More than 30 years since his first TV appearance, the greatest secret agent in the world is returning to our screens in 2015. By now, everyone knows that David Jason and Terry Scott provided the voices of Danger Mouse and his hapless sidekick Penfold, as the pair whizzed around in their flying car saving the world from Baron Greenback and other megalomaniacal evil-doers.
The remake promises to update many aspects of the series. But before that happens here are ten things you may not have known about the original programme.
1. The name is Mouse, Danger Mouse
The series was created as a parody of various 1960s British spy-fi creations, most notably Danger Man and James Bond, with Baron Silas Greenback knowingly modelled on Bond’s nemesis, SPECTRE boss Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
2. Not a walrus
While Danger Mouse is quite obviously a mouse, what animals the other major characters are has long been a cause of some confusion. Greenback is a toad, while his henchman Stiletto is a crow. He also has a pet white caterpillar named Nero – an allusion to Blofeld’s white cat.
Penfold is a hamster, while Danger Mouse’s boss Colonel K is often mistaken for a walrus but was, in fact, a chinchilla. So now you know.
3. Haven’t I met you before?
Penfold’s appearance was based on co-creator Brian Cosgrove’s brother Dennis, who was deputy editor of the Sunday Express at the time.
4. You sound familiar (I)
Both Baron Greenback and Colonel K were voiced by the same actor, Edward Kelsey. He’s best known as Joe Grundy in The Archers.
5. Is that your real accent?
Stiletto had a heavy Italian accent but was redubbed as a Cockney for US broadcast so as not to offend Italian-American viewers.
6. Black and white
To save production costs, there was liberal use of ‘in the dark’ scenes – an entirely black screen with eyeballs visible only. The North Pole was also a frequent location, as the white, snow-covered backgrounds required minimal artwork.
7. Mind the neighbours
Danger Mouse lived in an old-style red pillar box on the corner of London’s Baker Street, just outside number 221B – the fictional residence of Sherlock Holmes. It is now the home of the Sherlock Holmes Museum, which is actually located between 237 and 241 Baker Street.
8. You sound familiar (II)
Count Duckula (also voiced by David Jason), a showbiz-obsessed vampire duck who wanted his own show, appeared as a villain before eventually getting his own spin-off show, Count Duckula.
9. Music to our ears
The show’s signature theme song was composed by British singer, songwriter, comedian, author and poet Mike Harding. He was sometimes referred to as the ‘Rochdale Cowboy’, the name of his one and only top 30 single.
10. In the wings
Colonel K had a secretary named Miss Boathook who was never actually seen in the series.