Okay, so, why is a guy apparently capable of building a life-size mechanical figure in the space of one day (albiet under pressure) working as a toymaker? Surely he could be doing something a lot more profitable with that degree of technical skill, especially in Victorian times.
Cost. Fidget had to steal many, many things from human toy shops to supply Flaversham with what he needed, and possibly the things he needs to create these machines are very expensive. It wouldn't matter to Ratigan, but to a single father needing to continually provide for his daughter while still being there for her, hunting down parts and/or constantly working on life-sized robots may not be the best use of time and money.
It also could be that making toys is what he wants to do in life. Sure, building robots might be profitable, but does it compare with the look on little kids' faces when they get that new toy?
That or the fact that there is a very small market for life-size dolls. Besides taking over England, what other use would one have with it? Toys on the other hand is something people buy a lot.
Aaaand now I'm trying to erase from my brain an image of Ratigan having Flaversham build a sexbot-copy of Basil. Thanks.
We have a trope for this: Reed Richards Is Useless. That, and honestly, while he can make a clockwork army that can make the mouse-England unstoppable, he'd probably much rather use his creations to bring joy to children, rather than conquer the world. If you have children...you'd know. (Or if you just watched Steamboy.)
"Oh Ratigan, oh Ratigan/ You're tops and that's that..." The previous chorus had ended the stanza with "...the world's greatest criminal mind!", which since it is the title of the song, implies that the next chorus will be a variation on it. What were they planning on singing, that rhymes with "that" and fits "the world's greatest..."? Am I the only one who suspects it's a deliberate setup for a Last-Second Word Swap?
Maybe it was something about his hat. He really was pretty heavy-handed about dressing fancy.
Why didn't Ratigan change his name? Does he WANT to be incorrectly classified?!
Perhaps he's proud of the long history(?) of his family the Ratigans and wants to keep their name?
Or maybe his mother was a mouse, as the professor insists on being called one.
Rats are predators of mice and cannot interbreed. Perhaps Ratigan wanted the best of both worlds; bigger, stronger and smarter than any mouse, and cleaner and more civilized than any rat. In the end though, it's clear which one he is... Or maybe he just likes how the name sounds.
Why does Toby detest Dawson so much? He either growls at him or ignores him completely, and it's never explained why. Is he jealous that Basil has a new friend or something?
I'd assume it's to give him some sort of Butt Monkey role. Olivia's too nice, and Basil is already acquainted with him, so that leaves Dawson.
It's a Stealth Pun. Remember earlier, when it was pointed out that Dawson sewed the tear on his jacket with catgut?
... Oooooh, I get it!!
Was Ratigan ever actually a professor? Did he just take on the title when he became a criminal mastermind in order to mimic Moriarty (in much the same way that Basil's deerstalker, chemistry experiments, and violin playing are supposed to be an imitation of Holmes)? Is this a shout-out to all of the films of the 1930s-1940s, where Moriarty was still called "Professor" despite not being a mathematician and being universally recognized as a criminal mastermind (and therefore not needing his academic career to serve as a cover from the police)?
Like Moriarty, Ratigan may have originally just been a professor. Unlike Moriarty, Ratigan got caught but apparantly not arrested. Just a fan theory, but it could explain the whole 'professor' thing.
This fanfic goes into elegant detail about Ratigan's history and how Basil met him.
He may just be a professor of mathematics; the scene where he sets an elaborate trap to kill Basil and Dawson by mousetrap/crushing/shooting shows an advanced understanding of physics and geometry!