by RS Productions. The show won Logie Awards for Best Comedy in 1981 and 1982, and was briefly revived in a spin-off in 1997 titled Bullpitt, although it proved less successful. In October 2016, Ross Higgins, who played central character Ted Bullpitt, died after a lengthy illness, aged 85
- 1 Premise
- 2 Guest stars on Kingwood Country
- 3 Characters
- 4 Catchphrases
- 5 DVD
- 6 Bullpitt! (Kingswood Country spin-off)
- 7 References
- 8 See Also
- 9 External links
The show is a family sitcom focusing on the main character, Edward Melba "Ted" Bullpitt (Ross Higgins), a white Australian, conservative, Holden Kingswood-loving putty factory worker and WWII veteran and his interactions with his more progressive wife and two adult children.
He lives for three things: his beloved chair in front of the TV, his unsuccessful racing greyhounds Repco Lad & Gay Akubra and his Holden Kingswood car (late in the show's run Ted traded-in the Kingswood, which had gone out of production around the time the series began, for Holden's replacement mid-range family car, the Commodore). His long-suffering wife, the vague and dithering Thelma (Judi Farr), was cast as a traditional housewife trapped by Ted's conservative family views, but she often got her own back on Ted (this often included using old Myer receipts she had hidden in a drawer to fool Ted into thinking she paid less for a new item, often clothes, than she really had).
Ted's Kingswood is never shown on any episode.
Humour was generated by the conflict of Ted's traditional views and his children's progressive nature. For example, his son Craig (Peter Fisher) is portrayed as a sexually rampant medical student and is referred to as an "Al Grassby Groupie". His daughter, Greta (Laurel McGowan), is portrayed as a feminist and is married to Bruno (Lex Marinos), the son of Italian immigrants, to which Ted strongly objects (often referring to him as a "bloody wog"). Other politically incorrect humour includes Ted's references to Neville, the concrete Aboriginal garden statue. This was named after Australia's first Aboriginal Senator, Neville Bonner, who enjoyed it so much he visited the show's recording.
At other times, humour was based on the more traditional comedic methods of poorly thought-out schemes of Ted's (usually get-rich-quick); class differences (between the suburban Bullpitts and Ted's 'Datsun dealer' brother Bob and his upwardly-mobile wife Merle) and simple misunderstandings leading to a chain of humorous events.
Guest stars on Kingwood Country
Played by Ross Higgins. Ted, full name Edward Melba Bullpitt, is the main character of the series. He is intolerant and has a particular hatred (and fear) of Catholics. Ted was part of a kitchen unit captured by the Italians in World War Two. His favourite thing, over his wife and family, is his Holden Kingswood. He also enjoys reading the comic Mandrake, sitting in his chair in front of the television, either while reading the paper or with his tankard of beer as well as tending to his greyhounds (Gay Akubra and Repco Lad). Ted is known as "Big Bum Bullpitt" to the students and Nuns (teachers) at the local Catholic school St Joseph's. He is also afraid of the Nuns, though seems to like Sister Maria as she also likes beer.
According to Ted he is a descendant of Lord Stokely Bullpitt of Kingswood who died in 1786 as he fell from his horse during a nun hunt. His only son was illegitimate so therefore could not claim his father's title. That son married an Italian kitchen maid named Maria Bertalucci - an ancestor of Bruno. The title was first bestowed by Henry VIII to a man whom he gave a large section of his forest or the King's Wood, hence the title.
Played by Judi Farr. Thelma, known as "Thel" for short, is Ted's wife and mother of Craig and Greta. She often answers the telephone with catch phrases in the hope of winning the latest prize from TV Week or whatever competition is currently running on the radio. Thelma also keeps a drawer full of old receipts to show Ted after buying expensive items from Myer (she simply holds her fingers over the date and waves the receipt at him, showing a small purchase). Thelma gives very specific advice on how to perform everyday chores - for example, making coffee or tea, "You'll have to add hot water dear, otherwise it'll be a bit dry". In the spin-off, Bullpit, it's revealed she divorced Ted, married an Italian and lives in Italy.
Played by Peter Fisher. Craig is Ted's only son. He is a medical student and later in the series marries his girlfriend Wendy.
Played by Laurel McGowan. Greta is Ted's only daughter and is married to Bruno Bertolucci.
Played by Lex Marinos. Bruno is Ted's son-in-law, who he refers to as 'The Wog' and is married to Greta. He drives a purple Valiant, which is often a sore point with the Holden-loving Ted. Bruno takes great delight in poking fun at Ted and calling him 'Grumblebum' or 'Teddles', but affectionately calls Thelma 'Mrs B' and has sympathy with her for having to put up with Ted.
Played by Colin McEwan. Ted's brother. Bob, is a used car salesman, often referred to as a 'Bloody Datsun dealer' by Ted. He has a love-hate relationship with both Ted and his wife Merle and insults are often traded, though he does have a soft spot for Thelma.
Played by Maggie Dence. Ted's upwardly mobile sister-in-law and is married to his brother Bob. Seems to dislike both Bob and Ted and often insults them both, although she gets on well with her sister-in-law despite Thelma's sometimes vague nature.
Played by Sheila Kennelly. After Ted's wife Thelma leaves, Bertolucci comes to look after hapless Ted. She defines herself as a happy-go-lucky wog.
The series has spawned some catchphrases such as:
- "Don't 'Dad' me boy/girl, I'm your father!". "Don't 'Mum and Dad' us boy/girl, we're your parents" was also used.
- "Pickle me grandmother!"
- [when surprised from behind] "Give a man a heart attack!"
- "Strike me Catholic!"
- [when someone asks to drink his beer] "Money on the fridge!". Sometimes changed to "Money on the fridge Wog!" when Bruno asked Ted for a beer.
- "Somebody/someone should blow [current object of annoyance] up!" e.g. "Someone should blow those Nuns up!"
- "The Kingswood! You're not taking the Kingswood!..." [insert far-fetched excuse] e.g. "I've just ducoed the tyres" or "I've just glad-wrapped the aerial!" or "I've just Mr Sheened the number-plate!"
- "When I was a boy... " [insert long-winded, far-fetched story] Always responded to with "Yeah, yeah sure Ted/Dad."
- "Hate, hate, vomit!"
- [when asked how his day went] "Bloody shambles, of course!"
- [the universal insult for a miserable, miserly old man] "Grumblebum!"
- [in response to someone mishearing his surname] "No, everyone says that. Its Bull-PITT". Also said often by Thelma when talking on the phone.
- "Where's the bloody Kingswood?"
- "Attila the Nun"
- "Bloody Wogs!"
- "Bloody woman!"
- "Blow 'em all up!"
- "Watch it mate!"
- "No wonder the country's in a mess"
- "I win, you lose, and I'm the king of the castle"
- "Bloody Nuns"
A 'Best Of' DVD was released in 2003 featuring 13 out of the 89 episodes as well as the original skit on The Naked Vicar Show that spawned the series. A second 'Best Of' featuring an additional 13 episodes was also released in 2006. Then in September 2008 a third best of set was released. On 12 May 2010 The Best Of Kingswood Country Volume 4 was released with another 13 episodes, which will mean that 52 out of 89 episodes will be available on DVD commercially.
Bullpitt! (Kingswood Country spin-off)
A spin-off to the series was the short-lived, much panned Bullpitt! in 1997. Of the original show's cast only Ross Higgins had a regular role. Elaine Lee co-starred. A Best Of Set was released in September 2008.