Count Duckula (CITV, 1988-1993)
Just when I thought that I had reviewed all of the classic cartoons that were shown on CITV, here’s another one. Danger Mouse was a big success throughout the 80s, so production company Cosgrove Hall went on to create another popular animated series. Count Duckula had a comedy horror twist, and was all about the adventures of a green duck (but not to be confused with Orville) that was a vampire… and a vegetarian.
Unlike all of the previous generations of vampire ducks, he was accidentally full of ketchup instead of blood, so the thought that broccoli sandwiches were much more enticing than wanting to suck anyone’s neck. Duckula lived in a Transylvanian castle that was able to teleport around the world (and made a strange noise like the Tardis when it did). Every episode started and ended with a narrator who explained the premise.
The other main characters were Igor, the rather elderly and grumpy servant who was a vulture, Nanny, the bumbling housekeeper who always had her arm in a sling, and was very fond of Duckula, and his enemy Dr Van Goosewing. There was also a talking cuckoo clock that told bad jokes, and a lot of the sillier moments seemed to be soundtracked by the much-used piece of music that who go on to be the theme of Zzzap!
Just like in Danger Mouse, the main character’s voice was provided by David Jason, who gave Duckula a rather outrageous American accent. The theme music at the end of the show was rather enjoyable too. Count Duckula ran for four series on CITV, there were 65 episodes that were about 20 minutes long, and Cosgrove Hall went on to produce Victor And Hugo, another good cartoon (that Duckula made a guest appearance in).
Another thing that I remember about Count Duckula is that for a short while there was a comic that featured even more adventures. It launched in 1989 as a weekly and also contained some competitions along with a few free gifts, but it didn’t seem to last that long. I’m fairly sure that I had at least one or two issues at the time, so I was a fan of the show even as long ago as that (and there was an American version too). There were also some episodes released on VHS, and even some computer games.
Count Duckula went on to be repeated on various channels throughout the world, and it was also determined to be worthy of featuring in CITV’s Old Skool Weekend in 2013. And the good news is that it’s also a show that has been released on DVD in full, hooray! As well as all of the episodes featuring on seven discs, there are also extras including interviews with some of the production team and a photo gallery. I suppose that this was the spookiest show on CITV until Dr Zitbag opened his pet shop a few years later.