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Count Duckula is a British animated comedy horror television series created by Cosgrove Hall Films and produced by Thames Television as a spin-off of Danger Mouse, which featured Count Duckula as a recurring villain. The show aired for four seasons on ITV between September 6, 1988 and February 16, 1993.

History

Count Duckula was created by British studio Cosgrove Hall Films as a spin-off from Danger Mouse. In 1984 Nickelodeon acquired the US broadcast rights to Danger Mouse, which became a hit for the channel. After a few years, the Nickelodeon management came to Cosgrove Hall wishing to co-produce a new series. After being shown a number of ideas, the then head of Nickelodeon, Geraldine Laybourne, spotted a picture of Count Duckula in Brian Cosgrove's office, and said "that's the one I want". As the series went into production, one of the writers suggested he become a vegetarian, which added an even sillier concept to the series.

Plot

Several episodes explore the theme that each resurrection creates a new incarnation with little to no memory of its past life, the immediate past incarnation referred to as the current's "father". Thus, every incarnation is free to develop its own personality and pursue its own personal interests. The vampire is able to pose as a "dreadful dynasty, the counts of Duckula". The preceding generations included knights, sorcerers, scientists, artists, Egyptologists, and even professional gamblers, all of whom are also secretly "vicious vampire ducks".

As the title sequence puts it, "the latest reincarnation did not run according to plan". The successful conclusion of the ritual requires blood, the source of sustenance for any vampire, but Nanny accidentally substitutes ketchup. Consequently, the newest version is not a blood-sucking vampire, but a vegetarian one. He is more interested in juicy carrots than hunting for victims. Igor is appalled. Even worse, his "new" master is obsessed with pursuing wealth and fame as an entertainer.

The stories often revolve around Duckula's adventures in search of riches and fame, assisted by the castle's ability to teleport around the world. Another regularly occurring theme is the repeated attempt by Igor to turn Duckula into a proper vampire. Some episodes feature Duckula's nemesis Doctor Von Goosewing (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. There is also an array of bizarre, often supernatural foes, from zombies to mechanical werewolves. Another feature of the show is a cuckoo clock whose bat-like Borscht Belt comedian styled characters come out and make jokes about the current situation (or corny jokes in general). The clock is also a vital part of the castle's traveling mechanism, and even has the ability to turn back time.

A series of annuals and monthly comics further detailing the adventures of Count Duckula and associated characters were released throughout the time that the series originally aired and for a short time afterwards.

Voice cast

  • Count Duckula: David Jason
  • Igor: Jack May
  • Nanny: Brian Trueman
  • Dr. Von Goosewing: Jimmy Hibbert
  • Dimitri: Brian Trueman
  • Sviatoslav: Jimmy Hibbert
  • Narrator: Barry Clayton
  • Various other characters: Barry Clayton, Jimmy Hibbert, David Jason, Jack May, Brian Trueman and Ruby Wax
  • Theme song vocalists: Doreen Edwards and Mike Harding

Episodes

Season 1

  • No Sax Please, We're Egyptian!
  • Vampire Vacation
  • One Stormy Night
  • Transylvanian Homesick Blues
  • Restoration Comedy
  • The Mutinous Penguins
  • Dr. Von Goosewing's Invisible Ray
  • Down Under Duckula
  • All in a Fog
  • Castle Duckula: Open to the Public!
  • The Ghost of McCastle McDuckula
  • Igor's Busy Day
  • Autoduck
  • The Vampire Strikes Back!
  • Hardluck Hotel
  • Hunchbudgie of Notre Dame
  • Dear Diary
  • Rent a Butler
  • Jungle Duck
  • Mobile Home
  • A Fright at the Opera
  • Dr. Goosewing and Mr. Duck
  • Town Hall Terrors
  • Sawdust Ring
  • Duck and the Broccoli Stalk
  • A Family Reunion

Season 2

  • Ghostly Gold
  • Ducknapped!
  • The Lost Valley
  • The Incredible Shrinking Duck
  • Hi-Duck!
  • Prime-Time Duck
  • Bloodsucking Fruit Bats of the Lower Amazon
  • The Count and the Pauper - I Ain't Gonna Work on Maggots' Farm No More!
  • Arctic Circles
  • Transylvania Take-Away
  • Whodunnit?
  • No Yaks Please, We're Tibetan!
  • Beau Duckula
  • Mississippi Duck
  • Amnesiac Duck
  • The Mysteries of the Wax Museum
  • The Return of the Curse of the Secret of the Mummy's Tomb Meets Frankenduckula's Monster and the Wolf-Man and the Intergalactic Cabbage...
  • The Lost City of Atlantis
  • Bad Luck, Duck

Season 3

  • Private Beak
  • Astro Duck
  • Unreal Estate
  • Bombay Duck (or 1,001 Transylvanian Nights)
  • There Are Werewolves at the Bottom of Our Garden
  • Duck Ahoy
  • The Great Ductective
  • Dead Eye Duck
  • The Show Must Go On!
  • A Christmas Quacker
  • The Rest Is History!
  • 00 Duck
  • Mystery Cruise

Season 4

  • Around the World in a Total Daze!
  • Manhattan Duck
  • Alps-a-Daisy!
  • Prince Duckula
  • Venice a Duck, Not a Duck!
  • A Mountie Always Gets His Duck!
  • The Zombie Awakes!

Trivia

  • In the episode, No Sax Please, We're Egyptian!, Dr. Von Goosewing makes a brief appearance inside the pyramid before his first appearance.
  • In the episode, Vampire Vacation is the first official appearance of Dr. Von Goosewing.
  • In the episode, Igor's Busy Day, the couple are caricatures of Brad and Janet, the central protagonists of the cult horror-comedy musical, The Rocky Horror Show and its film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  • The title of the episode, The Vampire Strikes Back, is an obvious parody of the name of the second Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back.
  • In the episode, Hardluck Hotel, the manager of the hotel is a caricature of Basil Fawlty, the central character of the BBC's sitcom series, Fawlty Towers.
  • The title of the episode, The Incredible Shrinking Duck, is a parody of the title of the film The Incredible Shrinking Man.
  • The episode, The Count and the Pauper, is an obvious parody of The Prince and the Pauper.
  • The episode, Unreal Estate, was in fact the pilot episode which like many of Cosgrove Hall was created as a test that wasn't meant to be shown to public, just for test audience, but was later made into part of season 3. As a result, the animation style is much different in most scenes (closer to Danger Mouse style), much of first half of the episode is spent on exposition and the very first scene with Von Goosewing shows him discovering from the newspaper that Duckula was reincarnated. Duckula himself appears to be new to the fact of being a vampire (for example, is surprised by the fact he can teleport by will). The harmonica scene from the intro also appears in the episode in full version and proper context.
  • The episode, There Are Werewolves at the Bottom of Our Garden, was aired as part of CITV's Old Skool Weekend Marathon.
  • The character of Count Duckula reappeared in the 2015 Danger Mouse reboot series.
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