Young Dracula: Something To Get Your Fangs Into

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Young Dracula, a pre-Uncanny Danny Robins vampire sitcom, proves to have something for the whole family to enjoy, writes GEMMA JOHNSON

Young Dracula

TITLE: Young Dracula
CREATOR: Danny Robins and Dan Tetsell
CAST: Keith-Lee Castle, Gerran Howell, Clare Thomas, Simon Ludders, Andy Bradshaw
ORIGINAL RELEASE: 21 September 2006 to 31 March 2014 on CBBC
NUMBER OF SERIES: 5 NUMBER OF EPISODES: 66

We missed Young Dracula the first time around.  We were carefree, child free, 20 somethings busy with our first home, planning a wedding and a honeymoon. Fast forwards 17 years and we find ourselves sat on our sofa on a gloomy November evening with our two children in tow loading up BBC iPlayer.  Us grownups are fans of Danny Robins and so we were intrigued to see his work pre-Uncanny era. 

Young Dracula Backgrounder

Young Dracula is a British children’s programme that aired on CBBC.  It ran for five series from 2006 until 2014 and was based loosely on the books Young Dracula by Michael Lawrence and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The focus is the Dracula family, who opt to leave Transylvania and move to a small town in Wales. Young Dracula is Vladimir, who is negotiating life growing up as a vampire. 

The Episode

We watched Episode 1 from Series 1, which aired in September 2006 and is titled ‘When You’re A Stranger’. 

The episode opens with a rickety-looking hearse style van zooming through country lanes.  Inside we meet the Dracula family – Count Dracula, Vladimir his son and Ingrid his daughter.  Driving the car is faithful servant Renfield. They are joined by stuffed Hellhound Zoltan.

The spooky vibes of the speeding van are contrasted with the perky Branagh family who are busy preparing for a family day out.  They have a Brady Bunch vibe to them, well most of them apart from Robin who fancies himself as a vampire.

The Dracula’s eventually screech up to a ruined castle which they then start to make home – rather quickly actually for in the blink of an eye Vladimir’s bedroom is a complete mess (if you have a teenager, you are likely to have seen this magic happen in real life).  But what’s this… Robin spots the new arrivals and decides to go exploring.  

The paths of Vladimir and Robin cross, seeing their differences and similarities, they quickly form a friendship.  The families on the other hand are not so comfortable – especially Count Dracula who doesn’t like ‘breathers’.

Our Young Dracula Review

Aubrey: I really liked Zoltan because he was funny moving around on wheels with a really strange accent. One of my favourite parts was when the family first got to the castle because I like castles and would like to live in one. Count Dracula was very grumpy and sometimes a little bit creepy. 

Finlay: It was good because I liked the idea of a traditional Dracula trying to fit in with the outside world. I do like Count Dracula because his is grumpy and has a really short temper. My favourite scene was when he showed up at the window outside Robins bedroom.  I also found the dog, Zoltan funny because he was on wheels.

How does it compare to today’s spooky viewing?

It is one of the more modern programmes that we have reviewed as part of our ‘retro viewing’ project with Spooky Isles. But that being said it is 17 years since it first aired – a fact that makes us grown-ups suddenly feel very old considering that we think of the 1990s as just a few years ago (eek!!).  We enjoy the vampire genre, but it can be difficult to share that with the children because the content is often not appropriate, so this was refreshing.

Looking at it from a grown-up perspective, there are hidden messages about accepting that we are all different, that we shouldn’t let differences stop us from connecting with others.  From the perspective of our tween and teenager, they can see Vladimir negotiating through the struggles of finding himself and the challenges that can come with this.  There are so many different levels that the programme operates on, we aren’t surprised that it became award winning.

Our final thoughts

Just as Gemma is morphing into Grotbags, Michael is gradually turning into Count Dracula, oh and Finlay and Aubrey want a pet Zoltan for Christmas – Danny, can you point us in the right direction?

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

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

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