1989 / Director. Unknown.
Review by Justine Ryan.
Anyone who grew up in the 80s and 90s will fondly remember a quick-witted, monobrow puppet named Agro (voiced and puppeteered by Jamie Dunn) and his co-host Ann-Maree Biggar from Channel Seven’s Cartoon Connection.
With Christmas only a few weeks away, I thought it was very fitting to dust off some old VHS's of Christmas cartoons recorded a couple days before Christmas in 1989, and revisit Cartoon Connections Christmas Special: A Very Agro Christmas!
While Ann-Maree is soundly asleep, Agro decides to sneak into the spare room to try and get a better look at his outrageously expensive Christmas present he is sure Ann-Maree has bought him, quipping to himself that, “Who am I kidding? I better check the back of the drawers for undies on special!” Soon spotting her hiding place – on top of the wardrobe, Agro attempts to bounce up from the couch to get a closer look, only to slip, crashing to the floor. As he gets up, he sees a vision of a woman in the doorway of the room. He follows her onto the lounge-room where she introduces herself as Stella. She is an elf from the North Pole, coming for Agro’s help as Santa has become very sick and is wasting away. Agro agrees and after a short journey back to the North Pole, Agro soon meets Santa’s helpers and Santa’s mean and very scrooge like, forgotten half-brother, Barnaby, who lives in a caravan next door. Like all good villains, Barnaby reveals that he hates Christmas and wants to see Christmas and Santa Clause forgotten just like him! (He clearly has issues with being unknown). Agro sneaks into Barnaby’s caravan to investigate and meets Santa’s daughter, Ann Clause (played by Ann-Maree Biggar), who has been kidnapped by Barnaby and is now his slave, to cook and clean. Agro soon discovers Barnaby’s secret. He has a special black box which sucks all of Santa’s powers and gives them to Barnaby (his knowledge and the secrets of Christmas), making Santa very thin and forgetful. Agro saves the day, turning off the black box, and Barnaby changes his ways after he receives his first ever letter from a child.
After many years since I last viewed A Very Agro Christmas, it was an absolute delight to watch it again, and lots of fun, taking me back to my childhood days of watching Cartoon Connection (the fun, smart arse banter between Agro and Ann-Maree) and my fondness of the loveable larrikin, Agro Vation.