Category Archives: Television

Before The Enfield Haunting there was Ghostwatch

The Enfield Haunting, a dramatisation of the UK’s most infamous poltergeist case, starts its three-part run on Sky Living this evening, rather aptly the night of a full moon.

enfield hauntingThe drama boasts both a based on a true story moniker but also a heavyweight cast to give the story some weighty gravitas in the shape of Matthew Macfadyen, as paranormal assistant Guy Von Playfair, Timothy Spall as supernatural researcher Maurice Grosse and Juliet Stevenson as Betty Grosse, used to ghosts of a different kind when she starred opposite Alan Rickman in Truly, Madly, Deeply. In fact it is such a significant story that it is even being used as the basis for the sequel to horror-smash The Conjuring.

Based on Playfair’s book ‘This House is Haunted’, The Enfield Haunting is a supernatural drama based upon real supernatural events that took place at an ordinary house in Enfield, North London, around two sisters during the autumn of 1977 using extensive documentation, recordings and witness statements of the incident as its jumping off point. It’s quite apt then that The Mirror, who also had an exclusive on the original story, reported this week about the ‘real’ paranormal activity that took place on set – commonplace PR these days it seems on ghost/horror stories.

But this isn’t the first time that a project directly inspired by The Enfield Poltergeist has hit our screens, and that proved so powerful and disturbing that it has never been repeated on British television ever again. That was shown one Halloween evening over 20 years ago, that one-off drama was Ghostwatch which caused the switchboard of the BBC to practically melt.

So prior to The Enfield Haunting, creep back behind the sofa and get reacquainted with the horror and terror that it inspired in Ghostwatch…

For those that tuned into BBC1 on the evening of Saturday 31st October 1992 things would never be the same, especially for those of a nervous disposition. The events that took place that evening caused such panic and fear that they have never been repeated again…ever, anywhere…but those who watched it have never forgotten.

Early 90s Saturday night TV could normally be counted on to be a jolly diet of Noel doing his usual from his Crinkly Bottom, Cilla playing cupid and people falling off ladders in Casualty, but Halloween 23 years ago was to prove to be a very different affair.

Mike Smith, Sarah Greene and Michael Parkinson in GhostwatchGhostwatch was an ambitious BBC project that pre-dated Most Haunted by years and saw some of the most respected TV people, Sarah Greene and Michael Parkinson, lend the whole proceedings some gravitas, as they investigated Foxhill Drive, one of the most haunted houses in Britain and have it beamed live into our homes. Parkinson anchored proceedings in the TV studio whilst Greene was based at the house, alongside late hubby Mike Smith and Craig Charles.

That was the premise, I say premise as despite the presence of Parkinson it was all a fake, a rouse, something to give the audience a fright and boy did it work in that department. Written by Stephen Volk, who also latterly penned the also suitably creepy Afterlife, which starred The Walking Dead’s Andrew Lincoln. The drama took its central idea from an actual documented poltergeist case, The Enfield Poltergeist and of course it’s all very apt timing that later this month we also have Poltergeist receive the remake treatment on the big screen.

Looking back at the BFI special edition DVD, its first appearance on any media which also has some great extra features including a commentary, thus showing it to be a seminal piece of British television the like we will probably never see the like of again, some of the acting is a tad ropey but despite this it still drags you in and still unnerves as it did all those years ago.

Certainly for inducing panic and fear, it caused numerous complaints regarding sleepless nights and even allegedly caused a number of women to go into labour and even unconfirmed reports of the suicide of a young man, it deserves to be uttered in the same breath as Orson Welles’ radio presentation of War of the Worlds in 1938, also broadcast on Halloween. And with that in mind you can certainly understand why it has never been repeated, something which almost makes it The Exorcist of the TV world.

We are of course back in traditional haunted house territory here but there are enough efficient twists and moments to make the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up, and if you are watching it on DVD, reach for your remote control in disbelief. Ghostwatch still has the ability to provoke significant chills with scratches appearing on a young girls face, tales of mutilated dogs and the building’s disturbing history and fleeting glimpses of ‘Pipes’, the evil spirit haunting the house. The climax still has the power to shock too with Sarah Greene being dragged into the cellar and the door slamming shut just as we lose contact with the house…

It’s all the more impressive as it is all done live, all done with smoke and mirrors the old fashioned way that is still ultimately highly effective all those years later.

Modern audiences may scoff at it all and wonder what all the fuss is about but you can be sure that there are still those who still cower and freeze at the very mention of ‘Pipes’ in what is one of the most-fascinating pieces of British television history and its viewing is a firmly established Halloween ritual in my house…never too far from the light switch.


The Truth Is Out There…Again

To paraphrase Catatonia, this could be a case for Mulder and Scully with the news that The X-Files are about to be reopened for a six episode limited series.

And of course that return would be nothing without Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) or Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) or the show’s creator, Chris Carter.

Hopefully that also means a return for Assistant Skinner and even The Cigarette Smoking Man, despite us seemingly see him die in the series finale…but then this is The X-Files after all.

It’s too early to know what will feature in those six episodes (no doubt that info is strictly classified) so we don’t even know if they’ll be standalone episodes or linked in some way.

Perhaps they’ll be two parters, something which the original excelled at and even had several of them stitched together and released as ‘movies’ in video? Most likely it will be an ‘event’ series much like 24: Live Another Day.

It’s shorter run is probably less lack of faith but more Duchovny’s and Anderson’s busyness – especially with Anderson juggling The Fall, Hannibal and Crisis. And Duchovny is apparently also going to be in the rebooted Twin Peaks as well…can’t see him completing the trilogy with bringing back The Red Shoe Diaries mind.

Either way it will be nice to have Mulder and Scully back on our screens, not that the FBI agents have been sat twiddling their thumbs, after series 9 finished in 2002 we’ve already seen series 10 continue in comic book form.

Whatever happens with the return of The X-Files, series 11 I guess, I’m hoping it will deliver, that’s what I want to believe.


Remembering Glen A Larson: Cylons are a boys best fiend

Glen A Larson, who has died at the age of 77, was responsible for sculpturing a huge influential part of my childhood…and if you were born in the early to mid 1970s then he probably was yours as well.

In the 1970s and 80s his name as creator, writer or executive producer was pretty much inescapable. And being the 1970s and 1980s they weren’t just great TV shows but had great title sequences and theme tunes.

He brought us one of the original Six Million Dollar Man TV movies, and a whole host of other fantastical TV shows besides, that were bigger, faster, stronger.

Battlestar1977 saw Star Wars blast on the cinema screen but Larson created  massive space opera epic, that was arguably just as iconic with its Cylons (for me far more frightening than the Cybermen or Darth Vader combined) and cool spaceships, and at one million dollars an episode (back then unheard of) he truly brought the epic of the big screen to the small screen. Although it only lasted one season there was a spinoff called Galactica 80, featuring flying bikes, a bearded Lorne Greene and Barry Van Dyke. And of course there was the successful reboot, that Larson didn’t have a hand in but still gained a consultant producer credit.

The last episode of Galactica 80 is of particular note as it featured the return of Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) marooned on a planet with just a lone Cylon for company, which plays out like a blueprint for Enemy Mine.

Larson stuck to outer space with his next adventure, which like with Galactica, its pilot was released theatrically, welcome Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

George Lucas or Fox tried to bring a lawsuit against Larson re the similarities of the original Galactica and Star Wars, he even nicked special effects supermodel John Dykstra, but Lucas  or Fox had some nerve really considering that the tale of Luke Skywalker was essentially Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers, so it was fairly apt that the latter was Larson’s next sci-fi epic.

I had a matchbox version of the spaceship, again it was massively iconic growing up and was actually a turned down design for the Viper from the original Battlestar. Buck was kind of cool, when not busting his disco moves on the intergalactic dance floor, but everyone loved the prerequisite robot, Twiki, voiced by Bugs Bunny himself, Mel Blanc, and always confusing folk in the playground as he sounded uncannily like the Blanc voiced Yoesemite Sam. Also causing confusion, for far different reasons was the character of Wilma Dearing and her amazing lipstick!

It also boasted, in my mind, one of my favourite ever title sequences which kicked off with a. Apprentice shot if Rogers spinning to the 2471. Nobody does great intros anymore.

Sticking with great intros Larson also created Magnum PI, which had that car, that tache and of course that brilliant theme tune and credits. Magnum wasn’t Larson’s only foray into crime as he also created the quirky Quincy ME, paving the way for today’s CSI’s, Simon and Simon and also two other fighters against crime who, like Thomas Magnum, had rather cool modes of transport.

Colt Seavers, from The Fall Guy, made me want to have a pick up truck and he had a cool bath outside, besides being a Hollywood stuntman who was also a bounty hunter, cue Lee Majors sang theme tune. Altogether now, it’s only hay, a hey, hey!

knight-riderIn the other show the car was quite literally the star, I am of course talking about the black Trans Am, KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand)…oh, and Michael Knight of course! Cue pretending to talk into your Casio watch in the playground and being thrilled by your mum and dad’s car have electronic digits just like KITT, alas it lacked a super pursuit mode or turbo boost.

A cool car didn’t guarantee success of course and Automan, think Tron with a car sort of, certainly had the visuals. Not all his creations had cool vehicles, one in particular was able to change his mode of transport whenever he liked as he was able to transform into almost any creature.

I am of course talking about Simon MacCordinadale and his nine episode run as Manimal who week after week, American Werewolf style, transformed into everything from a hawk to a black panther, even a snake! I remember it aired Monday nights in the UK and for something that was so fleeting – it only lasted something like non episodes – is so vividly remembered.

I would have gone to karate if that wasn’t airing but that show seemed far cooler than suing at the karate kid, even to my eight year old self. Years later I longed for MacCorkindale to transform in the A&E dept at Holby when he was in Casualty, alas it never happened but he did turn up in a cameo as the same Jonathan Chase  character in another Larson show, Night Man in the late 90s.

Whichever way you look at it Glen A Larson made some of the coolest, greatest (to the nine year old me and the 39 year old me) TV shows that have ever graced our screens.

Although the great mind that created them has gone his vast body of high profile, high concept work still continues to influence and continues to be enjoyed and long may it for many more yahren’s to come (that’s years in Battlestar Galactica talk).

Still Open All Hours – p p p p past its sell by date

When this was first announced I thought that it would be a funny, touching and melancholy return to the world of the Arkwright stores, instead it seemed more like a poor retread and – although no doubt made with the best of intentions – it seemed to have more of a whiff of the Pink Panther films made of clips of Sellers post his death that ended up on the cutting room floor with at best David Jason being Turk Thrust II aka Roger Moore. Or even worse, Ted Wass!

Still, it’s more stagnant and it reminds me of the terrible to the manor reborn revival that failed on all cylinders as well.

The problem is that Granville isn’t the Granville that we all know and love, instead they’ve basically turned him into Ronnie Barker and Arkwright, complete with same colour jacket, so much so tht it seems odd to not hear the famous stutter…so much so that Jason does several impressions of him with his stutter and mannerisms (which I know his character did in the original series which is fine but not the whole persona).

Granville wouldn’t be a miser and be fretting about slicing bacon as thin as he could or putting all that effort into selling anchovy paste. Great impression of Barker, but it just isn’t Granville.

It would be the equivalent of Only Fools and Horses coming back with Rodney in charge and basically being a tall Del Boy, that just isn’t who he is and it is exactly the same issue with Granville.

We are also shown several long and loving shots of Barker in a large photo in the store (that even outsized that of Betty Turpin in the Rovers Return – the latter which I swear increases in size on a weekly basis). All this does though is make us miss both Barker and the original series even more.

The new ‘Granville’ is forgettable, I can’t even remember his name, and it is very much a one man-show which misses the point of the original series.

Sure, it is nice to see some of the original shop customers, the former nurse Gladys Emmanuel and we also get a couple o fresher faces with Johnny Vegas (who probably has the best joke of the episode) and a blooming Chuckle Brother – the even older and shorter one I think.

No doubt this is the BBC touting for a full series and in part looking for a gentile comedy in the ilk of Last of the Summer Wine (also penned by Roy Clarke). I’ve no problem with that and loved the original Barker and Jason series but this I am afraid is p p p p p past its sell by date.

Oh, and the other thing, why on earth is he still using the broken till? I get that it was a character and all practically in its own right but at least have it in the back with Arkwright’s ashes on top of it or something or a new till with the same affliction. As it stands the old till being in active service is about as believable as if he still accepted pound notes as legal tender!

The Beeb flog Dad’s Army to death so why not take the original Open All Hours for a spin instead of making Barker spin in his grave.

Box clever: The Box of Delights

115bbc2[1]Steam trains, wise men with beards who know magic, flying cars and characters transforming into an array of animals. So far, so Harry Potter, right? Wrong.

Christmas television, for me, meant many things. It of course meant the perennial Bond movie and usually the odd Sinbad or Doug McClure epic along with Digby the biggest – if not the most convincingly so – dog in the world. But for me one programme that will always evoke fond childhood memories and have the power to transport me back some 25 years, how fitting as that is exactly what ‘The Box’ can do, is the BBCs classic adaptation of The Box of Delights.

Harry Potter and those kids who went to Narnia might have thought they had cornered the market in middle class school kids having rollicking adventures that beggar belief, but they’d be wrong. Based on the children’s book of the same name by John Masefield, this six part adaptation is set in England in the 1930s, it tells the adventures of Kay Harker as he returns home from school for Christmas. On the train he meets a mysterious but kindly old man who gives him the Box of Delights, a magical box which gives the holder the powers of flight, physical transformation, and the ability to travel through time. Of course, the forces of evil, led by members of the clergy, are out to steal the Box, and it’s up to Kay and his friends to stop them.

Produced prior to but to an equally high standard as the BBCs Narnia adaptations this production his Christmas written all the way through it and even concluded on Christmas Eve, which is when the last episode is set, on its original airing, something which it should be done every year and turn it into the seasonal classic it deserves to be. If America has the traditions of a Charlie Brown Christmas and The Grinch (the animated short) then we should certainly be able to deliver more than The Snowman – although of late this seems to be the Patrick Stewart/ Hallmark Channel reworking of A Christmas Carol over the last few years.

The programme still has an epic feel about it with amazing location work and cinematography; remember this was also the same period that the BBC splashed the cash on other children’s drama such as The Tripods. The special effects, which mostly featured animation and primitive blue screen, have dated badly but are somehow in keeping with the period it is set and just give the whole proceedings a further feeling of nostalgia.

The three pillars that have allowed ‘Box’ to stay long in the consciousness of those who saw it when young are its music and titles and two amazing performances from two of its cast.

The titles showed several key images from the show and were almost quasi-doctor who like, quite fitting with the second doctor, Patrick Troughton, making an appearance as one of the key characters. Indeed as in classic Who we even see his face travel towards us in the titles. The accompanying music, The First Noel, was also something else and managed to be both enchanting and sinister at the same time.

Troughton may only appear in three of the six episodes but his presence is felt throughout and for an actor who has played so many memorable roles in everything from Robin Hood, Doctor Who, a villain in Sinbad and a doomed clergyman in The Omen, this is perhaps his greatest legacy as the Punch and Judy man who is as lovable, wise, cunning and likable as Dumbledore.

And then we have the Reverend Abner Brown, the late Shakespearean actor, Robert Stevens, who admirably chews the scenery up and spits it back out in every scene. Never has the term mad man for a character seemed so fitting. He and the range of characters he surrounds himself with are genuinely creepy, even today.

Also well worth a mention and the things of many a youngsters nightmares no doubt were the rather sinister pair of ‘clergymen’, “Foxy Faced Charles” and “Chubby Faced Joe” who are two agents working for the villainous ringleader, ‘Abner Brown’. They also had the ability to change in wolves and even give chase after Harker in some wonderfully shot snow scenes. The pair remind me somewhat of Mr Wint and Mr Kidd from Diamonds Are Forever, a pair who also gave a feeling of unease and are rather unsettling whenever they appear.

Unsurprisingly, the rumour is that ‘Box’ is set to delight a whole new audience as it makes its leap to the big screen under the helm of a former Harry Potter Director, Mike Newell. Here’s hoping it loses none of its magic or indeed its darkness in its journey. Even if it does it will only increase the respect for the original adaptation.

It has to be said that the casting directors will have to go some to match anyone as good as Troughton, as I’m sure I’m not the only one who associates him with this over his role as The Doctor, as good and memorable as it was. Some feat you may think, but he pulls the character of Cole Hawlings off so convincingly that it really is hard to imagine anyone else in the role.

To my knowledge it has only ever been screened twice in the UK, so the campaign to annually rescreen ‘The Box of Delights’, starts here. Even if not on BBC1 or 2 surely it’s a perfect fit for BBC4, so let’s turn it into the institution it deserves to be.

Bullet Time: The Kennedy Assassination in sci-fi

There are those who might argue that since those bullet(s) – depending on who you believe – rang out across Dealey Plaza in Dallas 50 years ago that fiction has reigned in the assassination of the 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Arguably it was modern America’s darkest hour until 9/11 and its reverberations have been felt ever since, affecting millions, in particular prolonging the Vietnam conflict. It is no wonder then that with these far-reaching butterfly effects that science-fiction and time travel in particular keeps returning to that fateful day and that very real Nightmare on Elm Street, the name of the street he was shot on.

The Twilight Zone – Profile in Silver (1986)
This episode from the first season of the resurrected Twilight Zone back in the mid-80s featured a host of familiar genre faces, including Lois and Clark’s Lane Smith as Dr. Joseph Fitzgerald, a university professor of history from the year 2172 who travels back in time to observe the assassination of John F. Kennedy, as a ‘field historian’, but it emerges that he is descended from JFK as well.

Fitzgerald cannot stand by and watch history take its course so shouts for the president and his entourage to take cover. Oswald fires anyway, but misses, and is later arrested by Dallas police, thus changing history.

A grateful President Kennedy (Andrew Robinson from Hellraiser and rather ironically played the sniper in Dirty Harry) invites Fitzgerald to stay at the White House. The president is notified that Soviet troops have captured West Berlin and that Khrushchev has been assassinated, which we learn will cause total war. Lane’s character must fix the damage by ensuring that the assassination takes place as we know it today. He swaps places with Kennedy, who is sent to the future, and Fitzgerald keeps his date with an assassin’s bullet.

Running Against Time (1990)
Starring Airplane’s Robert Hays, who really excels in this dramatic role, as a man who lost his brother in the Vietnam war and never recovered after the loss. But now he discovers he has the chance to change all that by travelling back in time and stopping the assassination of JFK, who we are told would have pulled troops out of Nam a lot sooner had he lived. Initially he stops Oswald by shooting him and entering the police stage left where Oswald pins the attempt on Hays, with him even being shot by Jack Ruby! For a TV movie this has twists a plenty.

Quantum Leap – Lee Harvey Oswald (1992)
This was the final series of the popular time travel series but by this time the programme had already jumped the shark. Basically Sam Beckett leaps into Lee Harvey Oswald and spends much of the two-parter wrestling with the character (no not literally) as they fight to control the body and mind of Oswald and stop the assassination of JFK. Basically this acts as the anti-JFK (as in the Oliver Stone movie) and traces Oswald back to 1957 and shows why he wanted Kennedy dead and why it had to be him and only him implicated in the murder.

Hogwash, I don’t mind the concept or that he leaped into Oswald but it was such an obvious piece of propaganda touting such an outdated premise that Oswald acted alone that it played more as a comedy rather than a drama. Interestingly series creator and writer of this episode, Donald P Bellisario, actually met Oswald when he was in the army. Now if he’d done that episode with ‘Airwolf’, a show he also created, then we might have been talking!

Dark Skies 1996-1997
Riding the coat tails of The X-Files this programme fused the two greatest conspiracies of all time together, Roswell and the assassination of JFK. The essence of the series, which had the tagline “History as we know it is a lie”, was that John Kennedy was assassinated because he was going to tell the truth about UFOs in his second term. It tied everything from JFK’s assassination, Watergate and Vietnam to the alien truth.
Alas the TV series only lasted a feature length pilot (directed by Tobe Hooper) and one season, obviously they were getting too close to the truth?

Red Dwarf – Tikka to Ride (1997)
Lister and pals inadvertently go back in time to Dallas November 22, 1963, and foil Lee Harvey Oswald’s attempt on John F. Kennedy. They soon find out that because of their actions, the US disintegrated and the USSR won the space race. In order to set things right they go back in time to find a now impeached JFK (whose womanising ways finally caught up with him), and persuade him to become the second gunman behind the Grassy Knoll, thus saving his country and his place in history. Now that beats Quantum Leap hands down – calculate that why don’t you Ziggy!

Time Quest (2000)
On the morning of November 22, 1963, a seventy-something man (Ralph Waite, er from The Waltons) materializes in the hotel suite occupied by Jackie Kennedy. The Time Traveller shows Jackie future television footage of the assassination and funeral of John F. Kennedy. Shortly thereafter, the Time Traveller speaks to the president and to Attorney General Bobby Kennedy (Vince Grant), giving them details of their respective assassinations and of the public revelations of JFK’s sex scandals. The movie both poses and answers the question what if JFK survived his assassination…

Here be monsters: toons with bite

drak-pack_L14[1]Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood and Teen Wolf might all be popular modern spins on classic monsters but for us people in our 30s the site of folk with fangs and sprouting hairs at the first sign of a full moon was commonplace…in our Saturday morning cartoons.

Every 400 years, a baby werewolf is born into the Fangsworth family. And so when the moon shined on little Sherman Fangsworth, he changed into Fangface; (Ooowooo! Grrrrrr…) a werewolf. Only the sun can change him back to normal. And so little Fangs grew up and teamed up with three daring teenagers: Kim, Biff, and Puggsy. And together they find danger, excitement, and adventure. (Grrrrrr… Ooowooo!) (Ooh! Ooh! Grrrrrr!) Who can save the day? Who can wrong the rights, and right the wrongs? None other than Fangface! (Ooh! Ooh!)

So booms Mr Voiceover man at the beginning of each episode which practically combines the characters of Scooby Doo and Shaggy in one! The show even had its own ‘hip’ vehicle, the wolf buggy. Amusingly, Fangface, with his one large fang, can even turn all hairy at the mere sight of the moon, or anything resembling it!

The Funky Phantom
Essentially yet another riff on Scooby Doo and Co, The Funky Phantom featured three teenagers — Skip, April and Augie — and their dog Elmo. While trying to get out of a storm, they entered an old house where they found a clock telling the wrong time, which, upon being set to midnight, released two ghosts: a Revolutionary War-era ghost named Jonathan Wellington “Mudsy” Muddlemore (who sounds exactly like Snagglepuss as he’s voiced by the same man) and his cat, Boo. The pair hid from the British inside the clock during the War, but then couldn’t get out and died inside – cheery! Ever since being freed, Mudsy and Boo have acompained them on mysteries, always giving an invisible helping hand…and of course they had some smart wheels as well.

The Real Ghostbusters
This series made more of a thing of Slimer, resulting in him turning up in the film sequel, the series actually featured good storylines and monsters that would have made a better starting point for a story than what we saw in Ghostbusters 2.

Interesting fact is that Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman role was voiced by the man who also did the voice of Garfield in the cartoon and that several years later Murray went onto voice Garfield in the film. Life imitating art imitating art or something like that.

Scooby Doo
The king of the cartoon crypt keepers is Mr Doo, even though these aren’t essentially monsters just men, generally janitors, in monster outfits. The fun is in spotting the clues though and, of course, earning those all important Scooby Snax. Always viewed better when he was part of the Mystery Machine team than when his pesky little nephew, Scrappy Doo, was with him. This scaredy cat dog has been spooked since 1969.

The Drak Pack
Now this really was something and was great 70s kitsch which essentially cast those who had always been seen as villains as the heroes of the piece for a change

The Drak Pack was made up of the teen-age descendants of Hollywood’s most popular monsters. Drak Jr. (a vampire), Frankie (a Frankenstein’s monster) and Howler (a wolfman) formed a crimefighting squad in order to atone for their forefathers’ misdeeds against humanity. To show that the teens had the blessing of the previous monsters, they usually received their assignments from Drak’s great-grandfather, Dracula himself (known as Big D to the Pack), who always ended up trapping his fingers in his coffin.

The gang’s nemesis was the evil Dr. Dred, who from his flying “Dredgible” would hatch many an evil scheme along with assistants Vampira, Mummy Man, a Peter Lorre-esque Toad, and Fly. In order to defeat them, the Drak Packers would clasp their hands together and shout, “Wacko!” a secret word which gave the teens the super powers to succeed.

Captain Caveman
Looking like a throwback from one of the Dingles, Captain Caveman (how the Captain came about is beyond me). This magic club flying (er, again clueless) crimefighter was the same every week as part way through he gave chase in the air and (what a surprise) his club would run out of power…and it was the same week in week out. He did have three nice young ladies helping him though, a sort of Caveman’s Angels so to speak. Caveman himself was clearly some sort of relative of the Slag Brothers from The Wacky Races, both coming from the Hannah Barbara stable of animation of course.

Was friendly and a ghost. Probably died of boredom. More of a wet blanket than a white sheet. Also, post Chucky, his “Hi, I’m Casper, can I be your friend?” was somewhat sinister in a you just know he wants to turn into those demons at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, you know he does, type way.

Count Duckula
Like Mork from Ork was a spin off from Happy Days, our green feathered friend started out as a nemesis for none-other than Danger Mouse, with both characters voiced by David Jason of course.

With a reincarnation ritual that replaces blood accidently with tomato ketchup, thank you Nanny, the latest in the long line of vampirac ducks 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 and 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 (an obvious play on Van Helsing).