Lift Off (Australian TV series)
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|Theme music composer||Chris Neal|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||78|
|Executive producer(s)||Patricia Edgar|
|Original network||ABC TV|
|Original release||8 May 1992– 24 March 1995|
|Web page at ACTF (archived)<
Lift Off is an Australian educational television series that was broadcast on ABC Television from 1992 until the series ended in 1995. Each episode featured a live action storyline about a group of young children, and the problems they encountered with growing up, their parents, and various other social issues. Episodes would also feature segments of short animation, puppetry and documentary segments, as well as various songs, stories, and word games. Aimed at 3 to 8 year olds based on the ideas of Harvard University development psychologist Howard Gardner. The series was linked with the school curricula through the Curriculum Corporation of Australia. The different episodes used stories and locations to explore subjects such as jealousy, loneliness and anger. The puppet characters were designed by illustrator Terry Denton and were constructed by the sculptor Ron Mueck.
- Poss Burke - Erin Pratten: A blonde haired, blue eyed young girl. Poss is Nipper's and Annie's big sister and the Burke's eldest child.
- Nipper Burke - Paul Cheyne: A blonde haired, blue eyed little boy. Nipper is Poss' little brother, Annie's big brother and the Burke's middle child.
- Annie Burke - Nikita Plummer (Season 2): A blonde haired, blue eyed preschooler-aged girl. Annie is Poss and Nipper's little sister and the Burke's youngest child. Up until Season 2, Annie was known as "Baby Annie".
- Max Garcia - Robert Peschel: A brown haired, brown eyed young boy who is deaf and requires a hearing aid. He is Turbo's little brother and the Garcia's youngest child.
- Turbo Garcia - Heber Yerien: A brown haired, brown eyed adolescent boy who assists Snap Jordan in her "fix it" business. He is Max's big brother and the Garcia's eldest child.
- Aku Jordan - Aku Bielicki: A brown haired, brown eyed, Aboriginal little girl. She is Paul's little sister and the Jordan's youngest child.
- Paul Jordan - Luke Carroll: A brown haired, brown eyed, Aboriginal young boy. He is Aku's big brother and the Jordan's eldest child.
- Raph Ponti - Jared Daperis (Season 2): A brown haired, brown eyed preschooler-aged boy. He is Marco's little brother, "Baby Ponti's" big brother and the Ponti's middle child. He, along with his family, moved into the Garcia's apartment in Season 3.
- Marco Ponti - Mario Filintatzis (Season 2): A brown haired, brown eyed, disabled little boy. He is Raph's and "Baby Ponti's" big brother and the Ponti's eldest child. He, along with his family, moved into the Garcia's apartment in Season 3.
- Kim Stinson - Maria Nguyen: A young Chinese girl, who was adopted. She is the Stintson's only child.
- Jenny Burke - Madeleine Blackwell: Poss, Nipper and Annie's mother.
- Ted Burke - David Sandford: Poss, Nipper and Annie's father.
- Ricardo Garcia - Petru Gheorghiu: Turbo and Max's father.
- Teresa Garcia - Irini Pappas: Turbo and Max's mother.
- Snap Jordan - Aku Kadogo: Paul and Aku's mother, who, along with Turbo, runs a "fix it" business.
- Harry Stinson - Alan Fletcher: Kim's adoptive father, who works as an architect.
- Stella Stinson - Louise Le Nay: Kim's adoptive mother, who works as a real estate agent.
- Mr. (Seymour) Fish - Mark Mitchell: One of the most memorable characters and major antagonist of Lift Off, Mr. Fish was the caretaker of the small apartment building where the characters lived. He was often seen yelling at the children from behind his desk in the apartment foyer when they came in from the outside. He owned numerous signs, which he used to threaten the children.
- "Mumsy" Fish - Mark Mitchell: Mr Fish's mum, who constantly drops in unannounced to check on Mr Fish. Despite the fact that he is an adult now, Mumsy treats him as if he is a child, much to Mr Fish's embarrassment and disgust.
- Bonza Men -
|Morris||David Collins (Season 1)
Sean Masterson (Season 2)
|Doris||Janette Dalgliesh (Season 1)
Megan Cameron (Season 2)
|Wolf||Hugh Simpson (Season 1)
Frank Italiano (Season 2)
|Nearly||Philip Millar (Season 1)
Malcolm Martin (Season 2)
|Cook||Will Conyers (Season 1)
Rod Primrose (Season 2)
|Lonely||Peter Wilson (Season 1)
Bob Parsons (Season 2)
|EC||Peter Wilson (Season 1)
Bob Parsons (Season 2)
|Beverley||Peter Wilson (Season 1)
Bob Parsons (Season 2)
|Rocky||Will Conyers (Season 1)
Peter Wilson (Season 1, live action segments)
John Rogers (Season 2)
Bob Parsons (Season 2, live action segments)
|Gnocchi||Janette Dalgliesh (Season 1)
Frank Italiano (Season 2)
|Tweesak||Janette Dalgliesh (Season 1)|
|Scruffsak||David Collins (Season 1)|
|Grumblesak||Janette Dalgliesh (Season 1)|
|Dippisak||David Collins (Season 1)|
|Gabblesak||Hugh Simpson (Season 1)|
|Rapsak||Hugh Simpson (Season 1)|
|Oscar the Ocelot||Frank Italiano (Season 2)|
Assistant puppeteers included Roy McNeill, Heather Monk, Rod Primrose, Jenny Sherlock, Michelle Spooner, Sue Blakey, Jenny Ishmakovich and Liss Gabb.
Lotis (voiced by Julie Forsyth) is a magical lift in the apartment building. She tries to help the younger characters with their personal problems, but cannot understand more complex human behaviour and thinking.
Rocky the Frill-Necked Lizard is the leader of a colony of frilled-necked lizards. Rocky spies on the humans ("two-footers") and reports his findings to the rest of the colony. Rocky was puppeteered by Will Conyers/Peter Wilson in the first season, and John Rogers/Bob Parsons in the second.
Beverley is a one-eyed plant that lives in the apartment foyer. She shows short documentary clips about the episode's subject matter. Beverley was puppeteered by Peter Wilson in the first season, and Bob Parsons in the second.
EC ("Every Child") is an animated rag doll who is intended to be genderless so as to be more widely relatable. EC alternately stands for "Elizabeth and Charlie", which are the names that Poss and Kim give to EC in the first episode ("A Load of Rubbish"). EC was puppeteered by Peter Wilson in the first season, and Bob Parsons in the second.
The Backsacks: the children's backpacks that came to life and spoke though their zipper mouths. There are 7 of them owned by each of the 7 Children. When Max and Turbo moved to the country in Season 2, their backsacks were passed along to Raph and Marco.
Wakadoo Café puppet characters
- Boris: The ugliest and most ignorant of the three pigs. (Puppeteered by John Rogers)
- Morris: Morris is slightly less antagonising than Boris but is still a pain. (Puppeteered by David Collins in the first season and Sean Masterson in the second)
- Doris: Doris is the only female pig but is just as aggravating as Boris and Morris. (Puppeteered by Janette Dalgliesh in the first season and Megan Cameron in the second)
- Wolf: Wolf is employed as an entertainer, along with the three pigs despite their love/hate relationship. Though he is very self-centred and arrogant, he has been known to show his kind side, proving that he does indeed have a good heart. (Puppeteered by Hugh Simpson in the first season and Francesco "Frank" Italiano in the second)
- Boss: The rather strict manager of the café, it's not uncommon for the café's employees to hold a grudge against her, though this never lasts long, as despite her rudeness, Boss' good side often shines through in the end. Her real name is Hortense. (Puppeteered by Liza-Mare Syron)
- Nearly: A kind-hearted and clumsy member of the group. He is in charge of the drinks. Nearly is prone to depression and is very nervous around others. (Puppeteered by Philip Millar in the first season and Malcolm Martin in the second)
- Zelda: Nearly's sister. She works as a waitress and is very popular among the café's customers. (Puppeteered by Liz Rule)
- Lonely: A quiet and shy character who doesn't appear to have any friends, though he claims to be waiting for someone and has been doing so for a very long time. (Puppeteered by Peter Wilson/Roy McNeill in the first season and Bob Parsons in the second)
- Cook: Cook is a true artiste, and seemingly the café's only kitchen employee. He is very sensitive, especially about his cooking, but is respected by the others. (Puppeteered by Will Conyers/Peter Wilson in the first season and Rod Primrose/Bob Parsons in the second)
Season 1 (1992)
Episode 1 and 2: A Load of Old Rubbish (8 May 1992)
Episode 3 and 4: Destroy (15 May 1992)
Episode 5 and 6: Which One? (22 May 1992)
Episode 7 and 8: That's Not Fair (29 May 1992)
Episode 9 and 10: Because It Feels Good (5 June 1992)
Episode 11 and 12: Into The Unknown (12 June 1992)
Episode 13 and 14: Once I Grew (19 June 1992)
Episode 15 and 16: Something Tells Me (26 June 1992)
Episode 17 and 18: The Wheel Turns (3 July 1992)
Episode 19 and 20: Out Of Order (10 July 1992)
Episode 21 and 22: Above and Beyond (17 July 1992)
Episode 23 and 24: I Can! (24 July 1992)
Episode 25 and 26: Remember (31 July 1992)
Episode 27 and 28: Clash (7 August 1992)
Episode 29 and 30: For Sale (14 August 1992)
Episode 31 and 32: Face (21 August 1992)
Episode 33 and 34: Going Under (28 August 1992)
Episode 35 and 36: Illusion Is All (4 September 1992)
Episode 37 and 38: Beneath The Skin (11 September 1992)
Episode 39 and 40: Real Friends (18 September 1992)
Episode 41 and 42: Lost (25 September 1992)
Episode 43 and 44: Funday (2 October 1992)
Episode 45 and 46: No Entry (9 October 1992)
Episode 47 and 48: Wanting (16 October 1992)
Episode 49 and 50: Threads (23 October 1992)
Episode 51 and 52: All Together Now (30 October 1992)
Season 2 (1995)
Series two premiered on 17 February 1995.
Episode 53 and 54: Brand New (17 February 1995 and 20 February 1995)
Episode 55 and 56: Under Pressure (21 February 1995 and 22 February 1995)
Episode 57 and 58: What's Missing (23 February 1995 and 24 February 1995)
Episode 59 and 60: My World (27 February 1995 and 28 February 1995)
Episode 61 and 62: Would I Lie (1 March 1995 and 2 March 1995)
Episode 63 and 64: Give and Take (3 March 1995 and 6 March 1995)
Episode 65 and 66: Far Out (7 March 1995 and 8 March 1995)
Episode 67 and 68: Out of This World (9 March 1995 and 10 March 1995)
Episode 69 and 70: Shape I'm In (13 March 1995 and 14 March 1995)
Episode 71 and 72: Heroes (15 March 1995 and 16 March 1995)
Episode 73 and 74: In Your Shoes (17 March 1995 and 20 March 1995)
Episode 75 and 76: Not Alone (21 March 1995 and 22 March 1995)
Episode 77 and 78: From Where I Stand (23 March 1995 and 24 March 1995)
- "Title Details: Lift-Off 1". National Film and Sound Archive. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
- Australian Children's Television Foundation - Lift Off Website
- "Title Details: Lift-Off 2". National Film and Sound Archive. Retrieved 2017-03-15.