Danger Mouse. The much beloved ITV children’s show makes it’s return in 2015, but this time it will air on the BBC. The legendary cartoon was created as a children’s version of the British spy dramas of the 60’s and 70’s. It was as if Terry Gilliam and Ian Fleming made love, gave birth and had to make a show to entertain the kid. To this day it remains one of the crown jewels in the Cosgrove Hall crown, along with Count Duckula, The BFG and Avenger Penguins.
In this new incarnation the voices of David Jason, Terry Scott and Edward Kelsey are to be replaced with what will hopefully be fitting modern counterparts. Danger Mouse himself will be played by Alexander Armstrong of Armstrong & Miller and presenter of BBC’s Pointless. He’s has the sort of posh nonchalance that defined Danger Mouse’s attitude to the madness happening around him. He would tolerate it but he had his limits, sometimes even getting the narrator involved, forcing the story to make more sense.
Penfold will be played by Kevin Eldon, a legend of the British alt comedy scene and a veteran of using small roles in great comedies to produce more laughs than the leads usually do. His work in Black Books, Hunderby, Hyperdrive as well as countless sketches show both huge range and an inherent insanity that could only help him fit in a world where rodents save the day as reptiles put it in danger.
Best of all though, is the inclusion of Come Dine with Me voice Dave Lamb as “The Narrator.” Dave Lamb’s exaggeratedly snarky and la-di-da narration of the clebrated reality show is a perfect fit for Danger Mouse. In Come Dine with Me he exposes the huge gap between what people think of themselves and what we think of them. And as Danger Mouse is a satire of ultra sophisticated James Bond types, that tone could find an awful lot of use. Other casting news finds one of the main roles replaced with a female counterpart, adding some much needed diversity to the traditionally Boy’s Own adventure. Shauna MacDonald will play Professor Squawkencluck, niece of the original villain.
If I have a concern, then to find it all you need to do is look up. The role of Danger Mouse was always a supremely confident one, but he was never smug or arrogant. The look on the face of this new Danger Mouse (as you can see from the pic above) is hazardously close to both. If this new Danger Mouse alienates his audience by acting conceited, then it will show the new writers do not understand what makes him such an enduring icon. We were never laughing at him, we were always laughing with him. That was his charm. That was why he appealed to millions. That will hopefully be the reason he will appeal to millions more in this new series.