|Start - end:||1988 - 1993|
|Official site:||Count Duckula official site||Rate:|
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.
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 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.
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).
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 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.
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, "Transylvania standard time" as mentioned by Igor in the show. 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 castle itself may be at least partly sentient, and may also have a degree of self-awareness. The other characters make references to this, though this may simply be their own superstition.
Dr Von Goosewing
Von Goosewing is a mad scientist and vampire hunter, who is a spoof of Abraham Van Helsing with a bad Austrian accent. 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 harmless. When not inventing some new machine to hunt vampires with, he relies on an old fashioned musket 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 who he is talking to.
Von Goosewing has an assistant (who never appears on screen) named "Heinrich". Von Goosewing often calls for Heinrich, and Heinrich is often blamed for Von Goosewing's mistakes. The comic book version of the characters by Marvel Comics reveal that Heinrich is actually his former assistant who is always complaining for his low wage. 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, whom Duckula has a crush on. 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 (Ruffles, Burt, and two unnamed brothers) who 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; the third 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 Crow's masculinity hilariously comes into play here, as they discuss their coming debut: 'Toadstool, allright. Dwarf, allright. But I ain't going to be no bloomin' fairy !'
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 Asian 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 can't say "Exactly, master" because his phoney-bologna Asian accent makes the word sound like "EGGSactally" so he tries hard to say "HIS-actally" instead.
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 dandefied 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 had a grudge on 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 shouting that he will "bite their heads off!"
The narrator opens and closes every episode, in a voice which parodies Vincent Price's iconic voiceover for Michael Jackson's "Thriller" four years earlier. 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 60s 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 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.
[Castle Duckula, home for many centuries to a dreadful dynasty of vicious
vampire ducks - The Counts of Duckula.
Legend has it that these foul beings can be destroyed by a stake through the
heart or exposure to sunlight.
This does not suffice however, for they may be brought back to life by means
of a secret rite that can be performed once a century when the moon is in
the eighth house of Aquarius.
(Blood!) (I'll get it!)
The latest reincarnation did not run according to plan.
In the heart of Transylvan-ia,
In the Vampire Hall of Fame-yeah,
There's not a vampire zanier than...
He won't bite beast or man,
'Cos he's a vegetari-an. (Aagh!)
And things never run to plan for...
If you're looking for some fun,
You can always count upon,
Come and find the one they call...
Heh, heh. Count Duckula!
Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh!