Andy Capp was created by Hartlepool-born cartoonist Reg Smythe and first appeared in the Daily Mirror newspaper on Monday 5th August 1957.
Originally it was a single frame cartoon, but this was later expanded to four frames.
On the Headland at Hartlepool, you can find a statue of the cartoon character in a classic Andy Capp pose. Leaning up against a bar with a pint glass in hand. Early versions of the cartoons would also depict him with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth but by 1983 Andy had ‘given up’ the baccy and stopped smoking. (Perhaps a sign of political correctness of the day?)
The statue itself was unveiled in 2007, fifty years after the cartoon first appeared and shows the enduring nature of the character.
The shiftless, work-shy, Andy Capp has a long-suffering wife called Florrie and is said to have been dreamt up by Smythe during a seven hour journey from his mother’s home in Hartlepool to London.
Capp entered the digital world in 1987 when a computer game using his name was released. Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum users could live the life of the cartoon character and had to endlessly try and borrow money to replenish alcoholic drinks whilst at the same time avoiding the wrath of Florrie or being captured by the Police.
In the following year, 1988, he even got his own TV show. Despite having the acting talents of James Bolam (better known as one half of the Likely Lads) playing the title role, the show was not well received. It lasted only a single season and whilst it is available to purchase on DVD, it is not thought to have been repeated on TV.
Following the death of his creator in 1998, Capp lives on in the cartoon, both in the Mirror and on Facebook.