Count Duckula

                                                     

 

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Count Duckula is a British animated television series created by British studio Cosgrove Hall, and a spin-off from DangerMouse, a show in which the Count Duckula character was a recurring villain. The series first aired on September 6, 1988 and was produced by Thames Television for 3 seasons and Central Television for the fourth and final series. In all, 65 episodes were made, each about 22 minutes long.

The story (as shown in the title sequence each episode) is that Duckula has been active as a vampire for centuries. He could only be destroyed by exposure to sunlight or by a wooden stake thrust through his heart. In fact, Duckula has died numerous deaths but he always returns through a mystic ritual, performed once a century, "when the moon is in the Eighth House of Aquarius" (The opening credits depict Igor's incantation). Several episodes explore the theme that each resurrection creates a new incarnation with little to no memory of its past life; thus, every incarnation is free to develop its own personality and pursue its own personal interests. The vampire is thus 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 were also secretly "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 requires blood, the source of sustenance for any vampire, but Nanny accidentally substituted tomato 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. Naturally, Igor is appalled at this. Even worse, his "new" master is obsessed with pursuing wealth and fame as an entertainer.

The stories often centre around Duckula's adventures in search of riches and fame, assisted by the castle's ability to teleport around the world. Another regular theme is Igor's attempts 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. The show also features a cuckoo clock whose bat-like Russian-accented characters come out and make jokes about the current situation (or just corny jokes in general); the clock is also a vital part of the castle's travelling mechanism, and even has the ability to turn back time.

Count Duckula

Duckula is a short green duck with black parted hair and the traditional vampire evening wear complete with cape. He has no fangs, although his more old-fashioned relatives did. His favorite food is broccoli sandwiches. He has occasionally been seen wearing pyjamas with a DangerMouse logo, a reference to the character's origin (and somewhat based on the fact that David Jason voiced both characters).

Count Duckula himself is a deliberate send-up of many traditional vampire traits. As his name would suggest, he is an anthropomorphic duck. Besides his vegetarianism and aspirations of fame, he is very squeamish and often cowardly. The Duckula Family Motto is Per Ardua ad Sanguina, which means "Work hard for blood".

He has a very modern outlook, and often despairs over the traditional vampire image he is expected to embody. He hates living in a dark, gloomy castle, and finds the behaviour of his servants to be depressing. Although he retains vampiric powers and qualities such as teleportation and not being able to appear in front of a mirror, he rarely uses them. In fact, the only one he has been shown using is teleportation, which consists of him plunging up into a small storm cloud and reappearing in a flash of lightning elsewhere (as opposed to his predecessor on DangerMouse, who appeared in a vertical explosion of flames). This ability is used only when the Count truly desires speed, and is sometimes implied to be involuntary.

He often goes outside in the daytime without suffering any ill effects, but this is likely because of his own personal oddities. In one episode, a living statue of the previous Count of Duckula crumbles into a pile of stone when exposed to sunlight. In the episode "Doctor Goosewing and Mr. Duck", Count Duckula briefly turns into a "proper" vampire, desiring blood from the villagers outside the castle, but turns away from the door when he discovers that the sun is still out. On the other hand, the episode "Transylvanian Homesick Blues" features a prehistoric "first vampire duck" who goes out in daylight, and only returns to his coffin because Igor advises him to.

While often egotistical and selfish, Duckula is good natured. He often tries to help people, although he usually succeeds only in making them to hate him. He's prone to short lived obsessions, in a manner somewhat similar to Toad of Toad Hall, which often form the plots for episodes attempting to become a blues musician in New Orleans, prospecting for gold, becoming a cowboy, etcetera.

The character differs considerably from his predecessor on the DangerMouse show. In fact, the only similarities the two share are that they are vampire ducks with ambitions in show business, little actual talent in that area, and both are named Count Duckula. The previous version was an outright villain, willing to blackmail and force his way into stardom (as opposed to the current Count, who merely tries to get in the legitimate way) and was fixated on being a TV star, rather than settle for fame in some other branch of entertainment. He had far greater magical powers and made much more use of them, as well as having a thick accent consisting of lisping, stuttering and occasional squawks. Most notably, he was not a vegetarian; in his very first appearance he threatened to drink DM's blood, only to be chased away by the sun, which may suggest he was the previous ancestor/incarnation before being reincarnated as the accidental vegetarian Duckula.

Igor

Igor, the Count's Butler, is a traditional horror servant based on the stock character Igor, and adds a decidedly dark streak to some of the show's humour. He greatly dislikes his master's behaviour, and often encourages him to act in a far more ghastly manner. He remains convinced that, if he could only talk Duckula into biting, maiming, torturing and otherwise brutalizing people, it would be a return to the "good old days".

He is a hunched balding vulture with a deep, slow voice. He has 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 has performed the task multiple times in his life, he is clearly very old and possibly ageless. In the episode "Arctic Circles" Igor mentions after he has been dismissed that he had served the Duckulas for seven and a half centuries, while in the family reunion episode, he says that he has been in Duckula's family for eight hundred years.It seems that it is possible that one of his possible ancestors may have have been responsible for creating the Duckula reign in the first place.

Nanny

Nanny is, as her name suggests, Duckula's nanny, as well as housekeeper. She is an extremely large and clumsy hen, possessing incredible strength and inevitably messing up whatever task she is set to do. In particular, she has a blind spot regarding doors, and often crashes through a door without opening it first, or (more commonly) even walks right through the wall, especially a few feet off from the door's position. Not surprisingly, she is the one who mistook ketchup for blood in Duckula's resurrection.

As this behaviour suggests, she is supremely unintelligent, and completely unreliable. She is devoted to her "Ducky-Boos", as she calls Duckula, and has a deep maternal affection for him, though her clumsiness often inadvertently causes him harm. A recurring gag is her inability to understand what people around her are talking about, often mixing up words and taking insult at conversations not directed at her.

Like Igor, her age is uncertain, as she has apparently been with Duckula for several of his incarnations. Her right arm is perpetually in a sling, though it is never revealed how she was injured. The sling itself seems to have unlimited carrying capacity, as she is able to produce any number of items from it, Harpo Marx style.

 

Episode Title Original airdate
1 "No Sax Please - We're Egyptian" 6 September 1988 (1988-09-06)
2 "Vampire Vacation" 13 September 1988 (1988-09-13)
3 "One Stormy Night" 20 September 1988 (1988-09-20)
4 "Transylvanian Homesick Blues" 27 September 1988 (1988-09-27)
5 "Restoration Comedy" 4 October 1988 (1988-10-04)
6 "Mutinous Penguins" 11 October 1988 (1988-10-11)
7 "Dr. Von Goosewing's Invisible Ray" 18 October 1988 (1988-10-18)
8 "Down Under Duckula" 25 October 1988 (1988-10-25)
9 "All In A Fog" 1 November 1988 (1988-11-01)
10 "Castle Duckula: Open to the Public" 8 November 1988 (1988-11-08)
11 "The Ghost of McCastle McDuckula" 15 November 1988 (1988-11-15)
12 "Igor's Busy Day" 22 November 1988 (1988-11-22)
13 "Autoduck" 29 November 1988 (1988-11-29)
14 "The Vampire Strikes Back" 6 December 1988 (1988-12-06)
15 "Hardluck Hotel" 13 December 1988 (1988-12-13)
16 "The Hunchbudgie of Notre Dame" 20 December 1988 (1988-12-20)
17 "Dear Diary" 3 January 1989 (1989-01-03)
18 "Rent a Butler" 10 January 1989 (1989-01-10)
19 "Jungle Duck" 24 January 1989 (1989-01-24)
20 "Mobile Home" 31 January 1989 (1989-01-31)
21 "A Fright at the Opera" 7 February 1989 (1989-02-07)
22 "Dr. Goosewing and Mr. Duck" 14 February 1989 (1989-02-14)
23 "Town Hall Terrors" 21 February 1989 (1989-02-21)
24 "Sawdust Ring" 28 February 1989 (1989-02-28)
25 "Duck and the Broccoli Stalk" 7 March 1989 (1989-03-07)
26 "Family Reunion" 21 March 1989 (1989-03-21)

 

Episode Title Original airdate
1 "Ghostly Gold" 12 September 1989 (1989-09-12)
2 "Ducknapped" 19 September 1989 (1989-09-19)
3 "The Lost Valley" 26 September 1989 (1989-09-26)
4 "Incredible Shrinking Duck" 3 October 1989 (1989-10-03)
5 "Hi-Duck" 10 October 1989 (1989-10-10)
6 "Prime-Time Duck" 17 October 1989 (1989-10-17)
7 "Bloodsucking Fruit Bats of the Lower Amazon" 24 October 1989 (1989-10-24)
8 "The Count and the Pauper" 31 October 1989 (1989-10-31)
9 "In Arctic Circles" 7 November 1989 (1989-11-07)
10 "Transylvanian Take-Away" 14 November 1989 (1989-11-14)
11 "Who Dunnit?" 21 November 1989 (1989-11-21)
12 "No Yaks Please Were Tibetan" 28 November 1989 (1989-11-28)
13 "Beau Duckula" 5 December 1989 (1989-12-05)
14 "Mississippi Duck" 12 December 1989 (1989-12-12)
15 "Amnesiac Duck" 19 December 1989 (1989-12-19)
16 "Mysteries of the Wax Museum" 2 January 1990 (1990-01-02)
17 "Return of the Curse of the Secret of the Mummy's Tomb Meets Franken Duckula's Monster ..." 9 January 1990 (1990-01-09)
18 "Lost City of Atlantis" 16 January 1990 (1990-01-16)
19 "Bad Luck Duck" 23 January 1990 (1990-01-23)

 

Episode

Title Original airdate
1 "Private Beak" 22 October 1990 (1990-10-22)
2 "Astro Duck" 29 October 1990 (1990-10-29)
3 "Unreal Estate" 5 November 1990 (1990-11-05)
4 "Bombay Duck" 12 November 1990 (1990-11-12)
5 "There are Werewolves at the Bottom of My Garden" 19 November 1990 (1990-11-19)
6 "Duck Ahoy" 26 November 1990 (1990-11-26)
7 "The Great Ducktective" 3 December 1990 (1990-12-03)
8 "Dead Eye Duck" 10 December 1990 (1990-12-10)
9 "The Show Must Go On" 17 December 1990 (1990-12-17)
10 "A Christmas Quacker" 24 December 1990 (1990-12-24)
11 "The Rest is History" 7 January 1991 (1991-01-07)
12 "O.O. Duck" 14 January 1991 (1991-01-14)
13 "Mystery Cruise" 21 January 1991 (1991-01-21)

 

Episode Title Original airdate
1 "Around the World in a Total Daze" 5 January 1993 (1993-01-05)
2 "Manhattan Duck" 12 January 1993 (1993-01-12)
3 "Alps-A-Daisy" 19 January 1993 (1993-01-19)
4 "Prince Duckula" 26 January 1993 (1993-01-26)
5 "Venice a Duck Not a Duck" 2 February 1993 (1993-02-02)
6 "A Mountie Always Gets His Duck" 9 February 1993 (1993-02-09)
7 "The Zombie Awakes" 16 February 1993 (1993-02-16)

 

 

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Genre Animated series
Created by Cosgrove Hall
Voices of David Jason
Narrated by  
Counrty of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 65
Running Time) 22 minutes
Original Run
6 September 1988 16 February 1993 (UK)
Language English

 

 

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