Where Are They Now? No. 31

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, which can be performed once a century, when the moon is in the eighth house of Aquarius. The latest reincarnation did not run according to plan…

The early years of Count Duckula are shrouded in mystery. His life was led in almost total seclusion; the few people who were brave enough to attempt to visit his mountain-top castle in Transylvania were turned away unseen. It wasn’t until the mid-eighties that Duckula finally made his debut in society – and how! Leaping from obscurity to minor celebrity by way of an appearance as a guest villain in Dangermouse, Count Elijah von Duckula capitalised quickly on his success, moving to London and pitching an idea for an entire series with himself as the star. The pitch worked, and so began his rapid journey into mainstream celebrity.

The Count himself.

Few were suspicious of Duckula’s motives for breaking his self-enforced solitude. He proved to be a superstar in the genre of comedy, and critics around the world heaped praise upon his TV show. But there was a dark cloud behind the count’s smiles and laughter. In the late seventies Duckula, given a tip on land prices in Afghanistan, used almost all of his inherited wealth to purchase vast tracts of land in this rapidly-developing country. When the Soviet Union invaded in 1979, Duckula’s land deeds became worthless. He had lost all but his castle, and even that was mortgaged to the belfry.

The Count Duckula TV series was successful beyond the count’s wildest dreams. He was able to buy back his castle, and reacquire a large portion of his family’s estate. There was even a popular and critically-acclaimed computer game released, based on the show. Unlike many of his generation and position in society, Duckula shunned the lure of cheap drugs and hard women (or something like that), preferring instead to invest his capital by way of Lloyds of London, ostensibly providing the capital needed to insure megaglobal corporations such as Shell Oil. By 1988, all of his money was invested in this exceedingly profitable enterprise.

By 1992 Lloyds of London had lost somewhere around £20 billion. Once again, Count Elijah von Duckula was broke. As the banks seized his London apartment, the count fled back to his family’s ancestral home in Transylvania. Inevitably, the bailiffs followed, intending to repossess his castle and its contents. However, they had reckoned without the medieval architects who had designed and built Duckula’s home, and were unable to gain entry. Not to be deterred, in the spring of 1995 the bailiffs laid seige to Castle Duckula. And, to this day, they are still there.

Count Elijah von Duckula, we salute you.

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