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Andy Capp's 60th birthday.

INFAMOUS North East cartoon strip character Andy Capp turns 60 and will be commemorated with a special concert in his home town.

This year is both the 60th anniversary of the first publication of Andy Capp in the Northern edition of the Daily Mirror, as well as what would have been Hartlepool-born creator Reg Smythe's 100th birthday.

The concert will be attended by two of the current team who produce the strip and who will be in town as part of a celebratory exhibition.

So what of Andy Capp? He began life 60 years ago as a single-panel cartoon in the Mirror but was later expanded to four panels.

His name is a play on the word "handicap", which Andy is to most of the other characters.

His long-suffering wife Florence Capp is known as Flo.

Andy's hobbies include pigeon racing, snooker, football, betting, getting drunk, fishing, womanising, lying on the sofa, and fighting with Flo.

His comic fisticuffs with Flo were dropped because of concerns about the depiction of domestic violence, though Flo always gave as good as she got.

Meanwhile, until the 1980s, he was always seen with a cigarette dangling from his lip.

Despite its North East origins, the comic strip has been syndicated in 50 countries.

In one episode of The Simpsons, Homer is seen reading Andy Capp in the newspaper. In another he lies on the couch saying: "That Andy Capp was on to something."

And back in 1988, Likely Lads star James Bolam played Andy Capp in a one-series television sitcom.

The Andy Capp 60th Birthday Concert takes place at Hartlepool, Park Inn today featuring town bands The White Negroes and The Sunlit Shakers.

The free gig coincides with the launch of an exhibition in the County Durham town celebrating the life of Smythe and 60 years of his much-loved creation.

Two of the team currently producing the Andy Capp strip, Lawrence Goldsmith and Sean Garnett, will be delivering a talk as part of the exhibition.

For more information contact The Park Inn on (01429) 233126.

Meanwhile, a free exhibition - '60 years of Andy Capp' - opens today at the Museum of Hartlepool and will tell the story of Smythe, who was born in Hartlepool in 1917, his relationship with the town, and the evolution of Andy Capp over its 60 year history.

The exhibition forms part of Cleveland College of Art and Design's 'Festival of Illustration' and will also explore Smythe's drawing style and will feature a number of original cartoons from across the decades.

CAPTION(S):

Andy Capp by Reg Smythe

James Bolam played a TV version of Andy Capp in 1988

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 3, 2017
Words:439
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