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Captain Zeppos -- Series Two

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Copyright Notice:
The television programme Kapitein Zeppos is © VRT. Adventurer makes no attempt to assume or supercede copyright. Copyright remains with the copyright holders.

The entire written content of this website is © Alan Hayes and Patrick Van de Weghe and reproduction is forbidden without express permission.

This website is a non-profit making, academic reference and research work, written and compiled in private study and is classified under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 as "Fair Dealing".

Series Two Pages:


Episode Guide

Cast and Crew


Captain Zeppos -- Introduction

Considering the obvious success of the original Kapitein Zeppos serial, one could be forgiven for wondering why it was four years before a sequel was produced and transmitted. The answer is a little unclear, but it's worth bearing in mind that the BRT could only afford to produce just one 16-week youth series per year. Had the producers immediately set to work on another Zeppos serial, it would impact on the variety of the youth strand - undoubtedly one of its strengths. For whatever reason then, it was not until 1968 that a return visit to the Mill Cottage was attempted.

ClovisThis time, unlike the first series, which comprised one long story, the new series would be split in two, with each new adventure lasting eight weeks. These two serials were entitled De Eglantier (The Wild Rose) and Tweng (the name of a peace organisation). For the sake of convenience, here at Adventurer, these serials are consistently referred to as Series Two (De Eglantier) and Series Three (Tweng). Despite this, the two serials can also be viewed as one series, as they were produced directly after each other and shared the same production crew. They also ran for 16 consecutive weeks on broadcast.

As with the earlier Kapitein Zeppos series (1964), the stories were written by Lode de Groof and produced by Rik Van den Abbeele with realisation by Bert Struys. One notable change was that original series director, Senne Rouffaer, stepped aside from the behind-the-scenes role, replaced by Jef Demedts. The central cast were engaged once more to reprise their original roles - notably Senne Rouffaer as Captain Zeppos, Raymond Bossaerts as Ben, Cyriel Van Gent as Gust and Henriette Cabanier as Ben's grandmother. Additionally, Vera Veroft who played Ariane Despinal in the 1964 series, returned as the same character, now married to Zeppos. New additions to the cast were the villainous Clovis (Alex Cassiers), Hugo and Frank Brems (played respectively by Jackie Morel and Senne Rouffaer's son, Bruno) and the enigmatic Aunt Cara, portrayed by Cara Van Wersch. The latter would also go on to feature in Tweng.

The AmphicarThe series seemed to have undergone something of a stylistic metamorphosis in the four years off screen, with De Eglantier feeling a little quirkier than the original serial, influenced perhaps by the hugely successful British television series, The Avengers. Tweng would go further down this path, but more of that on the Series Three page. Whereas Belderbos featured straightforward villains and characters, those in De Eglantier were a little comic-strip, slightly bizarre. Likewise, the plot - involving a painting, "De Eglantier", that a group of unscrupulous strangers are plotting to steal - is somewhat more tongue-in-cheek and playful than its forebear. Additionally, Zeppos now has an amphibious car - an Amphicar - which is used to great effect, taking to the waters of Belgium's network of canals with Senne Rouffaer regularly at the wheel. The car would become an integral part of the public's memory of the series. In effect, it was to Captain Zeppos what the vintage green Bentley was to John Steed - inextricably linked with the character.

As with the first series, breathtaking location work continued to be central to the production, with the camera crew visiting Ghent (in Dutch: Gent), a vibrant town in Flanders that dates from medieval times. The scenes around Ben's new town apartment were shot in this area and in a sequence shot for Episode Four, Senne Rouffaer drove the Amphicar along the canal into the centre of the town.

Sadly, the second and third Kapitein Zeppos serials were never dubbed (or subtitled) into English, which for English-speaking fans is something of a shame. The first series had been successful in the UK and had inspired a translation of de Groof's novelisation. However, in the late 1960s, when these serials were made, the BBC were gearing up for colour transmissions on both its channels, so it's fair to suppose that the fact that Kapitein Zeppos was being made in black and white may well have counted against it. Additionally, the BBC's popular children's strand Tales From Europe (occasionally going under the banner of Tales From Overseas) was drawing to a close, finishing in May 1969, so the demand for such programming was on the decline at the BBC. Sadly, there were many British children who would have been delighted to catch up with the new adventures of the Captain, but it wasn't to be.

However, in Belgium, this was - quite rightly - of little consequence, with the serial playing to enthusiastic audiences. Again, Louis de Groof adapted his serial as a novel - and De Eglantier itself enjoyed reruns on the BRT (later VRT) in 1975, 1985 and 2004. The most recent transmission formed part of the VRT's 50th Anniversary celebrations.

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