As time goes on it’s becoming harder to remember that Skoda was once a subject of ridicule in the UK.

With some justification, comedian Jasper Carrott devoted a significant amount of his career to making Skoda jokes which were repeated in pubs and school playgrounds across the land.

Skoda owners may have been offended, but they generally didn’t know much about cars and just wanted something cheap that would keep the rain off and was quicker than walking.

It was an odd period in Skoda history, because beforehand the company built high-quality family, sporting and luxury cars, and it has returned to doing more or less the same now (apart from the luxury bit, though in absolute terms modern Skodas are far more comfortable than anything built in the old days).

It’s very unusual for a car manufacturer to have fallen from grace so badly and recovered so well. Here we explain the curious fall and rise of Skoda.