Australia's favourite TV animals

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Neighbours' Bouncer got more fan mail than most of the cast. Says a lot!" link="/neighbours/show/4717/summary.html" target="_blank" loc="right">

Australian drama has had it's ups and downs over the years, but if anything has remained constant, it is our love for the soft, cuddly creatures that graces our screens, regardless of the quality of the TV production.

No long-running TV show is complete without a heart-meltingly lovable animal, and its related storylines -- here are some of our favourite Australian animal of the small screen.

Bouncer on Neighbours
Bouncer, the ever loyal and enthusiastic golden labrador was as big a lure for Neighbours audiences as the unpredictable story lines and diverse characters.

During his time on Neighbours, Bouncer lived at three separate addresses on Ramsay Street, was struck down by speeding vehicles, rescued damsels in distress from house fires and completed cross-state adventures alone.

Introduced as a new pet for Lucy Robinson (Sasha Close), he quickly passed into the care of Mike Young (Guy Pearce) when Lucy moved overseas. Following a fraught custody battle, Bouncer moved in with the less-than-friendly Mrs Mangle (Vivean Gray), with whom he secured a inexplicable bond.

One of Neighbours' most memorable (and ridiculous) story lines revolved entirely around a dream Bouncer had. The episode saw the 'action' enter the dreamscape of the dog, as he pursued his neighbour's sheepdog, which culminated in marriage.

And we thought that the scriptwriting in Neighbours circa 2010 had got desperate....

During an interview, Anne Charleston (Madge Bishop) said "The whole cast was mortified about that! It reduced it to a three-year-old's program. It was very strange."

When the Mangles moved to the country for a break, Bouncer went with them -- but it wasn't long before he returned to Erinsborough for a spot of casual child rearing. His reunion with the Neighbours cast was, however, short lived, as he finally made his last journey into the countryside with the Willis family ... never to be seen again.

Sadly, just 13 weeks after filming his final scenes on the show, Bouncer died of cancer at the age of seven.

Blinky Bill on The Adventures of Blinky Bill
Blinky Bill, although perhaps not a 'true' TV animal, is certainly one of the best loved creature characters on Australian television.

Based on the books by New Zealand-born Australian author Dorothy Wall, the character quickly branched into television and film. The first TV series utilised puppets in the major roles, which then became animated in the feature film, Blinky Bill: The Mischievous Koala.

In 1994 the young koala was reincarnated for a new ABC Kids show, The Adventures of Blinky Bill.

Random trivia fact: Blinky Bill is also the nickname of the light at the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge!

Reminisce with the first edition of Blinky Bill, in his puppet form:

Skippy on Skippy The Bush Kangaroo
Skippy is one of the most iconic characters of the Australian small screen, to the extent that it has come to encapsulate for some all elements of Australian culture for people around the world.

The Nine network which originally produced the show had the foresight to produce the program in a colour format, to broaden the screening potential and marketability for US and Canadian audiences.

The series received a Spanish overhaul for the Mexican, Cuban and Spanish markets. But it's popularity did not stop there, as it pushed aside the Iron Curtain to make an impact throughout the Soviet Union, and making a substantial splash in pre-revolution Iran, amongst 128 other countries of broadcast.

Contrary to popular belief, there was one kangaroo called Skippy, but she had several stunt stand-ins when she needed some R&R.; Called Jo-Jo, Stumpy and Wildy, they took the strain when the original kanga diva'd out.

It is seemingly impossible to see when the original kangaroo bit the dust. So who knows. Maybe she's still out there, saving people from old mines and flooded creeks ... it's a nice thought.

Toby on Harry’s Practice
A co-star of Harry’s Practice, together with celebrity vet Dr Katrina Warren -- he was a familiar face on TEN, from his early days when he was premiered on Totally Wild when he was only several weeks old

His following years were will documented, from baths to vaccinations and unfortunate encounters with disgruntled sheep. Toby became a cover star of numerous magazines, striking poses for publications, including NW, Woman's Day, New Idea, Dolly and The Australian Women's Weekly. Nickanmed 'the Wonder Dog' he passed away peacefully at the age of 14.

Rusty on Bondi Vet

Another well loved pooch from a vet-themed show is Bondi Vet's Rusty, the trusty companion of vet Chris Brown.

Also appearing with his master on TEN's 7pm Project and The Circle, Rusty lives with Chris and his flatmates in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney.

Rusty's demeanour makes him ideal for all the meeting and greeting that is required as the pet of Sydney's favourite vet, and also tolerating all the other house guests that Brown brings home with him -- including goats, lambs, pigs, kangaroos, penguins, parrots and a pelican.

Cujo on Kath & Kim
Named after a Stephen King novel that received the big screen treatment, about a friendly St. Bernard that contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town, Kath & Kim's Cujo does not make Kath's lusty romancing an easy feat.

With Cujo's frequent interference between Brett and Kath, her repressed sex drives causes her to lash out at the dog verbally. But against a 75kg dog, there was only ever going to be one winner.

Kim's jealousy over the attention the dog receives from her mother resulted in some brilliant one-liners, including "Well if I'm not a dog then why have I got a bitch for a mother?"

Celine on Summer Heights High
The beaten down chihuahua that is central character Mr G's ever present sidekick does not have an easy ride in the mockumentary hit ABC comedy. According to Mr G, Celine has an "oversized brain", which gives her the same level of intelligence as a 28 year old man.

Also said to be able to do simple maths by stomping her feet, jump through hoops at questionable heights, and has modeled for commercials, Mr G's love for his dog always seemed to be in doubt. Celine 'starred' in a significant story arc at the end of season two, when she was knocked over and killed by a car after the students seemingly left a door ajar.

A dramatic series finale later, and the truth is outed, with her 'death' explained away as an attention seeking exercise by Mr G, as it is revealed she in fact survived, although now confined to a wheelchair.

The young Celine has even garnered her own Facebook fan page, dedicated to all her starring moments. You can only feel sympathy for the poor pooch when her owner's training style is so ... unconventional!

Who are your favourite four-legged friends on Aussie TV?

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