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Dangermouse (1981-92)

Courtesy of FremantleMedia

Main image of Dangermouse (1981-92)
Cosgrove Hall Productions for Thames
9 series; 50 x 10 minute episodes; 18 x 5-part 5 minute serials; 19 x 25 minute episodes (colour)
CreatorsBrian Trueman
 Mike Harding
WritersBrian Trueman
  Angus Allan
DirectorBrian Cosgrove
ProducersBrian Cosgrove
  Mark Hall
Executive ProducerJohn Hambley

Voices: David Jason (Dangermouse, Narrator), Terry Scott (Penfold), Brian Trueman (Stiletto Mafioso and others), Edward Kelsey (Baron Greenback)

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The adventures of the world's greatest secret agent - an eyepatch-wearing mouse in a white jumpsuit.

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This animated series chronicled the tongue-in-cheek adventures of a secret agent mouse regularly saving the world with the help of his panicky civil service mole sidekick Penfold and operating from his base at the top of a pillarbox in London's Baker Street.

Taking its title from spy series Danger Man (ITV, 1960-1; 1964-67), it was broadly a James Bond spoof, with boss Colonel K replacing Bond's M and corpulent toad Baron Silas Greenback (and cuddly caterpillar Nero) in place of the cat-stroking Blofeld, holding the world to ransom with high-tech wacky weaponry such as tins of exploding custard and rampaging, Dalek-like washing machines.

The self-aware send-up style appealed to older children usually thought too old for cartoons. The earlier serial runs, of five-minute episodes shown daily, featured ridiculous 'with one bound he was free' cliffhangers à la Dick Barton and earnest hyperbole spouted by its narrator: "Has Greenback gone forever? What has the strange Dr Zog got in store for him??? Will the person who took my bicycle pump please return it???"

Recalled as highly original, it was nonetheless influenced by both David Jason's earlier role as Captain Fantastic in the proto-Monty Python series Do Not Adjust Your Set (ITV, 1968-69) and Kenny Everett's sci-fi spoof Captain Kremmen, on which producers Cosgrove Hall had just completed work.

One of the few British children's series to play in America, Dangermouse was aired there by children's cable channel Nickelodeon. Rumours abound of a computer-generated 3D revival from Cosgrove Hall Films.

References and Further Reading
Cornell, Paul, Martin Day, Keith Topping, The Guinness Book of Classic British TV, Guinness, 1993, pp207-9
Cosgrove Hall Ate My Brain fan website.
Dangermouse and Friends, TV programme, tx ITV 29/12/82. Producer: Julian Aston. Thames Television.

Alistair McGown

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Video Clips
Who Stole The Bagpipes? (11:05)
Jason, Sir David (1940-)
Scott, Terry (1927-1994)
Cosgrove-Hall Productions
Children's Puppets and Animation