The Forgotten Characters
|Punch and Judy characters:||Punch - Judy - The Baby - The Clown - The Constable - The Hangman - The Devil - The Crocodile - The Doctor - The Forgotten Characters|
With no set story and more of an adjustable framework, Punch and Judy shows have a huge cast of characters for each individual Professor to draw from.
As time passes, some of these characters who were originally vital parts of the show will fall out of favour or political relevance, some like The Beadle will evolve into modern versions like The Constable, and others will stop appearing in shows altogether (of course this isn't a definitive statement, as the sheer variety of shows will mean some Professors will continue with characters that next to no-one uses.)
Some old favourites
For the sake of clarity, here is a short list of characters who at one point or another were popular additions to the show.
- Toby the Dog:
- Originally an actual live dog, but sometimes a puppet. Toby would largely be a novelty to attract punters but some Professors would train their dogs to bark on cue or take part by biting Punch on the nose. One Professor supposedly trained his dog to go around the audience with a basket in his mouth to play the role of the Bottler! (The person who collects donations from the audience to pay for the show)
- Hector the Horse:
- More of a stick figure hobbyhorse than an actual puppet, Hector was mostly used for Punch to briefly ride on and then fall off which lead to a scene with The Doctor
- Mr Scaramouche:
- The owner of Toby the Dog, he would get into an argument with Punch about ownership of the dog, which would lead to Punch knocking his head off. This was done by giving the puppet an extending neck so his head could go shooting upwards. Some shows would have a character called The Courtier who would have the same neck gimmick.
- Pretty Polly:
- A pretty girl who will either be Punch's Mistress or just an attractive young woman to test/highlight any guilt that Punch feels over Judy's death. Would frequently dance.
- The Ghost:
- Judy returns as a ghost to haunt Punch for his crimes. The Ghost was frequently used for some audience participation, with Punch not seeing the ghost sneaking up behind him, and people trying to warn him. Would tend to cause Punch to faint in fright which would lead to a scene with The Doctor
- The Foreigner:
- A varying character who has largely fallen out of favour to a far greater degree than any of the others. He had at various times been "The Negro", "The Jew", and "The Chinaman", and humour about his character was largely based simply on his being foreign, thus explaining why he is no longer used.
- Topical Figures:
- Many shows would include a topical figure in them but this choice would obviously depend on who was famous at the time: Charlie Chaplin (for instance) would have been very popular in the early C20th, but wouldn't have much relevance to a modern audience.
- The Boxers:
- Largely existed for additional slapstick.