1 9 8 1 (Australia)
6 x 30 minute episodes
This short-lived comedy series from the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) revolved around a bid by Achilles ‘Acky’ Jones (Peter Curtin) to get a nag – the ‘Bucknuckle’ of the title – to win the Melbourne Cup.
Acky Jones – a great Australian Rules football virtuoso but as dumb as an ox and just as powerful – had retired after winning the Brownlow Medal during a controversial football career and returned to the solitude of his farm.
His neighbours gave him the horse but despite being a handsome and vigorous beast, Bucknuckle refused to do any farm work and galloped off into the wide blue yonder if anyone so much as mentioned the prospect. It took Acky four days to catch the animal the first time it ran off.
Former Never Mind The Quality, Feel The Width star John Bluthal was JJ Forbes, the manager of his former football club, the East Melbourne Crows. Forbes had lost a year’s salary gambling on the football results and needed a good get-rich-quick scheme, persuading Acky to put his horse into training for the Melbourne Cup.
Noni Hazelhurst played Acky’s live-in girlfriend, Lil, who he had only ever kissed once during their colourless affair. Although loyal to Acky (he pulled the farm plough, she pushed it), she saw Bucknuckle as a knackery-bound burden rather than a potential purse-filler.
Lil was tired of scrimping and scraping to make ends meet and upset that there was no electricity for the TV: “I’m sick of looking at a blank screen like you do,” she snapped.
Michael Duffield gave an aristocratic bearing to his role of Colonel Aubrey Mannix, Reg Evans was comical as Wally Sloss, and Rose Sturgess was humorously croupy as Miss Turner.
And Here Comes Bucknuckle was a belated sequel to a series called And The Big Men Fly (1974). Both were written by playwright Alan Hopgood.
Achilles ‘Acky’ Jones
Colonel Aubrey Mannix