Victor & Hugo: Bunglers in Crime
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|Victor & Hugo: Bunglers in Crime|
|Also known as||'Victor & Hugo'|
|Created by||Brian Cosgrove
|Written by||Brian Trueman
|Directed by||Brian Cosgrove|
Edward Kelsey (2 episodes, 1992)
Mike Harding (uncredited)
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||30|
|Executive producer(s)||John Hambley|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Cosgrove Hall Productions for
|Original network||ITV Network (Children's ITV)
ABC, 7TWO (Australian repeats)
|Original release||6 September 1991– 29 December 1992|
|Preceded by||Count Duckula
|Followed by||Avenger Penguins|
Victor & Hugo: Bunglers in Crime is a British animated series made by Cosgrove Hall Productions for Thames Television and screened on Children's ITV from 6 September 1991 to 29 December 1992, and was based on the five-time villains of Gaston and Pierre from Count Duckula; it was the company's second production to be assisted by Alfonso Productions, and their final cell-animated project before the collapse of Thames Television (who lost the 1991 ITV regional franchise round a month after it premiered).
It was also the last Cosgrove Hall show to feature the voices of Brian Trueman and David Jason, and featured guest appearances from many of the company's earlier characters, including Danger Mouse, Count Duckula, Soames and Potson, and even Damson Bunhandler (a pig newscaster from two episodes of Danger Mouse, who gave a report on the brothers' most recent crime on at least two occasions).
|This section is incomplete. (September 2015)|
As mentioned above, Victor and Hugo were based on the two five-time villains of Gaston and Pierre from Count Duckula; while Gaston was a tall, thin black stork, and Pierre a stubby, short parakeet, both Victor and Hugo were humans, but they lived in a world populated by anthropomorphic animals (possibly to allow for guest appearances from other, non-human Cosgrove Hall characters). Many of the actions and phrases first used for Gaston and Pierre were reused for Victor and Hugo, such as Gaston shoving Pierre's beret in his mouth to keep him quiet, "Why is it that it is?", "Yes, but mainly no!", and "It is your fault, it is all your fault, it is always your fault!".
The series centred on the exploits of two bumbling French criminal brothers, who were the eponymous Victor and Hugo; despite referencing the French author Victor Hugo in their names, both brothers were not particularly intelligent (but Victor was the more intelligent). The plot of every episode focused on Victor, Hugo, Interpol (their parrot), and their English-based business "Naughtiness International" getting hired by criminal figures to steal something - and Victor would come up with a "meticulous plan" to achieve this goal, which was routinely botched by Hugo. Most episodes usually ended with the brothers imprisoned (but others, including the first and last, did not).
The taller of the brothers, Victor was also clearly the leader for Naughtiness International; his two most striking characteristics were his fedora hat, and his manicured moustache (the latter enabling him to appear suave). He also wore a pair of white gloves, which were given to him for his birthday by Interpol (as referenced in the tenth episode "Scout's Dishonour", which was also the first episode he was seen without them) - and his English was significantly better than Hugo's, although he was continuously at risk of spoonerisms. Despite his constant raging at Hugo, Victor did show more than once that he secretly cared deeply about his brother, like in the ninth episode, "Dummy Run" (in which he was worried that Hugo had been frozen to death); he was voiced by Jimmy Hibbert.
Victor's younger brother, Hugo always wore a beret and actually looked like a burglar (right down to his ever-present eye-mask); he was always subservient to "My Victor", and was often the butt of slapstick comedy. While his intelligence (and English skills) were notably inferior to those of Victor, Hugo was often able to make sense of his brother's spoonerisms - and he would often describe their chosen profession as "criminiminals". Despite the notable handicap of a lack of ability, he also always had the job of driving the van; Hugo's voice, like that of Pierre from Count Duckula, bore a striking resemblance to that used by Peter Sellers for the Goon Show character Bluebottle, and the two characters often made similar exclamations. He was voiced by David Jason.
Interpol the Parrot
A cynical East End Multicolour (which is a very rare breed of parrot), Interpol lived in Victor and Hugo's van, and provided a voice of reason in rapid-fire Cockney English; it is not saying very much to comment that Interpol was by far the most intelligent member of the group. Aside from residing in the van constantly, Interpol was also able to function as a telephone - he would ring when sat on his perch, and his beak was put to the person's ear. Victor also used him to dial out by pressing his talons like a keypad; in one episode, Hugo used him as a makeshift pair of scissors. He was also voiced by David Jason, but had no dialogue for the episode "Treasure Haunt".
The Wretched Dog
A small dog played a very important role in most episodes; at various points, often when the plot appeared to be flagging, the dog would run up one of Victor's trouser legs, remove his boxer shorts and run off with them down his other leg. This running gag also appeared at the end of most episodes (prefaced by the statement by a glum Victor that "At least in here, nothing else can possibly go wrong!") - and Hugo particularly enjoyed the dog's appearances, often muttering "good doggie!". In production material from the now-demolished Cosgrove Hall studio, the dog's name is given as Baskerville (as in the Sherlock Holmes tale The Hound of the Baskervilles), although, he was never referred to as such on screen; one episode that he is known never to appear in is the eighth one, "The Case of the Vose Vase".
Despite his French name, M. Meccaneaux was a working-class accented English rat who was frequently called by the brothers to repair the van (generally after Hugo's bad driving had caused an accident), and on occasion, to provide other forms of technical expertise such as the construction of the Concrete Destruction Ray (known by Victor as the "Discreet Correction Ray"); he was also voiced by David Jason.
Much of the humour for this series derived from catchphrases (some of which were previously used by Gaston and Pierre); among these were:
- "That is what I said." - Victor, on being corrected (by anyone); this was created specifically for the show, and was not used by Gaston.
- "Nothing else can possibly go wrong." - Victor (normally), the cue for the Wretched Dog to remove his boxer shorts at an episode's end.
- "Gordon Bennett, Where's me tablets?" - Interpol expressing surprise and consternation; it was again created specifically for the show.
- "That's what I think, anyway." - Hugo's summation of the situation; this was also used at the end of the starting and finishing themes.
- "Yes, and no, but mainly, no." - Hugo, answering Victor's question; this had previously been pioneered by Pierre for Count Duckula.
- "Help, the police! No, help!!!" - Hugo's panic attacks on hearing the word "police"; they were the only thing that he was terrified of.
- "We are famous international criminals." - Hugo inadvertently revealing his identity (Victor would often say that he was just kidding).
Series 1 (1991)
|Title||Written by||Original air date|
|1||1||"Panda-Monium"||Brian Trueman||6 September 1991|
|The brothers are hired to steal the rare African tree panda from Regent's Park Zoo.|
|2||2||"Spacial Event"||Brian Trueman||13 September 1991|
|The brothers are blasted into space, and have a close encounter of the "stupid" kind.|
|3||3||"Water Boobies"||Brian Trueman||20 September 1991|
|The brothers go deep-sea diving for treasure, in the hold of a sunken pirate galleon.|
|4||4||"Cowboys and Indiscipline"||Brian Trueman||27 September 1991|
|For a trip to Tombstone, Arizona, the brothers plan a daring gold robbery, and make a new "friend" in the form of the town Marshal, Wyatt Eartle (who is a pun on Wyatt Earp, and a turtle) in the process.|
|5||5||"Hyp-Not-Isn't"||Brian Trueman||18 October 1991|
|Victor tries to hypnotise Hugo into being a better criminal, but it does not go to plan when he sneezes while hypnotising him.|
|6||6||"Automanic Transmission"||Jimmy Hibbert||25 October 1991|
|The brothers are hired by Mr. Stootly to steal a voice-activated futuristic car called the "Buillac S230" (a merger of Buick and Cadillac).|
|7||7||"The Hole Truth and Nothing But the Truth"||Brian Trueman||1 November 1991|
|The brothers attend a "fancy-dress" party in the costumes of convicts, attempting to go down to the ballroom's basement and drill through the wall to tunnel into the National Bank of Ruritania next door; however, they make a wrong turning, and end up tunnelling into the cell of Strangler (a melancholy ape) in the Hampstead Prison instead.|
|8||8||"The Case of the Vose Vase"||Brian Trueman||8 November 1991|
|The brothers pose as a butler and a maid (Hugo under the name "Hugette") to steal the Vose Vase from Hobbes-Sutclyffe Hall.|
|9||9||"Dummy Run"||Brian Trueman||15 November 1991|
|While taking a holiday on the Island of Formaggio, Victor's suitcase is mistakenly claimed by a crooked ventriloquist, Gary Gaingridge, and Victor thinks his brother has been frozen to death when he opens his suitcase and finds Gaingridge's dummy, Gaston, inside; however, Gaingridge is trying to take Hugo's head off because of the diamonds that are hidden in the dummy.|
|10||10||"Scout's Dishonour"||Brian Trueman||22 November 1991|
|The brothers join the East Crummelton Scout Group in order to gain free access to Ackroyd Towers (a house they are intending to steal from).|
|11||11||"Escort Red-Handed"||Brian Trueman||29 November 1991|
|While posing as a downstairs maid to the three-time Count Duckula antagonists Hawkeye Soames and Doctor Potson, a shortsighted American millionaire asks Hugo (who is again going by the name "Hugette") to marry him.|
|12||12||"Private Ears"||Brian Trueman||6 December 1991|
|The Countess of Gazania hires the brothers to plant "listening devices" at the Gazanian Embassy; however, what they do not know is that the Gazanian Ambassador is her husband (and that she put him on a diet three weeks ago). So when Victor returns to her with his listening device and Hugo retells everything he heard while in the Ambassador's office, she learns that her husband has been sneaking chocky biscuits.|
|13||13||"Blunder on the Orient Express"||Jimmy Hibbert||13 December 1991|
|The brothers attempt to "hold up" the Orient Express, and are accused of a jewel thievery they did not commit; the episode is told in "flashback", as it begins with the brothers marooned in a Venetian punt.|
Series 2 (1992)
|Title||Original air date|
|14||1||"Acting the Goat"||11 September 1992|
|The brothers are hired to steal a ring from a famous actress named Wanda Nicetime, who is starring in a play at the Dreary Lane (a pun on Drury Lane) Theatre; they also end up becoming a part of the play themselves.|
|15||2||"Artful Dodgers"||18 September 1992|
|The brothers pose as art dealers, and are hired to steal a painting from New York's Museum of Modern Art (while being tailed by Tom Trowel, a pig).|
|16||3||"Is There a Doctor in the House?"||25 September 1992|
|The brothers disguise themselves as doctors, in order to steal the top-secret growth formula (which has been created by Professor Peveril Peak) from the "Reverend Spooner's Hospital"; however, after they get high on laughing gas, Victor accidentally spills the formula on Hugo, then they get sent to jail, and Hugo grows to a huge size!|
|17||4||"Woof and Tumble"||2 October 1992|
|Mr. Big, who is a mouse in an inflatable suit, hires the brothers to take care of his dog, Caesar, while he goes on holiday; however, things take a turn for the worse when Caesar falls in love with a cow and ends up being kidnapped by "Grab-A-Dog International". However, when the brothers cough up the ransom (which is a complete set of a series of chocolate bar wrappers), it turns out that Caesar does not want to leave, as he has befriended another dog and is playing poker in the back room with him - so they decide to cough up with another ransom for the other dog (which is a complete set of a series of lollipop wrappers, which Hugo was going to swap for an "I ♥ Earwigs" bumper sticker), but it turns out to be the Wretched Dog, who runs up Victor's trouser leg and steals his boxer shorts.|
|18||5||"Treasure Haunt"||9 October 1992|
|The brothers sell Hobbes-Sutclyffe Hall to "a big lady with her arm in a sling", for a map that shows them where they can find the hidden treasure of Sir Pelham Hobbes-Sutclyffe; Count Duckula, Igor and Nanny guest-star but Igor is not actually given any lines, as Jack May did not return.|
|19||6||"Tempers Fugit"||16 October 1992|
|The brothers are hired by a horologist named Mr. Millennium, to masquerade as security men (from "Swagard") and steal a very special clock which can transport people through time for him.|
|20||7||"French Exchange"||23 October 1992|
|The brothers are hired by Baron Silas Greenback, to steal Danger Mouse's Mark 3 car; however, as with Jack May not returning to voice Igor in Ep. 18, Terry Scott does not return to provide the voice of Ernest Penfold.|
|21||8||"The Poultry-Geist"||30 October 1992|
|The brothers pretend the biggest house in their neighbourhood is haunted, so its residents leave for the night and allow them to steal all the valuables from it; the biggest house happens to be Castle Duckula (and Nanny also makes another guest appearance). Also, when Castle Duckula automatically returns to Transylvania, the animation was lifted straight from a Count Duckula episode.|
|22||9||"Jester Moment"||6 November 1992|
|The Prince of Vulgaria (which is a pun on Bulgaria) hires the brothers, as his new court jesters, in order to steal the country's famous crown jewels; however, his old jester thwarts their plans in order to get rehired.|
|23||10||"Stone Me!"||13 November 1992|
|The brothers are appointed by the Countess of Amnesia, in order to steal the world's most famous diamond, "Belshazzar's Bunion"; after they have a fake made and swap it, she reveals that she had kept the real one all the time.|
|24||11||"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Dolt"||20 November 1992|
|The brothers manage to get hold of top-secret plans for the "Concrete Dissolving Ray" and masquerade as "Captain Victor" and "General Hugo" to acquire the parts, then get M. Meccaneaux to build it for them; however, their plans are thwarted by a herd of stampeding elephants.|
|25||12||"Pie in the Sky"||27 November 1992|
|The brothers are kidnapped by a gang of aliens (who transform them into a painting); when the aliens let them go, and their van lands back on Earth, the Wretched Dog runs up Hugo's trouser leg (inside the van) at the end!|
|26||13||"Unstable Fable"||4 December 1992|
|The brothers are hired by penniless aristocrat, Lady Grady, to steal the world's most famous racehorse ("Whizzbangfleetfoot III"); after infiltrating the Mabel Gable Stables disguised as another horse (named "Bloomin' Old Nag"), they end up becoming part of the "Sirloin Stakes" and win after being stung by a bee, but all they get is a large mouthful of hay.|
|27||14||"The Hound of the Hobbes-Sutclyffes"||11 December 1992|
|The brothers pose as the three-time Count Duckula antagonists Hawkeye Soames and Dr. Potson in order to rob Hobbes-Sutclyffe Hall; the real Soames is also voiced by Brian Trueman (as opposed to Jack May, who again did not return), and both his and Potson's colourings are different to how they were initially coloured for the Eighties.|
|28||15||"Yule Be Sorry"||18 December 1992|
|The brothers pose as Santa Claus (with Victor standing on top of Hugo) on the streets of New York City to steal everyone's presents; however, it is July, so they steal a voice-activated jet to pour fake snow over the city. When they crash-land at the North Pole, they meet the real Santa, who hands them a card saying that he is not really Santa - and when he unzips his suit, he turns out to be a polar bear. However, he hands them another card saying that he is not really a polar bear; when he unzips his suit, he turns out to be none other than the Wretched Dog, who then runs up Victor's trouser leg and steals his boxer shorts.|
|29||16||"But Me No Butlers"||24 December 1992|
|The brothers again pose as a butler and maid (Hugo, again, as "Hugette"), for Mr. Underfelt, who has a white mouse with an eye patch named "Damien", which sounds almost like "DM"; Brian Trueman also does not feature in this episode, and it is the only one that does not open with a radio or television report telling about the brothers' most recent crime.|
|30||17||"Do-In Yourself"||29 December 1992|
|In a final attempt to pull off a great crime, the brothers order the "Behemoth Guide to being a Master Criminal"; Soames and Potson also make another reappearance.|
Tie-in book series
Apart from Thames Video's VHS release of the first, fifth and sixth episodes (which is now almost impossible to find), this show spawned a series of tie-in books by Jimmy Hibbert and Rod Green; they featured Cosgrove Hall's short-lived triangular logo on their front covers (which was a reference to Thames Television's final logo, introduced in 1990), and entitled "Fu Man's Choo Choo", "The Big Nap", "Out to Lunch", "The Great Golden Turnip Caper", "The Great Train Robbery", and "Where Beagles Dare". Some of these books were also available as audio cassettes, which were read by Jimmy Hibbert - and he also filled in for David Jason as Hugo and Interpol upon these cassettes. The name of the restaurant in "Out to Lunch" is also "The Happy Frog", which was originally that of Gaston and Pierre's Chinese takeaway service in the thirty-sixth Count Duckula episode ("Transylvanian Take-Away"); there is also a picture of Count Duckula on its wall.