TV review: Danger Mouse, CBBC
The eye-patched 80s hero returns with hi-tech wizardy topping up the simple plots
Given that Danger Mouse attracted an almighty 21m viewers in its pomp and in 2002 was voted by Channel 4 as the third greatest kids’ TV show ever (behind such globe-trotting behemoths as The Simpsons and The Muppet Show), it was perhaps inevitable that this cartoon would one day get the reboot treatment. And sure enough, here it comes with David Jason (DM) and Terry Scott (his frankly awful sidekick Penfold) replaced by Alexander Armstrong and Kevin Eldon, while the likes of Stephen Fry, Miranda Richardson, Lena Headey and Richard Ayoade will be taking up various voice duties.
With technology available now that the original producers could barely have dreamed about during Danger Mouse’s existence between 1981 and ’92, the remakers have admirably kept largely to the simple charms that made the show such a success in the first place (simple stories, simpler dialogue, a conveniently non-grey delineation between good and evil).
Still, the opening credits replace the original’s minor bomb perils and a snapping alligator with a frantic chase sequence involving death-rays, crazy explosions, a variety of speedy air, sea and land vehicles zooming across exotic terrains as a cheeky eyebrow-raising DM ignores the spectre of arch-enemy Greenback looming in the background.
But after such a breathless beginning, the show settles down with DM as a debonair spy chap whose vast range of gadgetry would make Daniel Craig weep with envy while narrating duties are taken by Dave Lamb in less sarcastic tones than he musters for Come Dine With Me. As a re-entry into the programme, there are some nice touches alluding to its resurrection for older fans while the first episode goes for the familiar trope of proving that Greenback remains a villain despite him going on The Jimmy Camel Show (oh yes) to insist that he’s changed his ways. It’s good to have Danger Mouse back but will we ever get to the bottom of why he has that eye patch?
Danger Mouse starts on CBBC, Mon 28 Sep, 6pm