1 9 6 4 (Australia)
13 x 30 minute episodes
Sisters Joan (Sheila Bradley) and Shirley (Robina Beard) Muggleton inherit a run-down roadside cafe-cum-garage from their Uncle Ted, located at Frog’s Hollow on the Hume Highway between Sydney and Melbourne (Australia).
They also inherit Charlie Appleby (Edward Hepple), a lazy mechanic who works there.
The girls are mostly put out at having to leave the city, their cosy flat, and glamorous jobs to move out to the country and run a business they know nothing about. Shirl, particularly, misses her city boyfriends.
Joan tries to make the best of their predicament and smarten up the place so they can make a profit, sell it, and go back to the city. But she is thwarted at every turn by Charlie, a born loafer who spends more time in the storeroom armed with beer can, transistor radio, and racing form guide, than in the garage fixing cars.
Through his laziness, the girls are forced to learn to mend punctures and other mechanic’s duties.
The regular cast members were joined each week by guest actors and it was the motorists who stopped for a snack, petrol, or to have their cars repaired, who provided many of the laughs.
Closeted in a room at Melbourne’s Southern Cross Hotel in Winter 1963, English scriptwriters Ronald Chesney and Ronald Wolfe (of The Rag Trade fame) drafted six episodes. Local writers wrote another seven episodes to complete the series.
Produced by GTV-9, Barley Charlie was the second television sitcom produced locally in Australia. The first was Take That which was produced between 1957 and 1959 but aired in Melbourne only.
Though short-lived, Barley Charlie was a ratings success.