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Fantomcat
Title card
GenreAdventure
Animation
Comedy drama
Created byAndy Roper
Developed byAnglia Television
Written byRoger Stennett
Jimmy Hibbert
Keith Smith
Maggie Fox
Sue Ryding
Stefan Redfern
Rob Rackstraw
Peter Richard Reeves
Lorelei King
Directed byBen Turner
Andy Roper
StarringRobert Powell
Lorelei King
Rob Rackstraw
Jimmy Hibbert
ComposerPhil Bush
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes26
Production
Executive producersBrian Cosgrove
Mark Hall
ProducersBen Turner
Andy Roper
Running time30 min.
Production companyCosgrove Hall Films
Original release
NetworkITV (CITV)
Release7 September 1995 (1995-09-07) –
18 December 1996 (1996-12-18)

Fantomcat is a British animated series produced by Cosgrove Hall Films. It was first broadcast in 1995, and was animated by Alfonso Productions, a Spanish animation studio also responsible for animating and bringing Cosgrove Hall's shows Count Duckula, Victor and Hugo: Bunglers in Crime, Avenger Penguins, Sooty's Amazing Adventures and The Foxbusters to life, Milimetros, another Spanish animation studio, and in-house by Cosgrove Hall themselves. It aired largely on Children's ITV. The series also had a run on Pop from 2003 to 2005. It was the first Cosgrove Hall cartoon to be animated with a process called Animo, wherein the animation drawings were scanned and then digitally coloured on computers. The first series was produced and directed by Ben Turner, while the second one was produced and directed by its creator, Andy Roper.

Influences

The main character of Fantomcat was influenced heavily by Zorro, Errol Flynn and Fantômas, and the series itself was influenced by Batman: The Animated Series and the time-lost approach of both Adam Adamant Lives! and Gargoyles.

Details

Fantomcat centres on the character Phillipe L'Entrique Elan de Chanel, Count Givenchy and Duke of Fantom, a.k.a. Fantomcat, a masked swashbuckling hero who thrived on the stormy evening of 31 December 1699 in mortal combat with his nemesis Baron von Skelter, a sword-wielding caped Skeletoid alchemist. But Von Skelter was not alone in Castle Fantom, as he had brought with him two of his henchmen. During the battle, Phillipe was treacherously cast into a painting within the halls of his home, Castle Fantom, by Von Skelter's henchmen with the Crystal of Malevolence, a stone so powerful that it can change worlds. As his clock struck midnight, he became trapped in the painting for three centuries while Von Skelter stole his Ring of the Fantoms and his sword, Touché.

As time passed, the area around Castle Fantom became a bustling metropolis called Metrocity, a city submerged in crime rings led by the fiendish arachnid Marmagora. Eventually, at midnight on 31 December 1999, Fantomcat is freed from the painting by the members of the Wildcat Detective Agency when they take a wrong turning into the castle while chasing two explosive-wielding reptiles.

On 1 January 2000, Fantomcat joins the Wildcat Detective Agency in their battle against Marmagora and her henchmen, who have used another Crystal of Malevolence to summon Baron von Skelter into the modern day and join her as her partner in a new world order. Fantomcat and the Wildcat Detective Agency defeat Marmagora's henchmen, and blow up Baron Von Skelter with the two Crystals of Malevolence. Although the Baron has been defeated, Marmagora is still hanging around, and the battle will continue another day.

Characters

Heroes

Villains

Other characters

Episode list

Series 1

Episode No. Title Villains Directed by Written by Original airdate Prod. Code
1"The Hero Returns"Marmagora and Baron von SkelterBen TurnerKeith Smith7 September 1995 (7 September 1995)B212646
While chasing two explosive-wielding reptiles, the Wildcat Detective Agency is launched into Castle Fantom where Tabs accidentally frees Fantomcat from a portrait. He briefs them of his imprisonment and joins the team in their pursuit for Marmagora, who has summoned Baron von Skelter to join her. Fantomcat strikes him down once and for all...or does he?
2"The Preying Mantis"Marmagora, The Crab Twins and The MonkBen TurnerKeith Smith14 September 1995 (14 September 1995)B212647
Marmagora has recruited The Monk to deal with Fantomcat. Meanwhile the Wildcat Detective Agency thwart a raid on a rich French fox by the Crab Twins. The next day, Monk kidnaps Tabs to lure Fantomcat to a trap at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Metro Park, but with the aid of his Ring of the Fantoms, Fantomcat defeats The Monk.
3"The Swords of the Scorpion"Marmagora and ScorpioBen TurnerRob Rackstraw and Stefan Redfern21 September 1995 (21 September 1995)B212648
A warrior called Scorpio thwarts Metrocity's crimes. This is just to make Fantomcat look like a fool, give up swordplay and take up knitting, but the Wildcat Detective Agency catch wind of Marmagora's plot to raid the Metrocity Gold Reserve, so Fantomcat emerges from his defeat to beat Scorpio and prevent an atomic explosion that will cause a total eclipse of Metrocity.
4"The Aeroship"MarmagoraBen TurnerMaggie Fox and Sue Ryding28 September 1995 (28 September 1995)B212649
Marmagora hijacks Hiram "Big" Bucks' Aeroship, the Big One, to use as the perfect getaway vehicle for raids on the Metrocity Central Bank. The Wildcat Detective Agency board the Aeroship and in an ensuing fight, Vile causes the Aeroship to self-destruct, but the Wildcat Detective Agency are able to thwart Marmagora's heist.
5"The Asteroid Adventure"The MonitorBen TurnerPeter Richard Reeves5 October 1995 (5 October 1995)B212650
Tabs is abducted by the Monitor, and is taken to his asteroid base in outer space. His interest is for Fantomcat to find a crystal shard by following cryptic clues. After finding it at the Metrocity Museum, Fantomcat infiltrates the asteroid base, disrupts Monitor's plan and rescues Tabs.
6"The Mind Leech"MarmagoraBen TurnerJimmy Hibbert12 October 1995 (12 October 1995)B212651
Professor Oliphant from the Institute of Advanced Particle Analysis gets taken by Marmagora's giant beetles to reveal his secrets of transporting living matter with a mechanical mind leech. Fantomcat follows Tabs and Lindbergh's trail, but while attempting to cross a rocky bridge, he ends up plummeting down the cavern below it and is almost killed. After a revival by the spirit of his father, he rescues his friends and the Professor from their captors.
NOTE: There was no episode shown on 19 October 1995 due to there being special programmes to celebrate (C)ITV's 40th birthday anniversary week.
7"Lady Gobbling’s Gems"Marmagora and Hedouni the HypnotistBen TurnerMaggie Fox and Sue Ryding26 October 1995 (26 October 1995)B212652
At Lady Gobbling's castle ball, Hedouini the Hypnotist and Vinnie the Vole put the party guests in a trance to steal their jewellery for Marmagora. Fantomcat gets caught by them, but he escapes, counters Marmagora and retrieves the stolen jewellery.
NOTE: Lindbergh is absent in this episode.
8"Great Balls of Fire"Marmagora and The Mina TigerBen TurnerRoger Stennett2 November 1995 (2 November 1995)B212653
Comet Caractacus flies over the Earth, and deep beneath Castle Fantom arises the Mina Tiger, which confronts Fantomcat and tries to kill him in a battle. Fantomcat manages to get the Mina Tiger destroyed by a bolt of lightning.
9"The Chameleons of Death"Marmagora and The Chameleon BrothersBen TurnerRob Rackstraw and Stefan Redfern9 November 1995 (9 November 1995)B212655
Marmagora steals a Dark Particle from the Institute of Advanced Particle Analysis, because she needs it to power her new Spectro-Vac. It blows up because of Vile fitting the wrong fuse. Marmagora sends the Chameleon Bros. to steal Fantomcat's ring, costing the life of one of them. The Detective Team track Marmagora's goons, prevent the Spectro-Vac from its test phase and Fantomcat finishes off the other Chameleon.
10"The Crystal of Nemesis"Marmagora and NemesisBen TurnerJimmy Hibbert16 November 1995 (16 November 1995)B212654
Marmagora steals the ancient Crystal of Nemesis from the Metrocity Museum, which may spell Fantomcat's end at the hand of the demon warrior Nemesis in the form of a Sodium-filled giant robot. The Wildcat Detective Agency help Fantomcat to destroy Nemesis once and for all with a water cannon.
11"The Eye of Harakti"Marmagora, The Crab Twins and RahrBen TurnerPeter Richard Reeves23 November 1995 (23 November 1995)B212657
At the Blue Sphinx Club, Marmagora calls upon the services of Rahr, an evil Egyptian with a stone sphere called "The Eye of Harakti", which can destroy anything at midnight. With it, Marmagora tries to destroy a truck belonging to Hiram "Big" Bucks and carrying a supply of gold bars.
12"Where the Heart Is"Marmagora and Baron von SkelterBen TurnerKeith Smith30 November 1995 (30 November 1995)B212658
While on a skiing holiday, Fantomcat starts feeling homesick and wants to return to his own time. However, Baron von Skelter, disguised as a Yeti, is hiding on the ski slopes wanting revenge on both Fantomcat and Marmagora. After defeating Baron von Skelter again, Fantomcat decides that his true home is with his friends in the 21st century.
13"The Web of Doom"MarmagoraBen TurnerRoger Stennett7 December 1995 (7 December 1995)B212656
Marmagora is at large once again, covering the city with a giant web. Fantomcat and MacDuff have to navigate their way across the city to shut down the machine generating it, whilst fighting Marmagora's spiderbots which are robbing the city of its money at the same time, but have they been lured into a trap?

Series 2

Episode No. Title Villains Directed by Written by Original airdate Prod. Code
1"Once Upon a Time Machine"Duke BrumlockAndy RoperRoger Stennett23 October 1996 (23 October 1996)[1]DB213243
Fantomcat and MacDuff have an accident with the PAWS Virtual Reality Programme at the Metrocity Science Museum. They must complete a quest, replaying an event from Jungfrau Night 1666 in order to get home. But first, Fantomcat needs to think back 334 years and remember what he did.
2"The Manhattan Incident"Dr. ButyrikAndy RoperRoger Stennett30 October 1996 (30 October 1996)[2]DB213244
Ginger, the chief of the New York Police Department (and Tabs' sister), enlists Tabs' help in catching Dr. Butyrik, a scientist with a literal Jekyll and Hyde complex attempting to destroy Manhattan with a Protogen 6 powered rocket bomb.
NOTE: Lindbergh is absent in this episode.
3"Cinema Purradiso"Marmagora and Don RatsoAndy RoperLorelei King6 November 1996 (6 November 1996)[3]DB213245
Don Ratso and his gang of rats try and bribe Signor Moustriani, the owner of the Cinema Purradiso, into selling the cinema to them, as there's a nice supply of oil right underneath the cinema. Fantomcat battles them and has them arrested.
4"MacFlash! Warrior of the Skies"MarmagoraAndy RoperJimmy Hibbert13 November 1996 (13 November 1996)[4]DB213246
Tired of being called 'little one' and being talked down to, MacDuff runs away from the Wildcat Detective Agency, starting up his own detective service called the MacDuff Detective Agency. But with no calls coming in, he has his brother Bunty build him an indestructible bionic suit of armour with a nuclear powered thruster pack, and as a result, he begins performing good deeds as MacFlash, the Warrior of the Skies. Meanwhile, Marmagora is planning to unleash her army of neutroneum powered spider tanks on Metrocity, so she plans to brainwash MacFlash to make him her slave, not realising that he is MacDuff.
5"Tomb of the Fantoms"Salamander and NemesisAndy RoperJimmy Hibbert20 November 1996 (20 November 1996)[5]DB213247
While pursuing the criminal Salamander, Fantomcat suffers a radiation accident and believes that he is dying, and the others help him back to Castle Fantom, where he is confronted by the ghosts of his generations of dead relatives who judge upon whether he deserves to live or not. After being told how he defeated the Nemesis robot, his relatives decide that he is, and that in order to live again he must win a battle against Nemesis. Fantomcat calls upon MacDuff, who will fight Nemesis for him.
6"Revenge of the Monitor"The MonitorAndy RoperPeter Richard Reeves27 November 1996 (27 November 1996)[6]DB213248
Fantomcat and his friends visit the Stella View Hotel, a hotel in space, but they discover that the Monitor and his henchman Lurk are back, having escaped death and found Fantomcat's current location. This time, they plan to destroy the Earth with a giant laser unless Fantomcat surrenders to them. Fortunately, Fantomcat has a plan involving giant mirrors and a moonbase.
7"The Treasure of the Belerophon"Marmagora and The Crab TwinsAndy RoperStefan Redfern4 December 1996 (4 December 1996)DB213249
The team are taken for a trip in a submarine called the Leviathan by Hiram "Big" Bucks, who is looking for a hidden million-dollar treasure in the SS Belerophone, a cruise ship that now lies in an underwater volcano. However, Vile and the Crab Twins hijack the sub, planning to steal the treasure for Marmagora.
8"The Lonely Hearts Club"Baron von SkelterAndy RoperJimmy Hibbert11 December 1996 (11 December 1996)[7]DB213250
MacDuff starts going out with Leandra Bagshot, a female Scouse mouse who responded to his Lonely Hearts ad in the Metro News. Meanwhile, Tabs gets a call from a Mr. Fabio Valente, to locate a missing painting. Lured to Valente's mansion with him, it turns out to be a trap by Baron von Skelter to kidnap her and imprison her in a painting. Fantomcat hears about this, and comes to her rescue - but has he been lured into a trap as well?
9"The Curse of Evillia"Marmagora and Evillia SpiritusAndy RoperStefan Redfern18 December 1996 (18 December 1996)[8]DB213253
Marmagora has hired the evil witch Evillia Spiritus, who plans to eradicate any trace of the family Fantom from the face of the Earth. After Fantomcat is informed about this by the ghost of his father, it's now up to him and the Wildcat Detective Agency to find Evillia's lair up on the moors, and put a stop to her fiendish plot - all the while avoiding the various tricks and traps Evillia has set for them.
10"MacDuff, Private Eye"The Spectre, Blaine Bunion and NemesisAndy RoperJimmy HibbertTBADB213252
After an ordeal with a villain known as The Spectre, the actress Martika Mazurka calls on the Wildcat Detective Agency to spy on her manager. She suspects that her manager, Blaine Bunion, stole her necklace that contains an amulet, which supposedly gives magical powers to its owner. However, none of the Detective Team are willing to take up the case, except for MacDuff, who sees this as an opportunity to become the greatest detective in Metrocity. But when Mazurka's manager tests the amulet by citing the incantation to summon Nemesis, it's now down to MacDuff to save Metrocity from certain destruction.
11"The Mirror Monster"Marmagora, Deadeye and The Mirror MonsterAndy RoperRoger StennettTBADB213251
Marmagora creates the Mirror Monster, a tiny grey blob which can morph into any living being it chooses. The monster morphs into Fantomcat, confusing the team. The monster plans to gain their trust in order to kill the real Fantomcat and afterwards, the team. And to make matters worse, Marmagora also has a killer robot named Deadeye at the ready.
12"The Incredible Shrinking Fantomcat"Castle Fantom SpidersAndy RoperPeter Richard ReevesTBADB213254
MacDuff is once again angry about his height after winning the Small is Beautiful Award, so he contacts his brother Bunty. He begs him to construct a machine that makes him taller. After initial hesitation, Bunty fulfills his brother's wish. At the demonstration, the new machine does not work as expected, and shrinks MacDuff, Fantomcat and Tabs. The three of them must now try to get Bunty's attention and return them to normal size - that is, if they can survive the castle's cellar...
13"One Good Deed"The MinotaurAndy RoperRoger StennettTBADB213255
Eustace Prim of the Metrocity Council wants to demolish Castle Fantom and build a rubbish dump and burger bar there. Apparently, Fantomcat's family stopped paying taxes for three hundred years, so now the city is the owner of the castle. Fantomcat defends his possessions, and remembers that he has a deed which allows him ownership of the castle. But the deed has been lost, and if it's not found within 11 hours, the castle will be razed to the ground - and that requires a journey into the depths of the castle, where the dreaded Minotaur lurks.

Home media

On 13 January 2003 in the United Kingdom, Cinema Club and Granada Media released 2 DVDs and videos of Fantomcat, one with Episodes 1 and 2, and one with Episodes 3 and 4.

Previously, in 1996, Telstar Home Entertainment released 3 videos as part of their Star Kids range.

VHS video title Year of release Episodes
Fantomcat: Volume 1 (TVE 3006) 13 September 1996 The Hero Returns, The Preying Mantis
Fantomcat: Volume 2 (TVE 3008) 15 November 1996 The Swords of the Scorpion, The Aeroship
Fantomcat: Volume 3 (TVE 3010) 21 May 1997 The Asteroid Adventure, The Mind Leech, Lady Gobbling's Gems

So far, the rest of the first series and the second series have not been officially released in the United Kingdom, but bootleg copies of the first and second series exist, and can be requested from ITV Viewer Requests. As of January 2022, both series were made available for streaming on BritBox.

In Serbia, Beokolp released 2 DVDs of Fantomcat, one with Episodes 14, 15, 16 and 10, and one with Episodes 5, 6, 7 and 22.

See also

References

  1. ^ TELEVISION, The Daily Telegraph, 23 October 1996 (pg.45); "time-travelling" is mentioned in the description
  2. ^ Television Post: Wednesday TV, Nottingham Evening Post, 26 October 1996 (pg.10)
  3. ^ Television Post: Wednesday TV, Nottingham Evening Post, 2 November 1996 (pg.10)
  4. ^ Television and radio, Nottingham Evening Post, 13 November 1996 (pg.30)
  5. ^ Wednesday's TV, Perthshire Advertiser, 19 November 1996 (pg.25); misnamed "Tomb of the Phantoms"
  6. ^ Television and radio, Nottingham Evening Post, 27 November 1996 (pg.36); misnamed "Return of the Monitor"
  7. ^ Wednesday's TV, Perthshire Advertiser, 10 December 1996 (pg.27)
  8. ^ Television and radio, Nottingham Evening Post, 18 December 1996 (pg.30)