Andy Capp is a comic strip first produced in 1957 and created by Reg Smythe. It appeared in several British newspapers principally the Mirror Group and has been syndicated worldwide.
His appearance is known worldwide due to his distinctive flat cap and cigarette permanently attached to his bottom lip. The strip revolves around Andy's live in Hartlepool and his experiences whilst pigeon-racing, playing snooker, playing football (remarkably managing this without losing his cap), betting and of course getting drunk. He is lazy, socially inept, unskilled in fact he is your archetypal working class northern man.
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Andy is married to Florrie, or Flo for short, who is said to be his "handicap", hence the name of the series. They are permanently short of cash due to Andy's chronic unemployment and lack of get up and go. This means that Percy the rent collector is a regular character since their rent is always in arrears and on numerous occasions their furniture is repossessed. However as is the way with cartoons, Andy has more than nine lives and they always come out ok and Andy seems to constantly have enough cash for his favourite past-times of betting and drinking beer.
Andy and Flo's best friends are their neighbours Chalkie and Rube White. Chalkie is Andy's closest friend and is often seen sharing a pint with Andy. However, unlike Andy, Chalkie is employed and is slightly more tolerant of other people. Rube is Flo's closest confidante and are often depicted sharing mutual exasperation about their husbands.
Other regular characters include the Vicar who is constantly on at Andy for his sinful ways such as gambling and drinking. Jackie the barman is constantly having to put up with Andy's lack of money. Flo's mother is often heard about but never seen and is the butt of much of Andy's humour about her weight and miserableness.
Andy Capp in Popular Culture
The first British paperback reprints of the newspaper strip appeared in 1958 and now there are dozens of collections available.
There was briefly an Andy Capp mini TV Series featuring James Bolam from the Likely Lads as Andy that lasted just 6 episodes.
There is even an Andy Capp musical with music and lyrics by Alan Price (of the Animals) that was first produced in London in the early 80's.
In June 2007 a statue of Andy was unveiled in his home town of Hartlepool.
He has also bizarrely been adopted as the mascot for German Bundesliga team, FC Nuremburg's supporters club.
Reg Smythe wrote and drew both the daily and the Sunday editions of Andy Capp right up until his death om the 13th June 1998. The strip was still produced with his name attached to it for years until in November 2004 it was signed by Roger Mahoney and Roger Kettle.