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Andy Capp

Andy Capp is a long-running comic strip character created by Reg Smythe, seen in the London Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror since 1957. Originally a single-panel cartoon, it was later expanded to four panels.

Andy is the archetypal working class zero, a northern English layabout whose hobbies include pigeon racing, soccer (which always involves fights with the other players), betting on horses, getting drunk (often falling in the canal and/or arriving home late as a result), lying on the sofa and fighting with his long-suffering wife Florrie. Until the 1980s he was always seen with a cigarette dangling from his lip until it was deemed politically incorrect. Similarly, he no longer indulges in fisticuffs with Florrie because of concerns about the depiction of domestic violence, even though their fights were always drawn in a stylised fashion so as to avoid offense, and in any case Florrie always gave as good as she got. Andy's trademark cloth cap is always pulled down over his face, making him something of an unseen character. It is never clear how he can see where he's going.

Andy and Florrie are always on the verge of poverty. Andy is unemployed and lacks motivation, rent on the house and contents is constantly in arrears and the rent collector despairs of ever being paid. Their furniture has been repossessed on several occasions. Yet somehow they always manage to recover it, and Andy is always able to afford beer and betting.

In the late 1980s James Bolam played Andy Capp in a television adaptation made by Thames Television for ITV, adapted by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall. Despite its enjoyably stylised visuals the series was not a hit and only ran for one series.

Reg Smythe died June 13, 1998, since when the original strip has been continued in a very good pastiche of his style.\n