Tchk, tchk, tchk: Skippy the Bush Kangaroo and the question of Australian seriousness

Mark Nicholas Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Skippy the Bush Kangaroo is one of Australia s all-time most successful cultural exports. Sold to 128 countries and dubbed into 25 languages, it had a global audience in the early 1970s of more than 300 million. Yet Skippy has always has received remarkably little critical attention. A significant reason for this is that it has always resisted being taken seriously. While the show had elements of realism and introduced themes such as the environment and the indigenous presence in the land, the narrative focus was, in the end, a crime-fighting marsupial, able to untie ropes, knock down baddies and hold extended conversations through her trademark tchk tchk tchk. The result has been that the cultural processing of Skippy has tended to be in light-hearted mode from where are they now interviews with actors on daytime talk shows to jokey spoofs on television sketch shows. Rather than attempting, inappropriately, to take Skippy seriously , the paper reflects on the question of seriousness itself? or lack thereof. It suggests that the negotiation of this question offers insights into the larger question of Australia s seriousness and its implications for the way Australianness circulates at the international level and is processed offshore.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574 - 582
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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