||This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.
|Created by||Cosgrove Hall|
|Directed by||Carlos Alfonso
|Voices of||Barry Clayton
|Narrated by||Barry Clayton|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||4|
|No. of episodes||65 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||John Hambley|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Cosgrove Hall (1988-1993)
|Original channel||ITV Network (CITV)
Italia 1 (Italy)
6 September 1988 - 16 February 1993 –
6 February 1988 - 26 December 1993
Count Duckula is a British children's drama horror comedy animated television series created by British studio Cosgrove Hall and a spin-off from Danger Mouse, a show in which the Count Duckula character was a recurring villain. The series aired on September 6, 1988 and was produced by Thames Television for three series and Central Television for the fourth and final series. In all, 65 episodes were made, each about 22 minutes long. All 65 episodes have been released to DVD in the UK, while only the first series has been released in North America. Both the series and its characters continue to have a large following on the internet.
The show is a loose parody of the story of Count Dracula. Set in Transylvania (a region in Romania), Duckula lives in a spooky castle known as Castle Duckula alongside his butler Igor and his large nanny (always referred to as "Nanny" and perpetually wearing an arm sling). Almost all of the characters in the show are anthropomorphised birds.
The story (as shown in the title sequence of each episode) is that Duckula has been 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".
Yet, as the title sequence put it, "the latest reincarnation did not run according to plan." The successful conclusion of the ritual requires blood (a send-up of the Hammer Dracula films), 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 regularly occurring theme is the reiterated 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. 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.
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 after.
- Count Duckula: David Jason
- Igor: Jack May
- Dimitri, the Bat/Nanny: Brian Trueman
- Dr Von Goosewing/Sviatoslav, the Bat: Jimmy Hibbert
- Narrator: Barry Clayton
- Theme Song Vocalists: Doreen Edwards and Mike Harding
- Various: Barry Clayton, Jimmy Hibbert, David Jason, Jack May, Brian Trueman and Ruby Wax
Count Duckula 
Duckula (actual title: Count Duckula The 17th - As stated in the episode "The Count and the Pauper") 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 do (two of which are an uncle named Vlad, and an auntie named Lucrecia). His favourite food is broccoli sandwiches. He has occasionally been seen wearing pyjamas with a Danger Mouse logo, a reference to the character's origin.
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 some vampiric powers and qualities such as teleportation and not being able to appear in front of a mirror, and a lesser power, seen only once is the ability to create a lightning flash when angry, which he asks Igor about but gets no answer. Duckula's most used power 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 Danger Mouse, who appeared in a vertical explosion of flames).
He often goes outside in the daytime without suffering any ill effects, but this is likely because of not being a full traditional vampire. 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.
While often egotistical and selfish, Duckula is good natured. He often tries to help people, although, he usually succeeds only in making them hate him. He is prone to short lived obsessions, which often form the plots for episodes, such as attempting to become a blues musician in New Orleans, prospecting for gold, becoming a cowboy, or performer etcetera.
The character differs considerably from his predecessor on the Danger Mouse 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 evil 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 Danger Mouse's blood, only to be chased away by the sun. The Danger Mouse Duckula was destroyed and fell to ashes and is resurrected during the 8th Astronomical House of Aquarius. Instead of blood, the nanny puts tomato ketchup into the offering, creating the current 17th Count Duckula.
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 brutalising people, it would be a return to the "good old days" of the previous Counts who behaved more like evil vampires. Igor also hates words such as: "bless you", "nice", "good" and "lovely", such words make him cringe, preferring the darker and sinister side of life. In the episode "Hardluck Hotel" Igor goes on holiday to a run down and dismal hotel, he sits in complete darkness, enjoying the sounds of the damp creeping up the walls.
He is a hunched balding vulture with a deep, slow voice. He has 13 siblings, as stated in the episode "Town Hall Terrors". His age is uncertain, however in the episode "Arctic Circles" he states that he has served for "seven and a half centuries", if this is approximate of the 17 incarnations of Duckula, his age is probably 800+ years old and he may have started his service to the Family Duckula around the time of Count Duckula The 1st or shortly afterwards, ('The Rest Is History' almost exactly ascertains this) which is further confirmed by the episode "One Stormy Night" in which a stone statue of Count Duckula The 4th is animated during a thunder storm and doesn't seem to recognise Igor yet presumes he is a servant. As Count Duckula can only be brought back to life "once a century" and Igor has performed this task many times during his service, it's safe to assume that he has a very long life span.
Nanny, as her name suggests, is 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 current 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. She is also very ditzy and motherly. She sometimes hugs Duckula so tightly, it suffocates him.
Like Igor, her age is uncertain, though she has apparently been with the Duckula family for several incarnations. In the episode "Igor's Busy Day," Igor recalls Duckula's great-grandfather who used to allow stranded travellers to stay the night. Nanny concurs that she remembered those days, possibly indicating she also has a very long life span. Her right arm is perpetually in a sling, (though it was revealed in a newspaper comic that she in fact is only wearing it to cover up a tattoo.) The sling itself seems to have unlimited carrying capacity, as she is able to produce any number of items from it, in the style of Harpo Marx's recurring joke.
Castle Duckula 
An archetypal Transylvanian castle with all the trimmings: dungeon, torture chamber, library of macabre texts, laboratory, etc. The castle has an often referred-to-but-never-seen werewolf named Towser living in it. This could be a reference to a cartoon dog of the early 1980s of the same name.
The castle can teleport to any place on earth (and beyond) but returns automatically at dawn, "Eastern Transylvanian standard time" as mentioned by Igor in the show (although he refers to it as "Eastern standard Transylvanian time" in the episode "Private beak"). It is activated when Duckula enters an upright coffin while saying where he wants it to take him (often, he would have to come up with a rhyme to activate it properly).
The controls to this device are inside an old fashioned cuckoo clock that hangs on the wall. Inside the clock live two mechanical bats, Dmitri and Sviatoslav, who 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 characters' thick Slavic accents, and Sviatoslav's frequent failure to understand the punchlines, do not help matters. The main character doesn't mention anything about them until the episode The Rest is History, where he states that their jokes are getting worse. However, when travelling through time, and them starting to talk backwards, Duckula says that they are more amusing that way.
Dr Von Goosewing 
Von Goosewing is a mad scientist and vampire hunter, who is a spoof of Abraham Van Helsing. He is a goose, as his name suggests, and speaks in a German accent. Von Goosewing wears an outfit not unlike that of Sherlock Holmes with a pair of spats. Von Goosewing often flies a dirigible with 'VG' written on it.
He pursues Count Duckula relentlessly, never able to comprehend that he is actually completely harmless. When not inventing some new machine to hunt vampires with, he relies on an old fashioned blunderbuss which is loaded with a wooden stake (although, curiously, it sometimes actually fires laser beams).
He is a terrible scientist, often getting maimed by his own crack-pot inventions. He is also supremely unobservant, and often bumps into Duckula and converses with him for several minutes without realising to whom he is talking.
Von Goosewing seems to have an assistant named Heinrich (who never appears on screen yet some evidence of his existence appears such as a sandwich in the episode "Incredible Shrinking Duck" which is uneaten). Von Goosewing often calls for Heinrich, and often blames his failures on him. In fact "Heinrich" seems to be just a figment of Von Goosewing's imagination, an imaginary friend, but the comic book version of the characters by Marvel reveal that Heinrich is actually his former assistant who is always complaining about his paltry wages. Von Goosewing mentions that Heinrich threatened to resign but is still with him. Apparently Heinrich quit, but his former employer failed to realise it.
The Marvel comic books based on the show also add a supporting character to him: his niece Vanna, on whom Duckula has a crush. This affection is reciprocated and the two have a romance during the comic's run, much to Von Goosewing's chagrin; Goosewing pursues Duckula with greater fervour as he seeks to 'protect' his niece from him.
The Crow Brothers 
Four criminally-inclined crows named Ruffles, Burt, Junior and the Masked Brother (according to a comic in a Count Duckula annual). They are typically seen scaling the walls of Castle Duckula with the aid of climbing equipment. They are always seen hanging off one another with the use of bungee cords to climb the walls of whatever building they plan to scale. Their goal is to get at the treasure inside the castle, but they rarely make it to the top.
The crows always wear masks. Ruffles wears a balaclava; Burt wears a longer balaclava; Junior wears a Peruvian chullo that seems to extend to his eyes; and the fourth crow brother wears a sock that covers his face entirely. The four brothers are led by the tallest crow, Ruffles, who often has plans that do not work.
Duckula, himself, is always oblivious to the Crow's criminal intentions, and often enlists them in endeavours to become an entertainer. At one point, they break into Castle Duckula while a play is being put on, and the Count needs fairies, toadstools and dwarves. The Crows' masculinity hilariously comes into play here, as they discuss their coming debut: "A woodelf, maybe. A mushroom, possibly. But I ain't going to be no bloomin' fairy!"
The Egg 
A supervillain egg with a grudge against anyone that is alive, because, he was never able to hatch from his egg. Along with his insidious schemes and plans, is a parrot with an Chinese stereotype complexion known as Oddbeak (a play on the James Bond villain Oddjob), who is very careful not to use words with the prefix "Egg", as he knows that it will offend his master. For example, he cannot say "Exactly, master" or "How exciting!" as it sounds too much like The E Word.
Gaston and Pierre 
A pair of French criminals who serve as occasional villains. Although, they are both undeniably incompetent, the arrogant Gaston is ostensibly the brains of the outfit.
Gaston is a tall, thin black stork, while Pierre is a stubby, short parakeet who sounds similar to Bluebottle from The Goon Show. The characters were adapted into non-bird form for yet another Cosgrove-Hall animated series - Victor and Hugo.
The Phantom of the Opera and Cruel 
A duo of characters who, at one point seek revenge on Count Duckula for foiling their plans. The Phantom is a tall, thin bird with the same mask worn by the original Phantom and dressed in dandified clothes (complete with a cape), while Cruel (a parody of Peter Lorre) is a short, misshapen bird who acts as the Phantom's manservant.
Morris the Strongman and Charlie the Clown 
A pair of baleful circus performers who held a grudge against Duckula; both were bumbling (though Charlie was slightly less so) and Morris was the brawn of their misdeeds.
The Pirate Penguins 
A ruthless crew of piratical penguins who are hired by Count Duckula at one time, but this crew of seafarers also turn on Count Duckula when his antics crash their ship. All of the penguins are typical pirate stereotypes one of which is known as Mr. Mate and shouts that he will "bite their heads off!"
The narrator (Barry Clayton) opens and closes every episode, in a voice which parodies Vincent Price's iconic voiceovers. Episodes usually began with him describing Castle Duckula and its gloomy atmosphere, and usually close with him saying a phrase popularized in the 1950s and 1960s by American TV horror host Zacherley: "Goodnight out there...WHATever you are!" Variants of this line are also used to close certain programmes.
Duckula has any number of vampiric relatives all over the world. These are more classic vampires than Duckula, possessing fangs, red eyes and evil personalities. Only a small number, such as Don Diego, show any affinity or friendship toward the benign Count Duckula.
They come from many different countries, such as Spain and Scotland, and represent the culture they are from in their outfits. Some such relatives were Don Diego, a Spanish vampire duck who makes his fun and games by burning down villages, and Rory McDuckula, a Scottish vampire duck who later makes himself an enemy of Duckula.
The most interesting exploration of relatives is in the episode "The Rest is History" where the current Count Duckula travels back in time using his castle clock to the year 1199 and meets the very first Count Duckula, who was apparently a normal Count, until his butler Igorth (possibly a relative of the current Igor) replaces a friendly pet bat with a vicious vampire bat, thus triggering the beginning of the vampire line. This makes Duckula's assertion that he is the 17th Count a slight hiccup in the series as it's be more likely he would be the 8th if reincarnation can only occur once a century - unless there is some other means of regeneration other than the ritual detailed in the opening or dependent on how the previous Counts 'died'. This could possibly be forgiven as the only time he mentions being the 17th Count is in 'The Count & The Pauper' which was written by a guest writer.
The Peasants 
The town situated below Castle Duckula is home to many peasants who live in constant fear of the Count, despite his harmless current incarnation. A recurring joke in the series and associated books is that "the peasants are revolting" (a pun that works because the word "revolting" can mean "rebelling" or "foul"). Their local pub is called "The Teeth and Jugular", a reference to vampires' practice of biting into blood vessels in their victims' necks. The regulars are often seen singing a variation of the traditional song "One Man Went to Mow a Meadow!" replacing the words "mow a meadow" with "kill a vampire".
Episode list 
Airing history 
- United States of America
- Nickelodeon (1988–1993)
- Czech Republic
- Canal J (as "Comte Mordicus".)
- Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation (1989 - unknown.)
- Stöð 2 (1992 - 2004) (Icelandic dub-over, under the title "Brakúla greifi".)
- Star Plus (1994–96)
- antv (2012)
- Channel 2 IRIB (1990's & 2000's) (as "The Castle of A Thousand Ducks".)
- Italia 1 (1989)
- Televisa still aired the show up to January 2006, on Canal 5. The success of the animated series in Mexico is partly attributed to its translation and voicework in Spanish, which was the very first to be done in a loose style, translating not only languages but cultural references and humor as well, uncommon in movies or television shows until Count Duckula, or "Conde Pátula" as it is known in Spanish.
- South Africa
- TVE 1 (1991. Only seasons 1 and 2.)
- Antena 3 Televisión (1992. The seasons 1 and 2 were emitted by the same TVE's Spanish dubbing, but the seasons 3 and 4 were doubled by Antena 3 Televisión because they did not manage to be emitted in TVE 1. Duckula, Igor and Nanny possess the same names that in the original version. The title in Spain is "El Conde Duckula", and the main theme song also is the same that the original version (in English).
- United Arab Emirates
- In a move mirroring Duckula's adaptation from DangerMouse, the characters of Gaston and Pierre were re-invented and given a spin-off series as the now-human Victor and Hugo.
- Count Duckula appeared in North American comics under Star Comics (an imprint of Marvel Comics) as well as in the UK (1st issue released in 1988).
DVD releases 
Despite being mostly available in the UK, the Count Duckula disks from Fremantle Media are in Region 0, PAL format. The first season was released on Region 1 DVD on October 4, 2005. Seasons 2 and 3 have as of 2013 not been released in North America.
Complete set 
|Title||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
Individual series 
|Series||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
(as "The Complete First Season".)
(as "The Complete First Series".)
(as "From Duck til Dawn",
containing the first 18 episodes only.)
(as "The Complete Second Series".)
(as "The Complete Third Series",
but containing all episodes from Series 3 and 4.)
Individual episodes 
|Title||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
VHS releases 
During the show's original run, Count Duckula episodes were released on numerous VHS titles from Thames Video Collection, often in a different order to that when televised. Amongst others were;
- Count Duckula: The Vampire Strikes Back! (TV8038) - Released: 9 February 1989.
Episodes: The Vampire Strikes Back!/Hardluck Hotlel/Dear Diary.
- Count Duckula: Special Bumper Edition - Released: 6 December 1989.
Consisted of several episodes from series two, but in a different order to that when first televised.
Episodes contained: Ghostly Gold/Prime-Time Duck/The Incredible Shrinking Duck/Ducknapped!/Bloodsucking Bats of the Lower Amazon.
- Count Duckula: A Fright at the Opera (TV8045) - Released: 28 February 1990.
Episodes contained: A Fright at the Opera/Hunchbudgie of Notre Dame/Dr Goosewing & Mr Duck.
- Count Duckula: The Great Ducktective (TV8102) - Released: 1990.
Episodes contained: The Great Ducktective/Private Beak/Whodunnit?
- Count Duckula: O.O. Duck (TV8105) - Released: 19 September 1990.
Episodes contained: O.O. Duck/A Mountie Always Gets His Duck!/Manhattan Duck
- Count Duckula: Astro Duck - Released: 31 December 1990.
Episodes contained: Astro Duck/The Rest is History!/Around the World in a Total Daze!/The Zombie Awakes!
- Count Duckula: Bombay Duck - Released: 31 December 1990 and 8 February 1991.
Episodes contained: Bombay Duck/Mississippi Duck/Mystery Cruise
Interestingly, this VHS title appeared in 1990, but at the time, the episodes contained were somewhat exclusive to video (the first was not televised until 1991, neither were the latter until 1993).
Count Duckula episodes were also released on special VHS compilations with episodes of other series. In 1989, the episode 'Down Under Duckula' was released on Thames' VHS title 'More Children's Summer Stories', with episodes from Dangermouse and The Wind in the Willows. In 2001, in the twilight years of VHS, the episodes 'The Ghost of Castle McDuckula' and 'Venice a Duck, Not a Duck!' were featured on two cult kids' collection tapes, with episodes of Rainbow, Chorlton & The Wheelies, Button Moon and Jamie & The Magic Torch.
Computer Games 
Alternative Software released a computer game based on Count Duckula called - No Sax Please, We're Egyptian!. In the game, Igor, Nanny and Count Duckula have decided to search the tomb of the great Pharaoh Upanatem (Up-n-at 'em pun) to find the Mystical Saxophone. What they do not know, is they have brought along some unwanted guests in the shape of the Crow Brothers.
The game was a basic jump and run platform type game at the start the castle was transported to an ancient Pyramid. Then, you had so long to go through the castle evading the various baddies, inside the castle to retrieve the mystic sax before the Count's castle automatically returns to Transylvania leaving you stranded in Egypt.
The title of the game was a parody on the title of a British comedy play No Sex Please, We're British!.
The game was available for various 8-bit computers such as the ZX Spectrum, C64 & Amstrad CPC and was also released as a Kid's Pack with other TV shows that Alternative Software had turned into games - Postman Pat, Sooty and Sweep, Count Duckula, Popeye 2, The Wombles and Superted. Alternative Software are one of the few software companies of the 80's who still survive today as an independent software producer.
- Watson, Elena M. (2000). Television Horror Movie Hosts: 68 Vampires, Mad Scientists and Other Denizens of the Late Night Airwaves Examined and Interviewed. Jefferson, North Carolina, United States: McFarland & Company. p. 265. ISBN 978-0-7864-0940-2.
- Count Duckula
- Victor and Hugo, Bunglers in Crime
- Count Duckula at the Internet Movie Database.
- Count Duckula at the Big Cartoon DataBase.
- Count Duckula at TV.com .