Some kids TV shows will forever remain stamped in your memory, but some end up buzzing around the a fly against a window, where the more you struggle to remember them the more annoyed you get with yourself. Â Cloppa Castle is a perfect example of just such a show for me.
I remember the name, and I remember it being a puppet show with some very strange looking puppets. Â As the name suggests it was set in a castle, and I remember it being vaguely medieval in era. Â I even remember it had a really bouncy theme tune that went “It’s Cloppa Castle” at various points. Â I also remember it was shown as part of the ITV lunchtime kids shows and that I would be really excited when it came on, but sadly that’s about all I remember.
So thank God then for the Internet. Â A quick Google search and the blanks start to get filled in. Â The show featured two warring clans, the Hasbeenes and the Byegones, who were fighting over an oil well that had been discovered within the grounds of Cloppa Castle. Â The two factions may have fought tooth and nail over the oil most of the time, but at teatime they call a temporary truce and sit down together for a cup of tea. Â How very British!
The programme was created by Mary Turner and John Reed in 1978, so with repeats taken into account it more than likely was still on air in the 1980’s. Â Mary and John originally worked with Gerry Anderson on shows such as Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet before going out on their own to create their own shows, which also included a puppet version of Rupert the Bear which I vaguely remember from being about 3 or 4, mostly because I had a ViewMaster reel of it. Â This incarnation of Rupert featured the much loved Rupert song as it’s title theme. Â You know the one… Â Rupert, Rupert the Bear, Everyone knows his name…
Back to Cloppa Castle. Another thing that I now remember about the title sequence thanks to an image I came across whilst searching the web was that Cloppa Castle also borrowed a gag from Fawlty Towers. Some of the knights were putting the name of the castle above its entrance, but kept putting the letters up in the wrong order, thus spelling out other strange words.
It turns out that Cloppa Castle is actually available on DVD, so maybe I ought to seek out a copy to refresh my memory completely. In the meantime I must thank the websites Toonhound, Little Gems and Talk About The Passion for helping me remember this cool little show.