Count Duckula Quacks Us Up

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Count Duckula, the vegetarian vampire from the 1980s British cartoon, is a hit with the Junior Paranormal Event crew, writes GEMMA JOHNSON

Count Duckula

TITLE: Count Duckula
CREATOR: Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall
CAST: David Jason, Jack May. Brian Trueman, Jimmy Hibbert, Barry Clayton. Ruby Wax
ORIGINAL RELEASE: 6 September 1988 – 16 February 1993 on ITV
NUMBER OF SERIES: 4
NUMBER OF EPISODES: 65

How do you make Dracula child friendly?  Turn him into a duck, make it a cartoon and add the voice of national treasure David Jason – perfect! Did I mention the theme tune?  As with most retro cartoons, the theme tune is incredibly catchy.  Let’s take a trip to Castle Duckula.

Count Duckula Backgrounder

Count Duckula was a British children’s cartoon series which aired in 1988.  It ran for four seasons and ended in 1993. Duckula is a spin off from the incredibly popular Danger Mouse series, however, the version of Duckula in Danger Mouse was much more sinister and evil.

Duckula lives in a castle with his servants Nanny and Igor.  There are also other characters in the mix including scientist Dr Von Goosewing and an gang of crows.  

The Episode

“No sax please we are Egyptian’” we watched and reviewed was the first episode of the series and aired on 7 November 1988.

Count Duckula is vegetarian and we are here for it, especially as his favourite snacks are choccy biscuits and hot coca.  The episode starts with Nanny and Igor fumbling around in the castle, much to Duckula’s annoyance.  The chaos inside the castle is contrasted with a gang of crows intent on breaking into the castle and stealing the priceless artefacts within. 

Igor is determined to educate Count Duckula about his ancestors and launches into an in-depth tale about The Arch Duck who was an explorer in Egypt.  In Raiders of the Lost Art style, he was looking for treasure inside booby trapped tombs – a mystic saxophone that holds the powers of life and death. It was never found which captures the interest of Count Duckula, and the gang of noisy crows. 

Did we mention that the castle can travel?  This was the 1980s so of course it did! Flash forward and the castle is transported to… you guessed it Egypt.  Where much hilarity and mayhem occur as the gang try to find the mystic saxophone.

Our Count Duckula Review

Aubrey: I liked how the castle could teleport to different places, if I could do that, I would teleport to somewhere warm.  There was a good mixture of characters, and I liked that the main character was a duck.  My most favourite thing was the gang of crows; my least favourite thing was that the character of Nanny was annoying. If Duckula was made again today, they could make it so Duckula was a bit funnier. 

Finlay: I liked the history bit of this because they went to Egypt and there was information on different parts of the tombs and the artefacts. My favourite character was Duckula because he reminded me of Donald Duck.  My favourite part was the story within this episode, my least favourite part was that the episode was a little bit longer than it needed to be.  If Duckula was made again today, they could make the episodes more face paced.

How does it compare to today’s spooky viewing?

I never understood why Duckula had an American accent and it still puzzled me when watching this episode.  To be fair though, I would expect to here “Rodney you plonker” at some point should David Jason had voiced this in an English accent.  Sorry, I digress… 

This is good honest slapstick, humorous television at its best.  A bungling crew of sidekicks, our favourite being Igor who reminds us of staff at the Haunted Mansion in Disney World – sinister with a touch of sarcasm.

Simple, family friendly jokes – especially around Nanny and her terrible cooking.  Clock bats who tell ‘Dad jokes’ popping up at random times, they very much reminded us of the muppet show in this respect. 

One of the challenges with current paranormal content is that it can be far too serious, at the end of the day we are all standing around in the dark talking to something that we can’t see and that we know nothing about.  If you think about it there is a lot of humour in that, and we could all benefit from not taking ourselves too seriously.

On that note, here is a ‘Dad joke’ from us to you – What happened to the magic tractor?  It turned into a field.  You are welcome.

In the words of the wonderful Vincent Price-esq narrator from Count Duckula…..

Good night out there whatever you are!

Stay Spooky!
Gemma, Michael, Finlay, and Aubrey
Junior Paranormal Events

What do you think of Count Duckula? Tell us your memories in the comments section below!

Watch Count Duckula Intro

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