Remember Kingswood Country, the Australian sitcom that screened from 1980 to 1984 on Channel 7?
The show featured real Aussie humour and although it was seen by many as racist and sexist, it was in fact meant to mock those attitudes held by many Australians at the time.
Kingswood Country won the Most Popular Comedy Award in 1981 and 1982 at the Logies.
“Ted” Bullpitt was played by Ross Higgins, a white Australian, conservative, bigoted, Kingswood loving factory worker and World War 2 veteran, who recalls his difficult childhood in ever more exaggerated ways and endlessly declares his love for his car, the Holden Kingswood..
Some of Ted sayings included; “The Kingswood! You’re not taking the Kingswood!”, “Bloody woman!” “Pickle me grandmother!” and “Don’t ‘dad’ me, I’m your father!” Ted also loved his greyhounds, his garden statue of Neville the Aboriginal, his chair in front of the telly and hated the ‘bloody nuns’.
The show mainly centred on the conflict between the conservative sexist & racist Ted & his progressive children with his poor long suffering wife Thelma stuck in the middle. His daughter’s husband, Bruno (played by Lex Marinos), was the son of Italian immigrants and Ted objected to him completely; referring to him as ‘that bloody wog’.
Thelma was played by Judi Farr and she was cast as the traditional housewife trapped by Ted’s conservative family views, but she often got her own back on Ted including often using old Myer receipts she had hidden in a drawer, used to fool Ted into thinking she paid less for a new item, than she really had.
Others in the cast included Peter Fisher as Craig, Ted’s son, and daughter Greta was actress Laurel McGowan.
I don’t think the Kingswood was ever seen on the show but was referred to on many occasions and usually several times in any one episode.
“You’re not taking the Kingswood, I’ve just ducoed the tyres” or “I’ve just glad-wrapped the aerial!” or “I’ve just Mr Sheened the number-plate!”
Photo from You Tube. Ross Higgins as Ted and Judi Farr as his poor long suffering wife Thelma.
Other times the humour was based on the more traditional comedy situations of poorly thought-out schemes of Ted’s (usually get-rich-quick); class differences between the suburban Bullpitts and Ted’s brother Bob, the Datsun dealer, and his upwardly-mobile wife Merle.
It was at around the time that Australian culture was undergoing a major change with multiculturalism, the women’s movement was forging ahead the political landscape was shifting and Ted was finding it difficult to adjust to the changes that were happening all around him.
The show won the Most Popular Comedy Award in 1981 and 1982 at the Logies. Some of the guest stars in the series included Graham Kennedy, Noeline Brown, Bruce Spence, Robert Hughes and Cornelia Frances.
There have been 4 sets of DVDs released, each of 13 episodes, featuring the ‘Best Of’ the series plus there are a number of the episodes also up on You Tube.
Some of Ted’s other sayings include;
(when asked how his day went) “Bloody shambles, of course!”
“Blow ’em all up!” (anybody who was annoying him at the time).
“Watch it mate!”
“No wonder the country’s in a mess”
And of course, “Bloody Nuns”.
Ross Higgins who played Ted Bullpit died of unspecified causes on 7 October 2016, aged 85. He had been ill for some time and had been hospitalised for several weeks