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Series / Swashbuckle

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The pirate cast of the show

A British pirate-themed children's gameshow on the CBeebies channel, in which jewels have been stolen from the host, Gem, by the villainous Captain Sinker and her two henchmen, Cook (a chef) and Line. A team of four child contestants play games against them to win the jewels back culminating in a search through a maze shaped like a ship. There's also a bit more plot than most gameshows with the pirate crew performing storyline sketches (or songs) in between the rounds.

Should the team win, Gem gives them each a souvenir jewel to take home and one of the bad guys is forced to walk the plank into a gunge tank. If the team loses, the jewels are locked away and Sinker comes over to gloat only to get her comeuppance in the end of the episode's storyline either through being Hoist by Her Own Petard or by Cook and Line's stupidity.


Particularly notable for its visually impressive set and catchy theme tune.


  • And This Ones For: In a kind way, as Gem offers the gems out to the children, she always keeps the blue gem.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The name of the ship is the Scarlet Squid.
  • The Announcer: Officially, Squawk the parrot. Actually, his voice actor.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Cook and Line are..., erm..., well, they have a lot of Ho Yay moments and are both exceedingly camp and that's all we know.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • Even though Cook and Line complain constantly about her, they really do care about Captain Sinker, as they are constantly trying to cheer her up when she is in a bad mood (although they usually fail).
    • In "Sinker's Holiday," before Captain Sinker leaves to go on her holiday, she tells Cook and Line that she will miss them, despite all of the aggravation they've caused her. Later on, she even offers to let the two be her crew on her new ship, but they refuse to take up the offer because they like playing games with the Swashbucklers too much and have grown attached to Captain Captain.
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    • In "Pirate School," Cook draws a picture of Captain Sinker and claims that she is pretty. Line agrees with this.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Despite their stupidity, Cook and Line are exceptionally good at making trouble, especially for Captain Sinker, to the point where they're better at it than her. The most notable example is in the episode "Jolly Jokers" where after the two prank her multiple times, she attempts to get them back by throwing a bucket of slop on them. Cue the duo sneaking up behind Sinker (despite just being locked in a room) and scaring her into pouring the slop on herself.
  • But Not Too Evil: The antagonists are referred to only as "naughty pirates" and don't really do anything bad except steal Gem's jewels, which they're giving her a chance to win back, get in the contestant's way during the games and lightly mock Gem and the kids.
  • Camera Abuse: Someone plummeting into the gunk tank occasionally results in CGI gunge splattering the camera lens.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Gem has several of them:
      • "Let's hear ya then, ma hearties!"
      • "So Captain Sinker/Captain, you know the rule: (with the audience) Send down a jewel!"
      • "Squawk, you've got the bird's eye view, over to you!"
      • "Swashbuckle cheer: ah-har!"
    • When addressing Captain Sinker, Cook and Line will often say "Yes Captain Sinker, sir! I mean, ma'am!" in some form or another.
      • This was later altered when Captain Captain debuted on the show and Cook and Line's new catchphrase for almost every episode was "Yes Captain Chief Admiral Pirate Tremendous and Incredibly Nasty (take breath) the Third!" To which Captain Captain would tell them to call her 'Captain Captain' for short. Cook and Line would then say "Yes Captain Captain For Short!"
    • Captain Captain is known for constantly reminding the audience that she is the writer of the official pirate handbook.
  • Covered in Gunge: The bad guys walking the plank into the gunk tank if the team wins. Although in this case, the gunge seen in the tank is actually CGI that's added in post and what they do get covered in looks different. Also sometimes happens to them in the story scenes. Has never happened to Gem or the kids, though.
  • Counting to Potato: Cook and Line have shown from time and time again that they can't count properly.
  • Crossover: "CBeebies Pirate Party" has Robert the Robot (Justin's House), Mr Bloom (Mr Bloom's Nursery), Nina (Nina and the Neurons) and Topsy and Tim, characters from other CBeebies shows, invited aboard the ship for a special "pirate party". They spectate during the minigames.
  • The Ditz: Both Cook and Line (especially Line).
  • Dressed to Plunder: Bandanas, tricorn hats, sashes and stripy trousers are all in evidence.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: Captain Sinker, Captain Captain and Captain Heyho.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: The jewels are genuinely sparkly under bright lights anyway but they also give off additional CGI sparkles when they're placed in the treasure chest.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Sung by Gem.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Two women, Gem and Captain Sinker (later Captain Captain) and two men, Cook and Line. The teams also usually (though not always) consist of two boys and two girls.
  • Golden Snitch: The third round, Shipwreck Rummage is the only one the kids have to win in order to win the whole game. The first two rounds enable teams to win up to two jewels and the third enables them to collect the ones they haven't won, whether it's three, four or all five. It's a timed round and obviously it's easier to collect three jewels against the clock than five but collecting five is still completely possible.
  • "I Am" Song: Sinker's song about how she went to sea and become a pirate captain rather than work in her parents' shop and Line's The Line Song, all about himself.
  • List Song: Cook's rap, 21 Things You Can Do With Seaweed.
  • Manchild: Cook and Line, definitely.
  • No Fourth Wall: Cook, Line and Captain Sinker frequently talk to the camera in the cabin scenes which are storyline rather than gameshow.
  • Not So Above It All: Both Captain Sinker and Captain Captain act unimpressed whenever Cook and Line start singing but always end up enthusiastically joining in.
  • Only Sane Man: Gem is the only main character who does not (usually) act over-the-top and silly.
  • Pirate Girl: Gem is a cute version, Captain Sinker is a mean version.
  • Pirate Parrot: Named Squawk and works as The Announcer, mostly only in voiceover as it's hard to get a parrot to sync its beak movements with its voice actor.
  • Punny Name: The trio of Cook, Line and Captain Sinker. Plus, the host is called Gemma "Gem" Hunt and the contestants are on a Hunt for Gems. Though, as it's her real name, that's probably just a lucky coincidence.
  • Repetitive Name: Captain Captain, Sinker's stand-in. Presumably, they ran out of puns.
  • Scenery Porn: For a low-budget gameshow aimed at young kids, the set is pretty impressive, consisting of an obstacle course surrounded by the frame of a crashed and broken ship with a gorgeous blue tropical sky backdrop, palm trees, canons and an audience seating area shaped like rocks.
  • Simpleton Voice: Both Cook and Line.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Sinker is frequently on the receiving end of Covered in Gunge.
  • Sleep Cute: Occasionally done by Cook and Line, among other Ho Yay moments.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Funhouse and possibly also Gladiators
  • This Is My Side: Cook and Line splitting the cabin in half during an argument.
  • Those Two Guys: Cook and Line, although the smallness of the cast gives them a larger role than most examples.
  • Walk the Plank: Into the gunge tank.