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Danger Mouse (1981 TV series) facts for kids

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Danger Mouse
DangerMouseTVtitle.jpg
Genre
Created by
Voices of
Narrated by David Jason
Opening theme "Danger Mouse"
by Mike Harding
Ending theme "Danger Mouse"
by Mike Harding
Composer(s) Mike Harding
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 10
No. of episodes 89 (list of episodes)
Production
Running time 5-22 minutes
Production company(s) Cosgrove Hall Films
Thames Television
Release
Original network ITV
Picture format 4:3 576i
Original release 28 September 1981 (1981-09-28) – 19 March 1992 (1992-03-19)
Chronology
Related shows

Danger Mouse is a British animated television series produced by Cosgrove Hall Films for Thames Television. It features the eponymous Danger Mouse who worked as a secret agent and is a parody of British spy fiction, particularly the Danger Man series and James Bond. It originally ran from 28 September 1981 to 19 March 1992 on the ITV network.

The series spawned a spin-off show, Count Duckula, which aired between 1988 and 1993, and an updated series, under the same name, began airing in September 2015 on CBBC.

Characters

Main

Danger-mouse-fair-use
Danger Mouse, as seen in the title sequence.
DM3 3
Penfold in
"The Odd Ball Runaround".
  • Danger Mouse (voiced by David Jason) is often called the world's greatest secret agent—so secret, in fact, that his codename has a codename. He speaks 34 languages fluently, including some extraterrestrial ones.[episode needed] His skills are of a wide variety, including the ability to shatter metal with his voice,[episode needed] perform military style push-ups on his index finger, and reach a 7th level of meditation.[episode needed] He is also a practitioner of the ancient martial art of Kung Moggy.[episode needed] His catchphrases include "Good grief" when he becomes upset or shocked, "Penfold, shush" when his assistant makes a foolish remark. He was originally going to be brown; however, the creators thought that he and Penfold needed to be different colors.
Brian Cosgrove described Jason's portrayal as "His voice had the perfect mix of forcefulness, humour and gentleness. He was totally committed to doing voiceovers for silly cartoons, which warmed my heart, and we became great friends." Jason said "I wanted to make him sound believable. We decided he would be softly spoken, very British, very heroic, but also a bit of a coward. He’d save the world, but he’d also run for it!"
  • Ernest Penfold (voiced by Terry Scott) is a timid, bespectacled hamster, and Danger Mouse's reluctant assistant and sidekick. He is often mistaken for a mole; however, Brian Cosgrove has stated Penfold is supposed to be a hamster. Penfold stands just over half the height of Danger Mouse, and always wears thick round glasses and a crumpled blue suit with a white shirt and a yellow and black striped tie. In the first episode, he is codenamed the Jigsaw "because when he is faced with a problem, he goes to pieces."
Brian Cosgrove came up with Penfold's character design when he was waiting for a meeting with Thames Television, and had drawn up "this little fellow with heavy glasses and a baggy suit" and then realized he had drawn his brother Denis, who worked for the Sunday Express and "who was bald with heavy black glasses".
  • Colonel K (voiced by Edward Kelsey): Danger Mouse's boss; often mistaken for a walrus, it was revealed in an issue of Look-in magazine that he is, in fact, a chinchilla. He previously worked for Special Branch, where he was known as Special K.[episode needed] He is a champion piano-thrower, decorated judo expert, the first to climb Mount Everest on a pogo stick, was once an Eskimo, took up tap-dancing, is a former kleptomaniac, and cheats at croquet.[episode needed] During the last two seasons, he became more absent-minded, tending to frustrate both DM and Penfold with his tendency to ramble nonsense.[episode needed] In the episode "Four Heads are better than Two", he botches the usage of the phrase "over and out" multiple times.
  • Baron Silas Greenback (voiced by Edward Kelsey): The recurring villain and Danger Mouse's archenemy; a toad with a wheezy voice, although, sometimes, he was referred to as a frog.[episode needed] Known as Baron Greenteeth in the unbroadcast pilot episode. Commonly known as the "Terrible Toad". In America, "greenback" is slang for dollar bill in many regions, adding to the sense of his commercial greed. Allegedly, he turned to a life of crime as a schoolboy when other children stole his bicycle and let all the air out of its tires[episode needed]
  • Stiletto (voiced by Brian Trueman): Greenback's henchman; a crow. He always called Greenback "Barone", Italian for "Baron". In the original British version, he speaks with an Italian accent; this was changed to a Cockney accent for the U.S. distribution to avoid offending Italian-Americans. His last name is Mafiosa.
  • Nero (sounds provided by David Jason): Greenback's pet. A fluffy white caterpillar (equivalent to the stereotypical white cat frequently associated with arch villains, particularly Ernst Stavro Blofeld). He is a non-speaking character, although his noises and laugh are supplied by David Jason's voice sped up. Readily understood by Greenback and, less frequently, by Stiletto. He does not have any superpowers, except In the season 5 episode "Nero Power", where he temporarily exhibits the ability of telekinesis. In the special features of Danger Mouse cartoons, audiences were informed that Nero is actually the mastermind of Greenback's schemes.[episode needed]
  • The Narrator (voiced by David Jason): The unseen narrator, who occasionally interacts with the characters, sometimes to the point of halting the plot for one reason or another. In a series 6 episode, he accidentally sends Danger Mouse and Penfold back in time with his broken mike. He often voices his disdain for the show and his job towards the end of the episode and through part of the closing credits. His name is Isambard Sinclair.

Supporting

  • Professor Heinrich Von Squawkencluck is an inventor mole, first appearing in the series where he was engaged in hormone experiments to grow chickens to enormous sizes. He invented the Mark III, Danger Mouse's flying car, and the Space Hopper, his personal spacecraft. He speaks in a broken German accent. Penfold is naturally leery of the professor, as he often winds up on the wrong side of his experiments.
  • Flying Officer Buggles Pigeon: Another of Colonel K's agents who came to the aid of Danger Mouse and Penfold in the episode, "Chicken Run," and appeared in several episodes afterward.
  • Agent 57: A master of disguise, appearing initially as an earthworm. Agent 57 has disguised himself so often that he forgot his original appearance. In the series 6 episode, "The Spy Who Stayed In with a Cold", he gained the ability to change shape to resemble any character or animal whenever he sneezed, but when he shows Danger Mouse his original form, Danger Mouse is horrified.
  • Leatherhead : Greenback's other crow henchman. Even less intelligent than Stiletto, he appeared in several of the early episodes, where he spent most of his time reading comic books.
  • Count Duckula (voiced by David Jason): A fame-obsessed vampire duck who wants to appear in television. However, his utter lack of anything approaching talent makes his attempts to "entertain" rather terrifying (he has been known to use his "act" as a torture device). This resulted in a spin-off series, titled Count Duckula, starring the Count himself. The two versions of the character differ, however; the character featured in Danger Mouse is not a vegetarian, makes far greater use of his vampiric magic, and has an accent consisting of a lisp and a stutter, as well as occasional stuttering and duck-like squawks and quacks.
  • J. J. Quark: a space alien who recurs in series 6. He claims possession of Earth based on a cosmic charter granted to his great-great-great-great grandfather. He has a robot assistant named Grovell, who always grovels whenever his name is mentioned.
  • Doctor Augustus P. Crumhorn III: A mad scientist wolf, he recurred as Danger Mouse's adversary less frequently than Baron Greenback. In one episode, he attempted to undermine Danger Mouse by metamorphosing into a Shirley Temple lookalike. In only one episode, "Penfold Transformed", as opposed to his stage name "Augustus P. Crumhorn III", he lists his full name as, "Aloisius Julian Philibert Elphinstone Eugene Dionysis Barry Manilow Crumhorn", omitting both Augustus and the III. Crumhorn and Greenback were at odds; once Crumhorn kidnapped Penfold and Penfold managed to escape simply because the two villains were too busy quarreling to notice his absence.

Production

BAFTA Films

A listing of British Academy Film Awards.

Year Nominated work Award Result
1984 (37th) Danger Mouse series 4 Best Short Animation Nominated
1985 (38th) Danger Mouse series 5 Best Short Animation Nominated
1986 (39th) Danger Mouse series 6 Best Short Animation Nominated
1987 (40th) Danger Mouse series 7 Best Short Animation Film Nominated

BAFTA TV

A listing of British Academy Television Awards.

Year Nominated work Award Result
1983 Danger Mouse series 2 or 3 Children's Programme - Entertainment / Drama Nominated
1984 Danger Mouse series 4 Children's Programme - Entertainment / Drama Nominated
1984 Danger Mouse series 4 Short Animation Nominated
1985 Danger Mouse series 5 Short Animation Nominated
1986 Danger Mouse series 6 Children's Programme - Entertainment / Drama Nominated
1986 Danger Mouse series 6 Short Animation Nominated
1987 Danger Mouse series 7 Short Animation Nominated

Other awards

In 2012, Brian Cosgrove received a Special Award from the British Academy Children's Awards.

In other media

Comics

A long-running comic strip adaptation, written by Angus P. Allan and illustrated by Arthur Ranson, ran in Look-in magazine and was syndicated in various other magazines. Ranson also provided some backdrops for the show. Allan and Ranson's work was highly appreciated by Cosgrove Hall, and the pair were awarded an "Oh Goodness!, Oh Crikey!" award in appreciation of their services. Some of Allan's stories were adapted for the show, although Allan's name was misspelled "Angus Allen". Artist Ranson later went on to illustrate Judge Anderson in the UK comic 2000 AD.

Video games

A series of video games based on the character also appeared. The first were Danger Mouse in Double Trouble and Danger Mouse in the Black Forest Chateau (both in 1984) followed by Danger Mouse in Making Whoopee! in 1985.

Two mobile games were published by ZED Worldwide; Danger Mouse: Quiz in 2010 and Danger Mouse in 2011.

Audiobooks

Some stories were also available as read-along cassettes with accompanying books. They were re-read by the cast for audio.

Merchandise

During its run, the show spawned a wide range of merchandise, including storybooks, hardback annuals, jigsaw puzzles, a Panini sticker album, View-Master reels, and of course, VHS releases. In the years since, products have continued to sell, often aimed at the now-adult audience which grew up with it, such as T-shirts, mugs, key rings, fridge magnets and posters. To coincide with the 25th anniversary, Cosgrove Hall also licensed rights to a number of companies to produce a range of new anniversary merchandise including Blues Clothing (women's and girls' underwear and sleepwear) and Concept 2 Creation (collectible figurines).

FremantleMedia launched a webshop run by Metrostar e-commerce where a wide variety of goods were for sale, including the CD Audio adaptation of two of the show's episodes using the original artists voices, released by Steve Deakin-Davies: The Ambition Company.

Other appearances

  • American musician & producer Danger Mouse chose his stage name as a reference the show, initially performing in a mouse costume.
  • In the 1989 film The BFG, which was also produced by Cosgrove-Hall, a Danger Mouse poster is shown above a boy's bed.
  • Victor and Hugo (1991): Appeared as himself in the episode titled "French Exchange".
  • South Park (2008): In the video, Danger Mouse is in Imaginationland.

Episodes

List of Danger Mouse episodes

DVD releases

Revival

It was reported in 2013 that the series was under consideration for a revival, and in June 2014 it was announced that a new series was being made for broadcast on CBBC in 2015. The new series is produced by Boulder Media for FremantleMedia Kids. It is directed by Robert Cullen with Brian Cosgrove, one of the original creators, acting as creative consultant. Alexander Armstrong and actor Kevin Eldon voice Danger Mouse and Penfold, respectively; Dave Lamb takes the role of the narrator, whilst Stephen Fry plays Colonel K and Ed Gaughan takes over as Baron Greenback. Armstrong's Pointless co-host Richard Osman appears in the series as Professor Strontium Jellyfishowitz. John Oliver voices the character Dr Augustus P Crumhorn III and Lena Headey voices the character Jeopardy Mouse, a character newly introduced into this series. This series will be aired on Netflix in the US. Kevin Eldon describes the animation style as 'much the same as the original'. The first episode aired on 28 September 2015.

Jazwares is the master toy partner, Penguin Books will publish a range of printed books, including story books, official guides, sticker books, novelty books, annuals and electronic titles and D.C. Thomson & Co. will publish a monthly magazine with comic strips, puzzles, fact files, poster and competitions.

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