Danger Mouse: classic cartoon returns with slick new reboot

Bond parody comeback is 'a snappy triumph', but will it prove more popular with parents than kids?


Classic 1980s cartoon Danger Mouse has returned to UK TV screens, but will the plucky rodent spy win over a new generation of digitally savvy kids or is it a nostalgia show for their parents' generation?

Thames TV's Danger Mouse was a staple of children's television throughout most of the 1980s and into the 1990s, running for 161 episodes. Written as a Bond-like parody it featured a charming secret agent mouse with an eye-patch (voiced by David Jason) and his bespectacled hamster sidekick Penfold (Terry Scott). Together they solved mysteries and saved the world from dastardly villains such as Duckula.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The response to the new show has been positive, with reviewers declaring it slick and self-aware.

Hurrah, says Jasper Rees in the Daily Telegraph, "Danger Mouse is a snappy British triumph". Rees praises the show for not patronising its junior audience, and says it is "smarter and funnier than most grown-up comedy".

"Like the best Pixar scripts, it trades in irony and self-commentary," says Rees, who adds that language is a treat, with riffs about talk shows, holograms and ringtones.

Pete Dillon-Trenchard on Den of Geek calls the show "incredibly slick", and says it's fast-paced and densely packed enough to stand alongside any other modern cartoon.

"It's hard to imagine the current generation of CBBC viewers not being as thrilled by the stories as their parents were," says Dillon-Trenchard, who adds that, for all its superficial modern trappings, the show feels reassuringly traditional.

Alex Hardy in The Times also enjoyed rediscovering this childhood favourite, but wondered if that might not be the show's problem.

It's full of "imagination-packed scenes" and a script with "its tongue so far in its cheek, it practically broke through the skin", says Hardy, but he says that Danger Mouse feels like the show has been written for people like him ­– "adults watching with kids, rather than kids watching as kids".

Hardy wonders if the show will find a more childlike groove in future episodes, but says it seems unlikely, given that upcoming guest stars include Brian Blessed as Santa.

"I predict many iPlayer downloads way after kids' bedtimes," says Hardy, who also concedes that: "packing a grown-up punch never bothered The Simpsons, did it?"

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us