Danger Mouse (TV series)

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This article is about the 1981 television series. For the 2015 reboot television series, see Danger Mouse (2015 TV series)
Danger Mouse
Genre Children's, comedy, espionage
Created by Brian Cosgrove
Mark Hall
Voices of
Narrated by David Jason
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 10
No. of episodes 161 (list of episodes)
Running time 5–25 minutes
Production company(s) Cosgrove Hall
Distributor FremantleMedia Enterprises
Original channel CITV
Picture format 4:3
Original release 28 September 1981 (1981-09-28) – 19 March 1992 (1992-03-19)
Related shows
External links
Danger Mouse official site

Danger Mouse is a British children's animated television series produced by Cosgrove Hall Films for Thames Television. It featured the eponymous Danger Mouse who worked as a secret agent. The show was a parody of British spy fiction, particularly the Danger Man series and James Bond. The show originally ran in the United Kingdom from 28 September 1981 to 19 March 1992.

A reboot of the series, under the same name, premiered 28 September 2015.[1][2] on CBBC.


Danger Mouse was created by Mark Hall[3] and Brian Cosgrove for Cosgrove Hall Films (their production company). Danger Mouse was based on Patrick McGoohan's lead role in Danger Man.[4]

The series was intended to have a more serious tone as seen in the pilot episode but Mike Harding gave Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall the idea to make the series silly. Mike said: "The characters had got stuck in reality and were doing James Bond type things rooted in the solid real world. I argued that once you invented a Mouse Secret Agent then all of creation and a good chunk of not creation was his oyster. In other words we could be as barmy (crazy) as we wanted."[5]

By 1983, Danger Mouse viewing figures hit an all-time high of 21.59 million viewers.[6] On 4 June 1984, Danger Mouse was the first British cartoon to appear on Nickelodeon and become one of the earliest British cartoons to be in syndication in America,[7] as the series appealed to both pre-teens and adults with its quick-witted English humour.[8]

In the UK, Channel 4's 100 Greatest Kids' TV Shows, Danger Mouse came third, beaten only by The Muppet Show and The Simpsons.[9] The original Danger Mouse returned to terrestrial television after the BBC purchased episodes of the series to broadcast in its daytime schedules with its first broadcast on 12 February 2007.[10][11]

The series was expensive to make, sometimes needing 2,000 drawings[12] thus footage was reused while certain scenes were set in the North Pole or "in the dark" (i.e. black with eyeballs visible only, or, in Danger Mouse's case, simply one eyeball) as a cost-cutting measure. This time-and-money saving device was cheerfully admitted by both Brian Cosgrove, who conceived the character and the show, and Brian Trueman, who wrote almost all the scripts from the beginning.


It was reported in 2013 that the series was under consideration for a reboot,[13] and in June 2014 it was announced that a new series was being made for broadcast on CBBC in 2015.[14] The reboot is produced by Boulder Media for FremantleMedia Kids. It is directed by Robert Cullen.,[15] with Brian Cosgrove, one of the originally creators being a creative consultant.[16] Alexander Armstrong and the actor Kevin Eldon will be voicing Danger Mouse and Penfold, Dave Lamb will take the role of the narrator, whilst Stephen Fry and Ed Gaughan will take on the roles of Colonel K and Baron Greenback respectively.[17] Armstrong's Pointless co-host Richard Osman will also be appearing in the series as Professor Strontium Jellyfishowitz.[18] It was also announced that John Oliver would voice Dr Augustus P Crumhorn III and Lena Headey would voice new character Jeopardy Mouse.[1] It will also be aired on Netflix in the US.[19] According to Eldon, the animation style is 'much the same as the original'.[20]

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.[2]

The first episode aired on 28 September 2015.

Other adaptations[edit]

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 TV series. 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 television series, although Allan's name was misspelled "Angus Allen". Artist Ranson later went on to illustrate Judge Anderson in the UK comic 2000 AD.

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.[21][22][23]

A Two Mobile games like Danger Mouse: Quiz in 2010 and Danger Mouse for mobile same name in 2011 were published by ZED Worldwide.

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


During its run, the series spawned a wide range of merchandise, including story books, hardback annuals, jigsaw puzzles, a Panini sticker album, View-Master disks and of course, VHS releases. In the years since, Danger Mouse products have continued to sell, often aimed at the now-adult audience which grew up with it, such as T-shirts, mugs, keyrings, 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 Dangermouse episodes using the original artists voices, released by Steve Deakin-Davies: The Ambition Company.


Main characters[edit]

Danger Mouse, as seen in the title sequence.
  • Danger Mouse (voiced by David Jason): 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. He regularly balances himself on his index finger and bounces up and down on it (something that Remo Williams has also been known to do); he refers to this as "going into a 7th level Yoga-Hopping Trance". Referred to as the "White Wonder" and "Wretched Rodent" by Baron Greenback. Catchphrases: "Good grief!", "Penfold, shush!", "Blast!" He is also a practitioner of the ancient martial art of kung moggy. He was originally going to be brown; however, the creators thought that he and Penfold needed to be different colors.
Penfold in
"The Odd Ball Runaround".
  • Ernest Penfold (voiced by Terry Scott): Penfold is a timid, bespectacled hamster, and Danger Mouse's reluctant assistant. (Penfold is often mistaken for a mole; however, Brian Cosgrove has stated Penfold is supposed to be a hamster).[24] 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. He is the sidekick of Danger Mouse, whom he calls "Chief". He is a coward (codenamed "The Jigsaw," as he goes to pieces when a problem occurs), becoming terrified at any sign of danger. He appears in every episode accompanying Danger Mouse, and he is often captured or getting himself into other dangerous situations before needing to be rescued by Danger Mouse. His main catchphrase is "Crumbs, DM!" and others include "Ooh-eck!", "Ooh-Fiddle!" and "Ooh-Carrots!", all said when things go wrong. He also says "Coming, Chief!" when Danger Mouse wants to speak with him. Nevertheless, he appears to have some moral fibre, and is willing to resist Evil when things begin to go wrong—at least temporarily. He is a self-proclaimed expert in the martial art referred to in the cartoon as "kung moggy", though his skills do not do him much good in practice. He almost always makes ridiculous responses, whether by misunderstanding or mistaking as a joke, to which DM tells him to "shush".
  • 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. 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. During the last two seasons, he became more absent-minded, tending to frustrate both DM and Penfold with his tendency to ramble nonsense. Often when it is time for the Colonel to say "over and out", he forgets what the phrase is in a temporary case of memory loss. Other times, he becomes frustrated when Danger Mouse does not immediately respond, such as if he is in the middle of a yoga exercise.
  • 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. 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 tyres. In the 2015 revival series, the character was renamed Baron Silas von Greenback, and was given a German accent.
  • Stiletto Mafiosa (voiced by Brian Trueman): Greenback's henchman; a crow. He always called Greenback "Barone", Italian for "Baron". In the original English version, he spoke with an Italian accent; to avoid offending Italian-Americans, this was changed to a Cockney accent for U.S. distribution (i.e. Nickelodeon) and all references to his surname were removed as well, although, the Italian word "Barone" was retained. In several episodes, a short silence after his first name is said and the next word is quite obvious. The original voicing has been restored on all U.S. VHS and DVD releases and during its Cheez TV run. Today, modern audiences have no difficulties with accepting his accent, as it is compared to Chico Marx of The Marx Brothers but the censors were less trustworthy of the melting-pot audience of America then. Stiletto is accepted with good humour among the majority of the American audience. One critic[who?] noticed that to scorn Stiletto's accent "makes about as much ridiculous sense as saying Boris Badinoff's accent was insulting to Russians during the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show." Indeed, Danger Mouse is often compared to American audiences as the English version of "Rocky and Bullwinkle" for its gentle satire of politics and outrageous plots. Catchphrase: "Sì, Barone!", or "Roight, Baroni!" in the American dub.
  • Leatherhead (voiced by Terry Scott): Greenback's other crow henchman. Even less intelligent than Stiletto, he only appeared in several of the early episodes, where he spent most of his time reading comic books.
  • 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. At one time, he is shown to have a form of telekinesis after falling into one of Greenback's inventions, proving to be just as much a match to DM and Penfold as his master. However, he lost this power when he was drenched in water. In the special features of Danger Mouse cartoons, audiences were informed that Nero is actually the mastermind of Greenback's schemes.
  • Isambard Sinclair/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 one episode, he accidentally sends Danger Mouse back in time). He often voices his disdain for the show and his job, to the point that he refuses outright to narrate some episodes altogether. He usually comments at the end of every episode when the credits roll before the end theme tune begins. These comments - along with the episode breaks - have been cut from some releases, greatly reducing the size of this character's part.

Supporting heroic characters[edit]

  • Professor Heinrich Von Squawkencluck: (voiced by Edward Kelsey) Mad scientist/inventor/boffin. Inventor of the Mark III, Danger Mouse's flying car, and the Space Hopper, his personal spacecraft. A mole, despite his avian name (which comes from his first appearance on the show, in which, he was engaged in hormone experiments to grow chickens to enormous sizes). 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. He has been re-imagined in the new series as a chicken to better fit the character's last name and the accent became Scottish as well being changed to a female character.
  • Agent 57: Initially, a master of disguise, Agent 57 later gained the ability to alter his own molecular structure to transform into any appearance he wished. This ability went temporarily out of control in one episode when he contracted a cold, causing him to involuntarily change shape whenever he sneezed. His original appearance was never shown, and as a result of changing his appearance so many times, he eventually forgot what it was. In the episode where "Agent 57" had sneezing fits (The Spy Who Stayed in with a Cold), Danger Mouse asked him if he could transform himself into his original appearance; Agent 57 obliged, and Danger Mouse looked down at the floorboard of the Mark III and was horrified by the sight (unseen by the audience). After gathering himself from the shock, Danger Mouse asked Agent 57 to please transform into something heavier; Agent 57 transformed into a hippo, and the excess weight dropped the Mark III.
  • Flying Officer Buggles Pigeon (voiced by David Jason): 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. His name is a reference to James Bigglesworth.
  • B.L.E.E.P (Building Location and Emergency Expedition Platoon): This special squadron was called to assist Danger Mouse and Penfold to defeat Hannibal Hogartey when he and his elephants stole a stately mansion. Their leader is Mad Major Melvin, who is also an old friend of Danger Mouse.
  • Texas Jack McGraw McGraw (voiced by David Jason): This wild, loud-mouthed but loyal Texan helped Danger Mouse and Penfold when Baron Greenback stole all of the world's famous buildings, including the Statue of Liberty. His general appearance and attitude may be an homage to Yosemite Sam, the classic Warner Brothers cartoon character.

Supporting villains[edit]

  • Doctor Augustus P. Crumhorn III (voiced by Jimmy Hibbert): A mad scientist wolf, he recurred as Danger Mouse's adversary less frequently than Baron Greenback (in four episodes in total). 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 was rarely if ever seen among American audiences, who had to purchase the original version aired on ITV to experience his ridiculousness. 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.
  • Count Duckula (voiced by David Jason): A fame-obsessed vampire duck who wants to get his own show. 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 ongoing gag inspired a later Cosgrove Hall 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 (instead of the stereotypical Transylvanian accent), as well as occasional stuttering and duck-like squawks and quacks. This discrepancy is explained when his Danger Mouse incarnation falls to ashes and is resurrected during the Astronomical House of Asparagus. Instead of a libation of blood, his nanny puts tomato ketchup into the offering, creating the world's first vegetarian vampire duck. In the comic book series, the new incarnation makes instant friends with Danger Mouse, much to the chagrin of his butler, Igor. In England, Duckula has crisp vowels and an American-type accent.
  • J. J. Quark (voiced by Brian Trueman): A short, helmet-wearing, snout-nosed space alien who speaks with a Scottish accent. He plans to take over the world because his great-great-great-great-grandfather was given a deed of ownership of the planet Earth. He is aided by his robot flunkie Grovel, who does that very thing whenever his name is mentioned. Both of these characters only appeared in a few episodes. Colonel K refers to him as having 'a foreign accent' or talking in 'a foreign language'. His first appearance in the episode Quark! Quark! results in his plans being foiled by Penfold; after Quark runs into Penfold, Penfold scolds. "Why don't you look where you're going?!" Quark begins to scold Penfold but takes a look at him and goes into a laughing fit, resulting in him leaving the planet under the excuse of "needing to find a cure for the giggles.".
  • Grovel: (voiced by David Jason): J. J. Quark's robot who is programmed to obey Quark's every command. When Quark calls his name, however, the robot falls down flat on the ground face down and says, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry, master!", implying that he is obeying Quark's command to "grovel." In his first appearance, he is destroyed three times; first when he is wrestling Danger Mouse and Penfold inside a moose costume. The second time is when he comes up from the repair machine but gets hit by Quark's laser intended for Danger Mouse. The third is when he gets hit by Quark's laser gun again during Quark's laughing fit.
  • The Fangboner: A one-shot character. A hideous and sharp-toothed alien beast that the aforementioned Quark unleashed on Danger Mouse and Penfold in one episode. The creature relieved Penfold of some of his humbug candy and Danger Mouse uses what was left over to lure the monster back into Quark's spaceship, leaving it to ride back into space with him.
  • El Loco (voiced by Brian Trueman): A violent Mexican "Bandito" who packs a few pistols loaded with Mexican jumping beans. He is so named because he "went off the rails at the age of three". He only appeared in two episodes.

Other characters[edit]

  • Miss Boathook: Colonel Ks secretary, only referred to by the colonel and never seen (though sometimes heard). In some versions, the Colonel's secretary is referred to as Miss Prentergast or Miss Hackett.
  • Fifi: Fifi is an unseen character mentioned occasionally throughout the show, but Danger Mouse is reluctant to discuss her. According to Cosgrove Hall, she is Danger Mouse's ex-girlfriend.
  • Penfold's Aunt (voiced by Brian Trueman): Penfold's formidable aunt from Abergavenny, Wales, who sends him cookies in the episode, "The Statue of Liberty Caper". The fact that she is Welsh is stated by the piece of a witch's broom in "The Four Tasks of Danger Mouse". The broom is her fifth cousin. She has also appeared in series 10, episode 85 entitled, "Ants, Trees and... Whoops-a-Daisy!" and "The Statue of Liberty Caper". She denies that Danger Mouse is a real secret agent and says that he and Penfold are just playing silly pretend games.


DVD releases[edit]

Other Appearances[edit]

  • Cool Head (1991): in the Episode #1.2, Danger Mouse toy prominently on display in Rolf Harris' Cartoon Time set.
  • South Park (2008): In the Video, Danger Mouse is in Imaginationland.

Broadcast history[edit]

Danger Mouse has the initials 'DM' prominently emblazoned on his chest. This causes problems for those translating the series into other languages, where a literal translation of the words 'Danger' and 'Mouse' do not have those initials; the Scots Gaelic version, for example, calls the series (and the lead) Donnie Murdo (two given names unconnected either with mice or danger).[25] He was Dzielna Mysz (brave mouse) in Polish, Dundermusen (Thundermouse) in Swedish, and Dare Dare Motus in French,[26] "Dare Dare" being French slang for "as fast as possible". The Slovene translation omitted the DM initials entirely, however, dubbing Danger Mouse Hrabri mišek ('Brave Mouse').

In Australia, it was first broadcast on ABC TV, then moved to Network Ten in 1996. It is still best remembered as a Classic ABC program. It was also the first British cartoon to break into Cheez TV, being shown on the weekdays.



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  2. ^ a b "Jazwares, Penguin and DC Thomson sign with Danger Mouse". licensing.biz. 
  3. ^ "Danger Mouse co-creator Mark Hall dies". BBC News. 
  4. ^ "Club DM". danger-mouse.net. 
  5. ^ "Cosgrove Hall". mikeharding.co.uk. 
  6. ^ "Cosgrove Hall: 30 years". BBC Manchester (BBC). Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  7. ^ Georg Szalai. "'Danger Mouse' Remake: More Female Characters Planned". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  8. ^ Hannah, Warner (2004). Fascinating TV Facts (1 ed.). London: Ted Smart. p. 99. ISBN 0-7535-0919-9. 
  9. ^ "100 Greatest Kids' TV Shows". channel4.com. Archived from the original on 4 August 2002. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  10. ^ "Dangermouse (1981-1992)". British Film Institute.
  11. ^ "Dangermouse back on 25th birthday!". BBC News. 5 September 2006.
  12. ^ Roz Laws (23 July 2011). "Nostalgia: Danger Mouse (1981-1992)". birminghammail. 
  13. ^ "'Danger Mouse' reboot considered after CITV Old Skool weekend success". Digital Spy. 12 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "Danger Mouse to return to TV screens". BBC News. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  15. ^ Koch, Dave (18 June 2014). "Three New Animated Series, Reboots All". Big Cartoon News. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  16. ^ "BBC - Danger Mouse back on TV as new series announced for CBBC - Media Centre". bbc.co.uk. 
  17. ^ "Danger Mouse to be voiced by Alexander Armstrong". 
  18. ^ "Stephen Fry and Richard Osman join cast of CBBC's Danger Mouse". Prolific North. 
  19. ^ Jacob Kastrenakes. "Netflix picks up Inspector Gadget and Danger Mouse reboots". The Verge. Vox Media. 
  20. ^ http://www.wow247.co.uk/blog/2015/05/13/kevin-eldon-interview-danger-mouse-brilliantman/
  21. ^ "Danger Mouse in Double Trouble". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  22. ^ "Danger Mouse in the Black Forest Chateau". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  23. ^ "Danger Mouse in Making Whoopee!". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 
  24. ^ "Interview with Brian Cosgrove on danger-mouse.net". Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  25. ^ "BBC ALBA - Donnie Murdo/Danger Mouse". BBC. 
  26. ^ a b c d e http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081848/releaseinfo?ref_=tt_dt_dt#akas

External links[edit]