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Count Duckula

Count Duckula is a fictional character, a vegetarian vampire duck, in the animated TV series of the same name created by British studio Cosgrove Hall, and a spin-off from Dangermouse, a show in which an evil version of the Count Duckula character was a recurring villain. The series first aired on September 6, 1988. In all, 65 episodes were made, each about 22 minutes long.

The show was a loose parody of the story of Count Dracula. Set in Transylvania, Duckula lived in a spooky castle, alongside his servant Igor, and his Nanny (always referred to as "Nanny" and perpetually in an arm sling). All the characters in the show were (anthropomorphised) birds.

The story (as shown in the title sequence each episode) was that Duckula was active as a vampire for centuries. He could only be destroyed by exposure to sunlight or by a wooden stake thrust through his heart. Duckula had in fact died numerous deaths. But he always returned through a mystic ritual, performed once a century, "when the moon is in the eighth house of Aquarius". However a theme explored through several episodes was that each resurrection created a new incarnation with little to no memory of its past. Thus every incarnation was free to develop its own personality and pursue its personal interests. Thus the vampire was able to pose as a dynasty of Counts of Duckula. The various succeeding generations included knights, sorcerers, scientists, artists and even professional gamblers. All of them also secretly being "vicious vampire ducks".

But as the title sequence put it, "the latest reincarnation did not run according to plan." The successful conclusion of the ritual required blood, the source of sustenance for any vampire. But his servants accidentally substituted it with tomato sauce. Consequently the newest version was not a blood-sucking vampire but a vegetarian one. He was more interested in juicy carrots rather than hunting for victims. Igor naturally felt appalled. Even worse, his "new" master was obsessed with pursuing wealth and fame as an entertainer.

The show often centred around Duckula's adventures in search of riches and fame, assisted by the castle's ability to teleport around the world. Another regular part of the story was Igor and his attempts to turn Duckula into a proper vampire. Some episodes featured Duckula's nemesis Doctor Von Goosewing (obviously based on Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, the nemesis of Dracula), a vampire hunter who blindly refuses to believe the current incarnation of Duckula is harmless. Still others featured a whole array of bizarre, often supernatural foes, from zombies to mechanical werewolves.

* 1 Voices
* 2 Characters
* 3 Other credits
* 4 External links


* Count Duckula: David Jason
* Igor: Jack May
* Nanny: Brian Trueman
* Dr Von Goosewing: Jimmy Hibbert
* Narrator: Barry Clayton
* Various: Ruby Wax


* Count Duckula: Count Duckula himself was a deliberate send-up of many traditional vampire traits. Besides his vegetarianism and aspirations of fame, he was a very squeamish and often cowardly character. The Duckula Family Motto was: "Per Ardua ad Sanguina" which meant "Work hard for blood". He had a very modern outlook, and often despaired over the traditional vampire image he was expected to embody. He hated living in a dark, gloomy castle, and found the behaviour of his servants to be depressing. Although he retained vampiric powers such as teleportation, he rarely used them. He often went outside in the daytime without suffering any ill effects, and it is unknown whether this is because of his own personal oddities, of if vampires simply aren't as affected by sunlight as is often claimed. One episode featured a prehistoric "first vampire duck" who went out in daylight, and only returned to his coffin because Igor advised him to. Duckula has been seen on occasion wearing pyjamas with the Danger Mouse logo, a reference to the character's origin. Duckula was a short green duck with black hair and the traditional vampire evening wear complete with cape. He had no fangs, although his more old-fashioned relatives did. His favourite food was broccoli sandwiches.

* Igor: Igor was a traditional horror servant, and added a decidedly dark streak to some of the show's humour. He greatly disliked his master's behaviour, and often encouraged him to act in a far more ghastly manner. He remained convinced that if he could only talk Duckula into biting, maiming, torturing and otherwise brutalising people it would be a return to the "good old days". He was a hunched balding bird with a depressed and slow voice. He had served under several previous incarnations of Count Duckula, making his age uncertain. Seeing as he can only be brought back "once a century" and Igor had performed the task multiple times in his life, he was clearly very old and possibly ageless.

* Nanny: Nanny is, as her name would suggest, Duckula's nanny, as well as housekeeper. She was an extremely large and clumsy hen, inevitably messing up whatever task she was set to do. In particular she had a blind spot regarding doors, and would often crash through a door without opening it first, or even walk right through the wall. As this behaviour suggests, she was a supremely unintelligent character, and completely unreliable. She was amazingly devoted to her "Ducky-Boos", as she called Duckula, and had a deep maternal affection for him, though her clumsiness often inadvertently caused him harm. A recurring gag was her inability to understand what people around her were talking about, often mixing up words and taking insult at conversations not directed at her. Like Igor, her age was uncertain, as she had apparently been with Duckula for several of his incarnations. Her right arm was perpetually in a sling, though the reasons for this are unrevealed. The sling itself seemed to have unlimited carrying capacity, as she was able to produce any number of items from it, Harpo Marx style.

* Dr Von Goosewing: Von Goosewing was a mad scientist and vampire hunter, who was a spoof of Abraham Van Helsing. He was never able to comprehend that Count Duckula was a threat to nobody, and stalked him relentlessly. He was a terrible scientist, often getting maimed by his own crack-pot inventions. He was also supremely unobservant, and capable of bumping into Duckula and conversing with him for several minutes without realising who he was talking to. Von Goosewing spoke in a German accent, and had an imaginary friend, "Heinrich", whom he often spoke to and blamed for his mistakes. The comic book version of the characters by Marvel Comics revealed that Heinrich was actually his former assistant who was always complaining for his low wage. Von Goosewing mentioned that Heinrich threatened to resign but was still with him. Apparently Heinrich did quit but his former employer failed to realise it. When not inventing some new machine to hunt vampires with, he would rely on an old fashioned rifle which was loaded with a wooden stake (although curiously it actually fired laser beams). The Marvel comic books based on the show also added a supporting character to him:his niece Vanna who Duckula had a crush on. Von Goosewing often flew a dirigible with 'VG' written on it.

* Narrator: The narrator opened and closed every episode, talking like a traditional horror host, and trying to make it seem as if the contents of the show were genuinely horrifying. Episodes usually began with him describing Castle Duckula and its gloomy atmosphere. They closed with the him saying "Goodnight out there...WHATever you are!"

* Castle Duckula: An old fashioned Transylvanian castle with all the trimmings: dungeon, torture chamber, library of macabre texts, laboratory, etc. The castle could teleport to any place on earth (and beyond) but returned automatically at dawn. It was activated when Duckula entered an upright coffin while saying where he wanted it to take him. The controls to this device were inside an old fashioned cuckoo clock that hung on the wall. Inside the clock lived two mechanical bats, Dmitri and Sviatoslav, who would punctuate each episode by coming out and delivering stale jokes to each other. These jokes were so bad that they actually drove a character who had been given the clock insane. The fact that the characters had thick Russian accents, and that Sviatoslav often didn't understand the punchlines didn't help matters. The castle had an often referred to but never seen werewolf named Towser living in it.

* Relatives: Duckula had any number of vampiric relatives all over the world. These were more classic vampires than Duckula, possessing fangs, red eyes and evil personalities. They came from many different countries, such as Spain, Scotland and Australia, and inevitably represented the culture they were from.

Other credits

* Writers: Brian Trueman, Jimmy Hibbert, Peter Richard Reeves, Jan Needle, John Sayle
* Animation directors: Carlos Alfonso, Jean Flynn
* Design: Chris Randall, Dan Whitworth, Margaret Riley, Paul Salmon, Vincent James, Edmund Williams
* Music: Mike Harding
* Theme Song Sung by: Mike Harding, Doreen Edwards
* Director / associate producer: Chris Randall
* Producers: Brian Cosgrove, Mark Hall
* Executive Producer: John Hambley

External links

* Cosgrove Hall's official Duckula page
* Episode guide
* Fan site
* German Fan site, world's largest Count Duckula source


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