Danger Mouse

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"Penfold, shush."

British animated series by Cosgrove Hall, running on ITV from 1981 to 1992, starring (now Sir) David Jason as the voice of Danger Mouse, a mouse who is the world's greatest secret agent. Accompanied by his somewhat more timid (and bumbling) partner, Penfold, Danger Mouse saves the world each week from a variety of menaces ranging from fiends and monsters to their own narrator. Although an entertaining and original series in its own right, Danger Mouse actually began as a parody of Danger Man (which is better known in the United States as Secret Agent, and as the forerunner of The Prisoner).

Not to be confused with the music producer of the same name (aka Brian Burton). David Morgan-Mar of Irregular Webcomic has also taken Danger Mouse as a nickname.


Tropes used in Danger Mouse include:
  • Accent Adaptation: Odd example in Stiletto Mafiosa. In the original broadcast he had an Italian accent, but when the show was handed over to Nickelodeon in America, he was redubbed with a Cockney accent. The recent DVD set by A&E gives him back the Italian accent, which is quite a surprise to people who grew up on the Nickelodeon cartoons.
  • The Ace: DM himself; his Theme Song even tells you outright!!
  • Americans Are Cowboys: In an episode set in America, the only American he meets is a cowboy.
    • Averted in "The Statue of Liberty Caper": The White House Secret Service Men all wear sunglasses and talk in government-ese, and the crowd viewing DM and Penfold's ticker tape parade at the end are regular folk.
  • Animated Series
  • Ask a Stupid Question: From "Bandits, Beans and Ballyhoo":

Colonel K: They don't call him El Loco for nothing.
DM: Yes. Um...why do they call him El Loco?
Colonel K: Went off the rails at the age of 3.

  • Baron Greenback Stops to Cheat: In "The Duel," most notably in the car race.
  • Big Bad: Baron Silas Greenback. In the 1977 pilot "The Mystery Of The Lost Chord," he was named Greenteeth.
  • Big Bad Wannabe and Cartoonish Supervillainy: Dr. Crumhorn, a wolfish creature introduced in series 10, has Penfold imprisoned ("Penfold Transformed") and calls Greenback a "fat and feckless fool." Of course, Greenback takes umbrage and sends in Stiletto in a Penfold outfit to pair up against Crumhorn's Penfold robot in a bid to see who can destroy Danger Mouse first.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: In "The Duel", Greenback claims to have hit all targets in a shooting gallery. He hands DM a shotgun with the muzzle bent almost entirely back on itself. DM then one-ups him by aiming the bent shotgun just right that the shot PinballProjectiles off the edges of the gallery, hitting every target, including one last ricochet that takes a long pause to arrive.
    • Similarly in "Afternoon Off With The Fangboner," DM can shoot a golf ball in all eighteen holes in one shot. (He actually hits it in seventeen holes, but the ball rolls in the eighteenth after he and Penfold leave).

DM: I sometimes wonder if that round-in-one at Ben Eagles was just a fluke.

He's the greatest! He's fantastic!
Wherever there's danger he'll be there!
He's the ace! He's amazing!
He's the strongest, he's the quickest, he's the best!
Danger Mouse! ... Danger Mouse! Danger Mouse!

  • Brainwashed and Crazy: This is done to DM in the episode "Public Enemy No. 1" after he suffers amnesia.
  • Cartoon Bomb: You know what you're in for after the opening credits.
  • Catch Phrase: "Oooh, crumbs!", "Si, Baroni" ("Roight, Baroni" for Americans), "You're not laughing" etc. etc. Everyone gets one.
  • Cats Are Mean: "Planet Of The Cats" and Greenback's feline robot in "Cat-astrophe."
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Leatherhead, Greenback's other crow henchman, who only appears in the pilot and two episodes of the main series.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: Danger Mouse regularly appeared in ITV-Thames' "Look-In" series of books and was generally very faithful (adding a new character--Greenback's "white sheep" nephew Hopalong Casually). Displaced in Marvel Comics' editions (seen in issues of the Count Duckula book)--no pillar box, Off-Model art (an eyebrow over DM's eyepatch), and continuity issues (Miss Boathook seen as a sexpot who in one story flirts with DM).
  • Cool Car: DM's wheels, officially named "The Hero's Car" (or the Mk. III).
  • Cool Ship: The Frog's Head Flyer (also Humongous Mecha relative to the rest of the cast of course).
  • Cowardly Sidekick: Penfold.
  • The Dragon: Stiletto.
  • Everything's Better With Hamsters: In "Tiptoe Through the Penfolds," Greenback's duplicating machine goes haywire on a test run and creates non-stop clones of Penfold until they virtually flood London. (The real Penfold is doing a dissertation of "Cowardice Without Guilt" at the annual congress of Cowards Anonymous.)
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Grovel, the robot servant of the alien Quark. Every time his name is called, he drops to the ground, grovels and apologizes.
  • Expository Theme Song
  • Eyepatch of Power
  • Funny Animal: The whole cast. DM is a mouse, Penfold and his aunt are hamsters, Greenback is a toad, and Colonel K. is...er, either a chinchilla or chinchilla disguised as a walrus.
  • Flying Car
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Extremely rare, but one instance has the fog monster of old London Town in The Four Tasks Of Danger Mouse disguising himself as a bath house where DM is taking a shower. The fog monster dissipates leaving DM in front of us, bare-bottomed. Another has DM with this couplet in Penfold B.F. as Penfold (as rhyming superhero The Blue Flash) continues to mess up his attempts to capture a Patagonian pygmy pigeon:

DM: Penfold, you're being quite absurd,
And you deserve to get the bird!

    • A rather mild instance: In "Turn Of The Tide," Penfold makes a malapropism of the name of the moon crater Copernicus, calling it "copper knickers."
  • The Ghost: Colonel K's secretary, Miss Boathook.
    • DM's French lady friend Fifi, who he doesn't like to talk about.
  • Grand Finale: "The Intergalactic 147."
  • Head Desk
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: DM and Penfold. Which, of course, means Rule 34 is in full force. Any Big No reaction to this fact would be understandable.
  • Hollow World: In the episode "Journey to the Earth's 'Cor!'"
  • Hurricane of Puns: Often at the end of the first part of a two-parter (during the Nickelodeon run), but they show up everywhere. Some juicy ones, to boot. From The Man From GADGET:

Murphy: Egregious M. Murphy, senior sales representative of Gadgets Incorporated.
DM: Egregious M. Murphy? What's the "M" for?
Murphy: The M-4 is a motorway that runs from London to South Wales, ask me another Mangus!
Penfold: This is definitely getting worse.

    • From What a Three-Point Turn-Up for the Book, as DM and Penfold look for their bicycles:

Narrator: Has Danger Mouse taken to handlebars because he must dash? (Moustache? Must dash? Get it?)

    • In "Turn Of The Tide," Professor Squawkencluck gets frustrated with an explanation of what's caused the ocean to submerge London and started screaming some amount of "Nein, nein, nein!" Whenever he did, Penfold would be nearby with a calculator, reading off the total of the "nines".
    • In "Mechanized Mayhem", when the machines reveal their plans for world domination, the telephone proclaims "From now on, we are the true rulers," and a 12-inch wooden ruler quips "Especially me." (Never mind that a ruler is not a machine.)
  • Hypocritical Humour: Several times throughout the series.

Penfold: *Turns to the camera* He's talking to a crowd of invisible people and he's asking if I'm alright?

DM: I'm not going to be pushed around by two percent of me!

  • Inexplicably Tailless: Danger Mouse is Type 1.
  • Lazy Artist: Lampshaded in "Quark! Quark!" When Penfold asks why he and DM are disguised as a camel, DM explains it's because the animators couldn't draw horses.
    • And in "The Good, the Bad and the Motionless." DM's evil alter ego has Penfold in suspended animation, which DM chalks up to the animators being on their tea break.
  • Left the Background Music On: "Play It Again, Wufgang" centres on the destruction of the world's music, which cripples our heroes since they're physically incapable of doing anything without accompanying BGM. They finish the episode via blatantly-lampshaded Diegetic Music provided by a cassette player (which has been kept in safe storage for just such an occasion). Difficulties with cueing the right music leads to a hilarious climactic series of Soundtrack Dissonance, which actually causes the scene to go wrong until the right music is played.
  • Lemony Narrator: Since identified as Isombard Sinclair.
  • Meaningful Name: With a side order of Genius Bonus as well. Early pillarboxes were known as "Penfolds" after their designer.
  • Medium Awareness: Mostly DM.

DM: Sometimes, Penfold, I wish I were just drawing the cartoons, not starring in them.

Penfold: I got extra milk from that milkman who looks like El Loco.
DM: El Loco? But our milkman looks like Elton John!

    • Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood and Barry Manilow have also had their names dropped on the show.
  • Narrator
  • No Ending: A few too many episodes.
    • Seasons 2 through 4 were serialized as weekly story arcs. There were six arcs per season, each consisting of five 5-minute installments.
      • These 5-minute installments were sometimes spliced together to make full-length episodes on home video releases. Some fans actually lament this, as these versions are consequently missing the really terrible puns that would invariably smother the ending narration, and sometimes cast dialogue addressing the cliffhanger as well. Nickelodeon aired these stories as same-day two-parters.
  • No Fourth Wall: Every episode has at least one instance, and there are a lot where it's the basis of the whole plot.
    • At one point, while Penfold is talking to the audience...

Danger Mouse: Penfold, who are you talking to?
Penfold: No one, chief. Well, I hope it's not no one, chief, but, um, no one, chief.

    • In "Tower of Terror", DM even falls off the edge of the film.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: "Shush!"
  • Omniglot: DM can speak every language ever invented.

DM: ...but gibberish isn't one of them. (From "Close Encounters Of The Absurd Kind")

  • On Second Thought: ..."here's the weather forecast." (The narrator at the end of 100 Million Years Lost when Henry V goes too far into his "Once more into the breach" speech at the Battle of Agincourt.)
  • Orient Express: "Danger Mouse on the Orient Express"
  • Overly Long Gag: Every time Grovel[1] hears his name mentioned.
  • Parental Bonus: Of the non-squicky kind. There are a lot of jokes and Shout Outs that adults will enjoy rather more than the kids.

Danger Mouse: Penfold, I don't think this is a clock at all! I think it's a time machine!
Penfold: Um... DM? I thought clocks were time machines.
Danger Mouse: No, not that sort of time machine. The sort that takes you through time.
Penfold: Oh! Like that Doctor!
Danger Mouse: Who?
Penfold: Can't remember.
Danger Mouse: Oh.

    • "Custard" has DM, Penfold, and the Custard Mite of Glutt stranded in a pink hole, and they emerge on Earth through a time traveler's potting shed.
    • Also in evidence a lot in the licensed game Danger Mouse in the Black Forest Chateau, starting with the title. One scene has our hero falling into a moat, and attracting the attention of a shark -- "unfortunately he's a lone shark, and takes a great deal of interest".
  • Precision F-Strike: An extremely mild case, from "The Wild Wild Goose Chase" with DM and Penfold traversing a desert.

Narrator: On they trod through the hot sands of a noonday sun and the merciless hell of a waterless desert.
DM: You know, Penfold, after trodding through the hot sands of a noonday sun and the merciless hell of a waterless desert, I don't feel quite so lucky anymore.

    • Similarly in "The Strange Case Of The Ghost Bus," the narrator describes the Himalayas (up where DM and Penfold are hiking) as a "white hell."
  • The Professor: Professor Heinrich von Squakencluck.
  • Puff of Logic: On one occasion DM's flying car is accidentally transported to the Middle Ages...

Penfold: Um, chief, they didn't have... cars in the Middle Ages, did they?
Danger Mouse: Oh, Penfold... I wish you hadn't said that.
(Car abruptly vanishes in a Puff of Logic--they sit in midair for a second like Wile E. Coyote, then fall with a yelp)

  • Rhymes on a Dime: Penfold in Penfold B.F. after he takes an untested super vitamin pill and turns into superhero The Blue Flash:

Penfold: A superhero's how I'm feeling,
Hope the chief's not cross about his ceiling!
But now, the real me has been unfurled,
And I'm the greatest in the world!

    • In "I Spy With My Little Eye," Penfold wishes upon a star:

Penfold: Oh, little star that shines so bright,
I'd like a wish if that's all right.
Oh, little star in the ink-black heaven...
D.M.: Forget it, Penfold. It's a 747!

    • The narrator in "Once Upon A Timeslip."
  • Right-Hand-Cat: Nero's a... furry caterpillar-thing, but it's obvious what trope he's invoking.
  • Running Gag: In the final series, Greenback activates a "Hit Box", which conks Stiletto on the head three times whenever he says or does something stupid.

Stiletto: (each time he gets hit) Ow...ow....and OW!!

  • Sdrawkcab Name: Dlofnep the Magnificent in The Hickory Dickory Dock Dilemma is a future Penfold ("Dlofnep" backwards for) who rules London!!
  • Shout-Out: To Danger Man. Also, "Custard" has a scene that calls out to the final Death Star battle scene in Star Wars.
    • Also, "The Good, the Bad and the Motionless" is a shout-out parody of The Good the Bad And The Ugly.
    • "The Intergalactic 147" is most likely taken from the ending of The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy (primary phase), where Ford Prefect relates a tale of a planet in the seventh dimension getting potted into a black hole in a game of intergalactic billiards (only worth 30 points). The Danger Mouse episode has Earth in line to be potted into the black hole Alpha Omega in a game of intergalactic snooker, which would give the player (whatever it is) the maximum score of 147.
    • The scene from "Pillow Fright" of DM giving the pillow army their marching orders not only apes "The Sorceror's Apprentice" (from Fantasia) but also uses the music from it.
    • "'Cor! What A Picture:" Penfold has been turned into a kung fu assassin by Greenback (through a machine which has manipulated a photo of Penfold). As he tries to attack DM, our hero quips, "Penfold...you've been watching The Pink Panther again, haven't you?"
  • Spin-Off: Count Duckula first appeared in Danger Mouse as a villain.
  • Spy Couple
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: The episode "Duckula Meets Frankenstoat" features a taped transmission from Colonel K:

Colonel K: Ah, there you are DM. I'm sending this recorded message...
DM: Recorded message?
Colonel K: Don't interrupt, DM. I had to send this recorded message as normal communications aren't available.

  • Team Rocket Wins: Greenback actually gets the best of DM at the conclusion of "The Wild, Wild Goose Chase", when DM realises that Greenback has just sent him on a... well, you know.

Penfold: Go ahead, Chief...have a good shout.
DM: I...HATE...THAT...TOAD!!!

Greenback: At the press of a button, I could smother the Earth with snow, drown it in rain, wreck it with gales, and cloak it with fog.
Stiletto: Why not just wait for summer?

DM: We're here to find out about your brother.
Mac The Spoon: An' why shood I tell ye about 'im?
DM: Because if you don't, this story will come to a grinding stop and our viewers will never forgive us.

  • Your Size May Vary: Sometimes the animators were inconsistent with the size of DM and Penfold, even though the beginning of every episode shows them living in a pillar box. A lot of the time they were their normal rodent size, but sometimes they were the size of short humans.
    • It wasn't just DM and Penfold. The episode "Bandits, Beans and Ballyhoo" even had Mexican bandito El Loco smuggling himself into the country by hiding in their luggage, and he doesn't exactly have any trouble fitting inside the pillar box.
  1. 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, master!'