Skippy The Bush Kangaroo Vol. 2 Review

My general comments on Skippy can be found in my review of Volume 1. Volume 2 contains a further eight more episodes of non-stop marsupial action. As with the first volume, all the episodes come from the first series, in transmission order but not consecutive.

The episodes are as follows (with some spoilers):

The Marine Biologist (24:17)
Mark has to help a marine biologist making a report on the river. He’s expecting some dull professor…but finds instead blonde bikini-clad Kathy Trout (a real-life World Deep Dive Champion).

The Swagman (24:07)
Mr Trundle (Gerry Duggan) may be an old swagman, with a lot of tales that are probably very tall…but Sonny is very taken by him. It turns out that he’s a millionaire who has decided there must be more to life and has gone wandering the roads, leaving Sonny with a gift.

Summer Storm (24:14)
Storms and floods hit the area, and Mark and a truck driver get stranded.

Surf King (24:11)
Jerry wants to impress the girls on the beach, but his attempts at winning the surf championship lead to an accident. Meanwhile, Matt and Clancy tackle a bush fire.

Mayday Part One (24:15)
Mayday Part Two (24: 16)
A two-part episode, with the episodes listed on the back cover and the menu, but not on screen, as “Mayday” and “Where There’s Smoke”. Jerry tries to combine his flight ranger duties with making a date with his girlfriend, but is forced to crash his helicopter. Sonny and Skippy save the day. In the second part Jerry, recovering from his injuries, is questioned by a couple of flight inspectors (one of them played by a very young-looking Bill Hunter) and may lose his licence…

The Empty Chair (24:11)
An oil search group have been given permission to test drill in the middle of the park, which has dreadful consequences for the future of the park. However, the company chairman is Miles Archer, alias Mr Trundle the wandering swagman (see above), and Sonny sees a possible way out…

The Long Night (24:26)
A ranger vehicle, driven by Mark, may or may not be involved in a hit and run. Meanwhile, two criminals are after a valuable microfilm…

As with Volume 1, this UK release is a direct port of the Australian one via Umbrella Entertainment. It’s Region 0 with three chapters per episode (with a “Play All” facility) but unfortunately no subtitles.

Again the picture quality is acceptable but not special. The picture is generally soft and grainy, and shadow detail is not especially good (notably in “Summer Storm” and “The Long Night”). Skippy was shot on 16mm colour film and was intended for much smaller, lower-fidelity viewing devices than the ones used nowadays, so that should be borne in mind. Needless to say, the transfer is 4:3, as you’d expect for 1960s television.

As before, the sound is mono, but an entirely professional job of balancing dialogue, sound effects and Eric Jupp’s music score. It won’t give your system a workout, but there’s nothing wrong with it.

The main extra is an interview. With Volume 1 it was Ken James, and this time it’s Tony Bonner. He’s a very entertaining raconteur, telling amongst other things a hilarious story of an episode set around the Waratah Parade in Sydney – the logistics of driving a parade float while trying to tell a story, not to mention keeping a kangaroo and an emu (the latter sedated by means of half a bottle of whisky) in place at the back of the float, have to be heard to be believed. Unfortunately that episode is not in either Volume 1 or Volume 2.

Tony Bonner features in the next extra, an audio-only feature where he sings the title theme (2:04). There’s also a twelve-page reproduction of a Skippy comic strip, which I found a little small to read easily. This might have been better as a DVD-ROM item in PDF format. Finally, there’s a twelve-image stills gallery. As before, each still is black and white.

If you’re likely to consider Volume 1 then you’ll want Volume 2 as well. As before, these eight episodes are a fair sampling of what remains Australian TV’s most successful export ever. It may be a product of gentler times, but it’s done with sincerity and craftsmanship and is still entertaining.

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out of 10

Last updated: 19/04/2018 10:36:01

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