Every year at this busy time I dig into the archives of The Daily Constitutional and repost a few favourites - it allows me to enjoy the school holidays with my daughter and still lead my London Walks tours.
This year I'm reposting my Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London - a series of posts tracing the inky footsteps left behind in our capital by everyone from William Hogarth to Scooby Doo. It's been one of the most popular series of all on The Daily Constitutional and I'm looking forward to updating it after the holidays with posts on Captain America, the X-Men, George Cruikshank and Mary Darly. In the meantime, here's the story so far…
This post first appeared in October 2015…
Panel 25: Danger Mouse
Beloved cartoon superhero of the early '80's Danger Mouse, the greatest superhero in the world, has returned to our screens in a triumphant reboot. The fun started on CBBC on Monday. I'm delighted to report that London retains her starring role.
The opening episode set the tone beautifully, using many London landmarks both old and new. Indeed the montage of London buildings kicked off the blizzard of daft gags that were the trademark of the original cartoons way back when. We saw The Gherkin, City Hall, the Tennis Racket…
…and The House of Cards…
Who doesn't love a wisecrack at the expense of modern architecture?
I blogged about the original Danger Mouse earlier in this series – click HERE to catch up with that post – in a post about Sherlock Holmes-flavoured cartoons. (Alongside DM I looked at Daffy Duck and Porky Pig as Holmes and Watson.)
There are two big changes in the new-look DM: The Sherlock references are gone, with James Bond much more to the fore. And the production values are much MUCH higher.
The original Danger Mouse was created on a shoestring budget and had a pleasingly ramshackle feel to the collage backgrounds. In the original a white polar landscape was often deployed as a cost-cutting exercise. Similarly, there were a great many "Hey! Who put the lights out?" scenes – again, no colours, only black with eyeballs blinking away. One could always recognise Danger Mouse even in a black out: he wore an eye patch so only one eye was blinking. Necessity is the mother of great comic invention!
Glad to see that budgetary restraints featured as a running gag in episode one.
Best of all, the galloping theme song remains intact, albeit with an up-to-date drum track, over the breathless opening credits.
The opening credits are worthy of special mention with the highly-stylised London landmarks flashing by in a chase sequence reminiscent of James Bond in The World Is Not Enough. And our favourite running theme on The Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London pops up yet again. Remember Spiderman was at it, putting Big Ben & Tower Bridge on the same page in an earlier post…
Danger Mouse joins in the more-bang-for-your-buck fun by getting those two famous London monuments into the same shot…
All-in-all it's lovingly done and beautifully voiced. Congratulations to everyone involved! And welcome back Danger Mouse!
The BBC Danger Mouse website is here: www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/shows/danger-mouse
(My screen grabs were taken from BBC iPlayer which is available to viewers in the UK. Go to www.bbc.co.uk to watch.)
A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.