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British Comic Strips

        Andy Capp


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Andy Capp
  
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artist:  Reg Smythe
    appearances:  5th March 1957 - present
                            week days in The Daily Mirror

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     Andy Capp has been with us since 1957 and in that time he's become an
     outspoken icon for the british working class. Put simply, he's a flat-cap wearing
     layabout, chauvinistic, unemployable pub-dweller from Hartlepool who spends
     most of his days perched precariously on or between the local watering hole
     and his living room sofa as Number 37 Durham Street. Andy has a point of view
     on everyone and everything, it seems. And his wife Flo has had to put up with his
     philosophizing for nigh-on 50 years. Mind you, she's just as likely to give as good
     as she gets, because Flo is no pushover...

     Amongst others on the receiving end of Andy's eulogozing and general tattle are
     Chalkie and Ruby White, Percy Ritson the rent Man, the local Vicar, Flo's Mum,
     barman Jackie, Andy's nephew Jason, and his niece, and Andy's own Mother.

       'The World of Andy Capp' - published in 1961    'Andy Capp's Spring Tonic'

     Andy was created by the legendary cartoonist Reg Smythe, and he proved to
     be an instant hit with readers of "The Daily Mirror", in which the strip first appeared.
     Incidentally, Hartlepool just so happened to be Reg Smythe's home town too,
     which suggests something of Reg came through in the character.

     In 1960, Smythe became a founding member of the Cartoonists Club of Great
     Britain, and flat-capped Andy helped him to win the club's annual prize for five
     consecutive years - an extraordinary feat.

     The character proved an inspiration to comic artists everywhere, and in 1961,
     Andy gave his flat capped persona to the title star of Fleetway's "Buster" comic.
     Buster was originally billed as being the son of Andy Capp. Of course he didn't
     frequent pubs, or smoke, or womanise, but he was an honest working clas lad
     living with his Mum - who was presumably a rendition of Flo' from the Smythe
     originals. Buster dropped his 'son of' billing quite soon after the launch of the
     comic, but he held on to that faithful flat cap right the way through to the
     comic's demise in January 2000.

     Andy's ongoing success reached far beyond British shores to America,
     where he's been in syndication since 1963. Up until 1983, Andy was rarely
     seen without a cigarette protruding from under his cap. But the anti-smoking
     lobby had by then  persuaded Reg Smythe to drop the habit. Mr Smythe
     himself died from cancer in 1998, aged 81, but his ever-popular creation
     still lives on in "The Mirror" to this day.

     In 1988 ITV produced a live-action sitcom series based on the character. Former
     "Likely Lad" James Bolam took on the title role, with Paula Tilbrook playing Flo.
     The producer-director was John Howard Davies. It wasn't a hit, though, and
     only six episodes were ever produced.

     The Mirror Group have published enough Andy Capp books to fill a skip.
     Amongst them have been annual numbered anthologies, and a series of
     "World of Andy Capp" anthology specials. In and around these have been
     umpteen one-offs and additions, including "Andy Capp's Spring Tonic", which
     was shaped like a spirit bottle!...


    
 » Andy Capp at amazon.co.uk

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      On the web


       
Creators.com

       
Andy Capp's official syndication co. They feature a daily strip,
       a 30 day strip archive plus a concise page biography of the late
       great Reg Smythe...

       
Planet Slade
       
Paul Slade goes to town with a most thorough appreciation of
       Reg Smythe and his flat-capped creation...

       Tv Comedy Database
       Phil Hill's TV Comedy Database gives a few more details on
       the live-action series...



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© Reg Smythe / Mirror Newspaper Group Ltd / F2012