Tales From The Poop Deck (CITV, 1992)
There have been lots of sitcoms on CITV over the years, some of the more successful ones include Mike And Angelo and Spatz, although if you’re a regular visitor to this blog I’m sure you’ll already know that by now. But this is one of the lesser-remembered ones from the 90s, and as I finally managed to track down an episode online recently, it definitely deserves a review.
Tales From The Poop Deck (oh, the show’s title contains the word “Poop”, how amusing) was a sitcom with an impressive cast that featured a lot of people who were more associated with comedy shows in the evening that were for older viewers. For example, the narrator was Griff Rhys Jones (although he probably wasn’t too hard to get hold of considering the show was made by TalkBack, the production company that he owned at the time with Mel Smith, who also appeared in one episode).
The show (written by Lenny Barker and Vicki Stepney) was set in 1794 and centred around the adventures of female pirate Connie Blackheart (Helen Atkinson-Wood, who was also in BBC2’s KYTV around this time) who was always on the search for treasure. She had long bright red hair and sometimes wore an eyepatch. She also had a rather feisty attitude, so don’t mess.
Blackheart and her useless crew often try to thwart the King’s navy as they sailed around the world who included Captain Stallion, Admiral De’Ath and Petty Officer Coleridge. After a short while Blackheart falls for Stallion and they get married in the final episode. There were also some rather odd moments, such as a pantomime horse suddenly appearing in among all the action.
And a running joke was that it was rather clear that the show was being made in a studio and the ships weren’t really out at sea at all. There was lots of action including several cliffhangers, and plenty of timbers were shivered. There were only six episodes of Tales From The Poop Deck, it didn’t return for a second series, and I’m fairly sure that there has been no VHS or DVD release.
However, there was a hint that the show was able to be enjoyed by older viewers when it was repeated on Channel 4 in an early-evening slot (a few other CITV shows turned up in this slot around this time including Press Gang). About a year or two after this, CBBC launched a sitcom with a similar idea about pirates that was called, er, Pirates. I remember watching that as well and it’ll be reviewed soon too.