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Obituary: Hugh Clifford Stuckey – ‘Australia’s first TV comedy writer’

A popular comedian turned writer and producer, Hugh Clifford Stuckey made history as the first comedy writer hired by Australian television, for Sydney Tonight, in 1957 (the year after broadcasts began).

He worked briefly in Hollywood before returning to Australia, where he was lead writer on a projected 13-part series starring Tony Hancock. The series was curtailed by the star’s suicide after only three episodes had been filmed in 1968.

Moving again to the US in the early 1970s, Stuckey wrote sketches for Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and for the comedies Bewitched, The Flying Nun and I Dream of Jeannie. The second half of the decade was spent in London where he contributed to The Two Ronnies, Dave Allen at Large, The Dick Emery Show and for Frankie Howerd.

Stuckey’s later career was spent between Australia and England, variously serving as script editor and writer for A Country Practice and Neighbours, and, in the UK, writing episodes of The Bill, the Millicent Martin vehicle Moon and Son (1992) and, reunited with Howerd, for Frankie’s On.

Co-written with Jack Brown, his play Over My Dead Body won a competition organised by the leading Australian theatre producer JC Williamson in the 1970s but was never produced, because the company folded shortly afterwards.

Hugh Clifford Stuckey was born on July 1, 1928 and died on June 21, aged 89.