1 9 7 9 – 1 9 8 4 (Australia)
89 x 25 minute episodes
Ted Bullpitt (Ross Higgins) and his wife, Thelma (Judi Farr), live at 14 Wombat Crescent. Ted’s most precious possession is his Holden Kingswood car.
He objects when his son, Craig (Peter Fisher), or son-in-law, Bruno (Lex Marinos) – “the wog who raced off with my daughter” – want to drive the car and keeps the keys hidden. He also glad-wraps the tow bar and steam-cleans the glove box – such is his love for the car.
Ted’s brother, Bob (Colin McEwan), is a sales representative for Datsun – something else which incurs Ted’s disgust, as he feels that his brother should only deal with Holden cars.
Thelma can cook a chop 47 different ways and harbours a secret ambition to get her driver’s license (and a Datsun). When asked why she married Ted, she replied “because he asked me. It’s only polite”.
Ted calls his son, Craig, a “randy little animal” – and Craig (who is studying medicine) agrees.
Ted is also unimpressed with his daughter Greta’s choice of a husband. In fact, he’s never forgiven her for marrying Bruno (the “Grassby groupie”) and becoming a Bertolucci instead of a Bullpitt.
That said, Greta (Laurel McGowan) is the only one who can stand up to Ted and get away with it.
Bruno Bertolucci is an Aussie Rules-loving Catholic boy who thinks Ron Barassi would make a great Prime Minister (if the Pope’s job is unavailable). Bruno also owns a purple Valiant and is, therefore, Ted’s mortal enemy.
When Ted is not fussing over his Kingswood, he can often be spotted tending to ‘Neville’, the concrete Aboriginal statue in the front garden of the Bulpitt home.
The other loves of his life are his two decrepit greyhounds, Repco Lad and Gay Akubra, who have become so grossly overweight that they take their daily walk in a wheelbarrow.
Towards the end of the series, Thel left Ted to go on an extended world cruise, never to return.
Bruno’s mum, Rosa (Sheila Kennelly), ended up moving in to look after Ted.
Kingswood Country was a ground-breaking sitcom at the time, developed from a series of brief sketches in The Naked Vicar Show.
With crude, sexist and racist jokes – usually at son-in-law Bruno’s expense – appealing to the mainstream Aussie sense of humour and guaranteeing a laugh-a-second, it probably wouldn’t get played today.