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"This is Fred, our handyman, you won't be able to resist his charm."
- Beatrix Franklin about Fred


Frederick "Fred" Buckle is the handyman of Nonnatus House, undertaking odd jobs around the residence and maintaining it as best he can. He is portrayed by Cliff Parisi.  Fred often enters into get-rich-quick schemes, including purchasing a pig in plans to slaughter it for bacon he will sell and illegally selling mistletoe. However, these schemes rarely work. 

Overview[]

Fred's childhood was spent without shoes, as his father was more interested in buying beer in pubs than clothing his family, it got so bad Fred's mother had to walk through the streets at night trying to escape his fist with Fred in tow. At a young age, Fred promised himself that if he ever had children, he'd provide properly for them, giving them the things he never had. Fred was married before the war and had two daughters, Marlene and Dolly. When war broke out in 1941, Fred joined the army, working as a latrine manager. During the blitz, Fred lost his wife and his family's home. After this, Fred's daughters were shuffled around from relative to relative for two years as he served in the army. 

Dolly eventually married a merchant sailor and had a son, while Marlene relocated to Canada. 

A few years later, a very pregnant Dolly came to visit Fred with her son. She was very eager to see him. However, when Chummy sees Dolly's very swollen ankles, she runs a urine test and discovers Dolly has pre-eclampsia. Dolly is then admitted into the maternity home, and her toddler is left to be cared for by Fred, much to her anxiety. In an effort to soothe her, Chummy has Fred bring the baby to Dolly's window everyday so she can see him.

Fred with Chummy and Samantha

When Dolly gives birth, Fred waits in the patient ward with his grandson. Dolly has a baby girl, and when Chummy comes to show the baby to him, she expresses her fears that she will not be a good enough mother to her own unborn baby. Fred replies that it is about being there for your child, which calms Chummy down considerably. When Chummy gives birth to her own baby boy, she names him Freddie in honour of Fred. Dolly names her daughter Samantha. Dolly then moves to Australia with her family. In Series Four, Fred begins a relationship with a widowed shop keeper, Violet. Eventually he proposes, and she says yes. However upon sending the news to his elder daughter Marlene, she arrives home in Poplar to confront him about it. Immediately hostile, Marlene becomes irate when Fred mentions that he is selling his flat and moving in with Violet above her tailor shop. She later says it is because this is the place where she, her sister and her father came back together after the war, where they could piece together the pieces. 

Fred and Violet wedding

Marlene visits Violet's shop, and remarks how she once came to the shop with her mother and sister when she was a girl. She says that her father once told her that no one could ever replace her mother, to which Violet replies he is right and that no man could ever replace her husband. Marlene continues to intimidate Violent, insinuating that her father is only marrying Violet for financial security. Violet confronts Fred, asking him why he wants to marry her, and when he answers her honestly, Violet assumes that he is not marrying her for love and breaks off the engagement.

Heartbroken, and knowing Marlene had a hand in the downfall of his relationship, Fred mopes in his apartment, so much in fact, that Marlene leaves to stay with a friend. When Chummy comes by to see him, he is at first brisk and not wanting to talk, but he warms up to her eventually. Chummy also brings Marlene by to talk it out with Fred, and Marlene realises she's been selfish. She goes to Violet's shop and tells her "my mum would tan my hide" if she let her father be unhappy.

Moved, Violet reconciles with Marlene and Fred and the two marry. 

Though Fred is kind and warm hearted, when Tony Amos, a member of his defence corp (a local organisation which helps young men prepare for a Russian bomb) is homosexual, Fred becomes rather cold and dismisses Mr. Amos from the corp, telling the pleading Mr. Amos that their corp cannot have "criminals" among their ranks. However, he also adds "If it was down to me [he'd let Tony stay] but it ain't." This suggests that his belief that convicted homosexuals are criminals is a result from that being the normal accepted opinion at the time, and he actually feels some sympathy for Tony.  

Sister Evanegina death

At the end of series 5, it is Fred who discovers that Sister Evangelina has passed away in her sleep. He enters the parlour where the Sister had taken to napping in an armchair by the fire, believing her to be resting. He makes pleasant conversation with her as he prepares to feed the fire, but loudly knocks over the rack of fire pokers. He profusely apologises, knowing the Sister hates loud noises, but when she does not respond or stir, Fred feels her hand and realises she has died. In grief, he removes his hat and sits with her a moment before alerting the other residents of Nonnatus House. Later, when he is outside repairing Sister Evangelina's bicycle as he doesn't know what to do, he tells Tom that Sister Evangelina hasn't been grateful for his work in 18 years of bicycle maintenance. This implies that Fred has been the caretaker of Nonnatus house since 1943 and that he began working there as soon as he finished serving in the army.

Later in Series 6, Fred's cousin passes away of a sudden, massive heart attack while attending church. She leaves behind her grown son, who she fiercely loved and protected because he has Down Syndrome. Her son followed a strict routine, but found it difficult to function when alone, so Fred volunteered to take in his young cousin. Violet was not happy about the idea, thinking he needed to be with people who knew better how to take care of him. One day, the young man turned on the gas and left the apartment, and Fred returned home to a dangerous apartment. Violet soon grew very attached to the boy, feeling like his second mother, and she was very upset when Fred decided it would be best to have him live with people his own age, as in a group home with other individuals with handicaps. Violet was resistant, but upon seeing how happy the boy was in the country side group home, with people his own age, where he can be somewhat independent, she realised it was for the better.

Reggie at funeral

Towards the end of series 6, Violet enters menopause, causing her hot-flashes. Later, she confides in Fred that she feels like it's the end of her life as a mother, the end of her life as a young woman. Fred hugs and fans her, which makes her feel better. Later, Fred brings his cousin home from the group home with flowers, and Violet is very happy to see him. The young man is as well, and happily greets "Hello, mum!" The two embrace.

In Series 7 Fred helps Violet plan a beauty pageant for the women of Poplar which is a success. Later on he meets a family called the Davidsons whose father had died on the day they arrived Fred sympathises as the two young Davidson children were the same age as Dolly and Marlene when he was widowed, their luck got even worse when their shop caught fire but Fred and Violet help the mother Pearl Davidson get everything back to normal. The joy is short lived however when Barbara Hereward is taken to hospital with septicaemia caused by meningitis and despite showing signs of recovery dies. He tries to help her widower Tom Hereward in everyway he can, having lost his first wife as well and helps Tom get ready for the funeral.

In the 2018 Christmas special Fred takes the nuns to the Mother House where he meets the orphans, he wants to give them presents but can't find anything decent but his mate Nolly gets him a donkey which the orphans use in their Christmas play. In Series 8 Violet decides to run for local councillor and Fred is anything from supportive and practically discourages her from it because he had a ow opinion of politicians. He also makes it clear that he thinks the suffragettes went to a bit too much effort to vote and that he himself hardly bothers. This changes when he meets former suffragette Clarice Milgrove when she is about to be forced out of her home as she can no longer care for herself. He decides to be there for Violet and supports her and in the end she is elected. When Phyllis Crane is taken to hospital with a trapped sciatic nerve Mother Mildred comes to fill the gap, as she can’t (or possibly won’t) use a bike she decides to use Fred and his van without giving a second thought to his petrol or his time and he can’t say no to a nun. In the end Violet must do it and in the end secures money for his petrol and for his time. In the finale Fred is worried he has prostate cancer, when he talks to Reggie he decides to take matters up with Dr Turner and it turns out Fred just has an infection that will go away with antibiotics.

Fred and Phyllis Crane hear the news of Winston Churchills death, the prime minister in the war years. This brings back old memories and he finds a photo of his first wife Betty, Violet decides to get him a frame so she can go on display with all the other family members. After a civil defence meeting Fred and Reggie meet a man named George Benson who keeps pigeons, pigeons that Reggie takes a shine to but Fred is worried about George’s constant coughing and Dr Turner is worried he might have TB but it turns out to be something called histoplasmosis caused by his pigeons. They have to go but Reggie is allowed to take his favourite Pigeon Dot home with him. When Fred hears the annual horticulture show has been cancelled he and Reggie decide to organise it themselves, they do that making Violet very proud but Fred still doesn’t win anything

In the 2020 Christmas special Fred opens up a newsagent shop not far from Nonnatus House and Reggie becomes part time comic advisor and assistant. Despite being a shop owner Fred’s old habits die hard and sells dodgy turkeys from the back of his van to Violets disapproval. When Fred and Reggie go to see the circus or more specifically the polar they meet Jaquetta Ellings who tells him the polar bear snowy has gone to the north pole for a holiday when he is actually dead. Fred becomes very worried when a fire breaks out but Reggie is okay. Reggie is annoyed with Fred when he finds out Snowy is dead but comes to forgive him. In Series 10 Fred begins renting a room above his shop to the church of Cyril and Lucille with Cyril living on the premises. In the finale a woman named Blanche Dellow gives birth to a little boy with downs syndrome the same condition as Reggie and decide to keep him. Her husband Walter is anxious and Fred sympathises, men of their generation would only have seen people with downs syndrome and other conditions when on outings from Homes as back then they were hidden away to be cared for away from their families. They also note that they could be cruel to them whenever they did see them. But Fred also says they were young and ignorant but couldn’t stay that way because of Reggie and Robert.

Fred and Lucille wedding day

In the 2021 Christmas special Fred is asked by Cyril to be his best man as he and Violet were the first friends he made in England, but when the man supposed to give Lucille away breaks his arm Fred is asked to do that instead and it looks like Cyril might have to do without until Reggie comes along and does the job. In Series 11 a train crash and derailment rocks the community, it causes people to be injured in masses leading Fred to jump into action with the civil defence corps making Reggie worried about him but Violet assures him that as the crash has already happened Fred is in no danger. Dr Turner and Sister Julienne were on the train when it crashed but are recovered and taken to the hospital and no one knows if they will come out. Luckily both only sustained injuries that won’t bother them in the long term. Reggie meanwhile is interviewed for the paper as he helped make tea for the nurses and injured making Fred and Violet very proud.

In the 2022 Christmas Special Fred decides to host a talent show, Poplartunity Knocks as part of the train crash relief efforts as he comments nothing seemed right since then. He gets Timothy Turner and the Robinsons to help him, Reggie decides to enter and play guitar. The show is a success and Fred tears up at Reggie’s performance. In S12 E01 Fred gets a letter about the disbandment of the civil defence corps and doesn’t know what to do with himself, it was the first time since 1939 that he hadn’t been in a uniform helping people. He has no idea what to do with himself, Violet suggests odd jobs like painting her shop but Violet decides against the new colour. The paint he would have used ends up in the hands of the dockers, they plan a march in support of the recent rivers of blood speech by Enoch Powell who criticised the mass immigration occurring in Britain. Cyril accuses Fred of selling it to them but he assures him he does not support the dockers. Just then a young South Asian girl is knocked over by a car by one of the dockers planning to march. Fred then decides to become a lollipop man, a job in a uniform of sorts that ensures the safety of people. One day Fred finds woman Sandy Talbot with her two children sleeping in the street, Sandy had to flee from her abusive husband and he takes her to Nonnatus House, this case reminds him of his own mother having to flee from his father and was angry it was still happening, he then tells Nancy Corrigan to make sure she looks after her daughter.

Reggie returns home from his community but is tired and doesn't want to go out at all. Fred and Violet want Reggie to be his happy self all the time and wonder if he's just being lazy which makes Reggie angry. Reggie is worried he is dying but Cyril convinces him to make an appointment at the doctors, it turns out Reggie has an underactive thyroid condition which was treatable and he just needed to take a daily pill. In the last episode of the series Fred, Violet and Reggie attend the wedding of Nurse Trixie Franklin in Chelsea and after a fire at the hotel the reception was meant be held they go back to Poplar for a celebration.

Relationships[]

Family[]

  • Violet Buckle (wife)
  • Betty Buckle (first wife, deceased)
  • Dolly Smart (daughter)
  • Unnamed son in law (via Dolly)
  • Anthony Smart (grandson)
  • Samantha Smart (granddaughter)
  • Marlene Dooley (daughter)
  • Unnamed son in law (via Marlene)
  • Unnamed grandchild (via Marlene)
  • Derek Gee (stepson)
  • Ivy Jackson (cousin, deceased)
  • Reggie Jackson (cousin and ward)
  • Tommy Mills (cousin once removed, presumably deceased)
  • Gert Mills (cousin once removed in law, presumably deceased)

Friends[]

  • Sister Monica Joan
  • Cyril Robinson
  • Lucille Robinson

Trivia[]

Quotes[]

"Violet told me not to come home drunk and I was drunk so I didn't go home." - Fred to Tom (Series 6 Episode 8)

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