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Fortycoats & Co. facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Fortycoats & Co.
Genre Children's drama series
Based on Wanderly Wagon
Written by Carolyn Swift
Country of origin Ireland
Original language(s) English
Production location(s) Ireland
Distributor RTÉ
Original network RTÉ One
Original release 7 January 1983 (1983-01-07)

Fortycoats & Co. was an Irish children's television drama series produced by RTÉ and broadcast on RTÉ One during the 1980s. The series was cancelled in the early 1990s.


The show featured the adventures of the title character Fortycoats (Fran Dempsey) - his catchphrase was "Be me forty coats and me fifty pockets" - and his companions Sofar Sogood (played by Conal Kearney), a prim goody two shoes character and Slightly Bonkers (played by Virginia Cole), a naive schoolgirl. They occupied the Flying Trick Shop (also known as the Flying Tuck Shop and the Flying Sweet Shop) and battled against the evil Whilomena, the Whirligig Witch (and her cat, Spooky) and the equally evil Pickarooney (who lived in a rubbish tip and kidnapped children).


Main cast

  • Fran Dempsey as Fortycoats
  • Virginia Cole as Slightly Bonkers
  • Conal Kearney as Sofar Sogood

Guest Cast

  • Laurie Morton as Whilomena, The Whirligig Witch
  • Des Nealon as The Pickarooney
  • Robert Carrickford as The Count
  • Noel McGee as Timothy Tumbledown
  • Maria McDermottroe as The Lilter
  • Derry Power as Tony the Tailor
  • Fiona MacGinty as Queen Roola Boola
  • Vincent Smith as Utterly Bonkers
  • Annie Kilmartin as Totally Bonkers
  • Barbara McNamara as The Princess
  • Gerry O'Brien as Sir Dashing the Bold

Voice actors


Origins of Fortycoats

The name Johnny Fortycoats first appears in Dublin folklore in the 1930s.[1] Although generally taken to be the nickname of a man called Patrick Marlow, it may perhaps have been applied to more than one person, including one of a couple of tramps who walked the coast of Dublin at the time of the television series. It was his habit to wear several coats, hence the nickname.

Wanderly Wagon

The show was a spin-off from Wanderly Wagon, in which Fortycoats was played by Bill Golding, who also played Rory. The in joke of the programme was that Fortycoats only ever visited in his flying sweetshop when Rory had gone off on some errand and Rory seemed to doubt Fortycoats existence because he never met him. When Goulding left the series, Fran Dempsey took over the heavily disguised role of Fortycoats but not that of Rory, who was written out. Eugene Lambert (creator of Wanderly Wagon) said he had no involvement with the spin-off and described it as "a rehash of our programme".