DANGERMOUSE: MERRY CHRISTMOUSE

PrintE-mail Written by James Evans

For those growing up in the 80s and early 90s the original Danger Mouse cartoon was an omnipresent staple of kids’ TV programming.  Made by animation studio Cosgove Hall Films, it was their biggest and most enduring success from a roster that included other titles like Count Duckula.  A remarkable 161 episodes of varying lengths were created over a decade-long production cycle.  In 2015 it was the subject of a now hugely popular revival for the CBBC channel and is already up to another 50 episodes. 

Danger Mouse tells of the titular rodent, who is apparently the world’s greatest secret agent and known to most as DM.  DM has a sidekick in the hamster Penfold who helps him in a variety of different cases that threaten the world.  DM is given his assignments by his boss Colonel K, a chinchilla.

Like any good superhero DM has an archenemy in the toad Baron von Greenback.  DM is a little overconfident and this occasionally exacerbates the trouble he inevitably gets into. The ever-nervous Penfold apparently has some kind of anxiety disorder linked with his love of jam sandwiches.  Other characters support both hero and villain throughout as they seek to thwart each other.  This third DVD collection has the Christmas-themed The Snowman Cometh episode (hence the title) as well as another 6 from the series.  They involve DM coming up against Greenback and a variety of other villains.

A respectful modern revival of the original, this hasn’t actually strayed too far from the construction of the earlier episodes.  It’s been updated to display a more technological world so modern children would find it familiar, but otherwise the basic premise remains the same.  DM and Penfold are given a job, make a bit of a comical mess of it to begin with, and then get it right.  It’s fast, bright and colourful, action-packed and likely to keep younger viewers’ attention throughout. 

For parents or older viewers (and as with the original) there’s still a narrator who frequently breaks the 4th wall and enough arch, knowing silliness in the episodes.  You’ll likely also enjoy the talented voice cast involved, including Alexander Armstrong, Kevin Eldon, Shauna Macdonald and Stephen Fry as regulars and guests such as Kayvan Novak and Richard Ayoade. So if you have young ones to entertain this makes it relatively pain free.

As noted, it only includes 7 episodes so isn’t a full series but the low price-point surely reflects this.  Achieving a delicate balance between entertaining the intended audience but giving enough of a nod to those along for the ride, it’s solid stuff.

DANGERMOUSE: MERRY CHRISTMOUSE / CERT: U / DIRECTOR: ROBERT CULLEN / STARRING: ALEXANDER ARMSTRONG, KEVIN ELDON, STEPHEN FRY, ED GAUGHAN, SHAUNA MACDONALD, DAVE LAMB / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 24TH
 


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