Max (Robert Peschel) and Paul (Luke Carroll) upset Mr Fish (Mark Mitchell) by playing percussion music in his foyer, but when Lotis the lift opens her doors and a noisy Chinese dragon called Peter comes out into the foyer, Mr Fish doesn’t mind. Frill neck lizard Rocky is hiding nearby and the lively Patches do a quick drumming dance. We go through Beverley’s eye to see documentary footage of lyre birds stomping and dancing. Summary by Annemaree O'Brien.
This scene captures some of the richness, diversity, humour and cleverness of Lift Off. Music is a key element and the percussion music links the segments in this clip.
Mr Fish is the officious adult who bosses the children but lets the adults do anything, a view of the world often held by children! But Mr Fish’s negative approach spurs the children to look for creative ways to overcome his unreasonable rules. The rather odd looking Beverley is the eye to the natural world and in every episode shows nature documentary segments, with beautiful footage matched with music. The Patches on her pot have a life of their own too, and they form shapes as they slide, skip, change and dance creating interludes of music and colour. The Patches explore spatial relationships in much the same way as a tangram or a jigsaw puzzle do.
The actors in this scene also reflect the ACTF’s(Australian Children’s Television foundation) strong commitment to presenting diversity and a more realistic presentation of children in their productions. Paul is played by the talented child actor Luke Carroll in one of his first major television roles. Max is played by a newcomer, Robert Peschel.
The theme of this episode is rubbish. It is in two separate 24-minute parts and has the usual Lift Off mix of live action, animation, puppetry music, documentary and fantasy. The main storyline in each part is about the Lift Off kids, interspersed with the other elements. In part A, a scruffy old doll (EC) falls off a dump truck and is rescued by Poss (Erin Pratten) and Kim (Maria Nguyen) who soon realise that EC is no ordinary doll. In part B, Paul (Luke Carroll) is fed up with babysitting his little sister Aku (Aku Bielicki), especially after she breaks his kite.
A Load of Old Rubbish is the first episode of Lift Off and introduces the diverse cast of main characters, locations and segments. A busy and complex program with a great deal of early childhood expertise behind it, Lift Off was carefully designed to present a range of characters, families, and situations. Lift Off also aimed to look at, and to show the world from the child’s perspective. The theme of ‘rubbish’ is explored in interesting ways, through the different elements of the episode.
Lift Off first aired on the ABC at 2.00 pm on Friday 8 May 1992, starting with A Load of Old Rubbish. This episode’s first screening in the 4.30 pm timeslot on the ABC was Tuesday 28 July 1992.
Notes by Annemaree O'Brien