Western Animation: Danger Mouse
He's the greatest!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 (voiced by comedy veteran Terry Scott), 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.A revival of the show consisting of 52 episodes was announced in June 2014, 23 years after the end of its original run and 5 since the closing of Cosgrove Hall. Alexander Armstrong has been tapped to voice Danger Mouse with Kevin Eldon as Penfold, Stephen Fry as Colonel K, and Dave Lamb as the narrator. Shauna McDonald will voice a female Professor Squawkencluck, the niece of the original Professor Squawkencluck. Production of the new series, to debut in 2015, will be affected at Boulder Media in Dublin, Ireland (Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, The Amazing World of Gumball).
Wherever there's danger he'll be there!
He's the ace!
He's the strongest, he's the quickest, he's the best!
Wherever there's danger he'll be there!
He's the ace!
He's the strongest, he's the quickest, he's the best!
— Opening theme
- 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. A few of Stiletto's lines were changed as well. In "Public Enemy No. 1" after DM suffers his amnesia-inducing bump to the head, this exchange:Stiletto: All right...I am surrendered!
DM: Hmmm? Oh...how do you do, Mr. Surrendered.
Stiletto: Eh? Is that-a English joke, signor? (in America with Stiletto's accent change, the line was changed to "Don't you know who I am, guv?")
- The Ace: DM himself; his Theme Song even tells you outright!
- Action-Hogging Opening: Two sets of bomb-dodging, multi-sword wielding spider, rescuing Penfold from an alligator pit, then jumping into the Flying Car and over to the narrator.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Frequently used, and just as frequently lampshaded by the narrator:"London, a city shrouded in shadows. From Shoreditch to Shooters hill, from Shaftesbury Street to Shepherds Bush, shoppers shrink as shady shapes shuffle shiftily. Who can shatter the sinister shutters? Shout for the nation's shield! Shend for Dangermoushe!"
- The main characters are usually given descriptive titles, with DM as "the White Wonder", Penfold "the Hopeless Hamster", and Greenback "the Terrible Toad".
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The rebellious electrical appliances in "Mechanised Mayhem" are being controlled by a sentient supercomputer bent on world domination. DM and Penfold cause it to crash (literally) by reciting the "My dog has no nose."/"How does he smell?"/"Terrible!" joke.
- All Just a Dream: The episode "Danger Mouse Saves The World...Again."
- Americans Are Cowboys:
- Played straight in "The Trip to America", in which the only American DM 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
- Animation Bump: For the show's low budgets, DM's dance for the tickleohippuses in "Multiplication Fable" was quite fluid.
- 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.
- Bad Bad Acting:
- At the beginning of "The Four Tasks of Danger Mouse", Greenback reveals to Danger Mouse that he is behind Penfold's kidnapping, and shows him a live feed of Penfold in his cell. Penfold claims he is being treated well, but the fact that he makes this claim in an awkward, wooden monotone clearly indicates that he is just saying what he has been told to say (if the occasional prompting from Greenback wasn't enough of a giveaway):Danger Mouse: Penfold! Are you all right?
Penfold: (monotone) I'm - being - treated - well.
Greenback: Good, good!
Penfold: (still monotone) The frost in my cell is very pretty, I am not hungry anyway, and, erm, erm...
Greenback: And the beetles!
Penfold: Oh yes. And the beetles are awfully friendly.
- In the last act of "The Duel," after Penfold has been hypnotized by "Madame Stiletto" — not just monotone, but also in "Madame's" fake Roma accent:Penfold: I want-a to go-a for a ride on-a Big Dipper.
DM: Yes, yes, alright, we're on the Big Dipper!
Penfold: An' I-a will not-a tell-a you... it is-a a trap!
DM: Alright! Then don't!
- DM and Penfold do the opening of "Bandits, Beans And Ballyhoo" when Isombard storms off. Their dialogue is delivered hammily and slowly.DM: (gestures to the lift) Come on, erm... Penfold, my faithful assistant!
Penfold: (clears throat) I'm coming, Danger Mouse. 'Cor, it's nice to be back in the Mayfair headquarters of the world's greatest secret agent! (he indicates DM, who mugs at the camera and shows off his badge)
DM: Yes. Although that holiday in Mexico was most enjoyable. (Penfold shows the "Mexico" label on their luggage)
Penfold: Yes. It certainly was, Danger Mouse.
- At the beginning of "The Four Tasks of Danger Mouse", Greenback reveals to Danger Mouse that he is behind Penfold's kidnapping, and shows him a live feed of Penfold in his cell. Penfold claims he is being treated well, but the fact that he makes this claim in an awkward, wooden monotone clearly indicates that he is just saying what he has been told to say (if the occasional prompting from Greenback wasn't enough of a giveaway):
- Be Careful What You Wish For: After DM causes the Mega-Brain computer to blow up in "Mechanised Mayhem," it eventually stops Greenback's travel device from attacking their HQ. Greenback wants a bigger and better computer, and the Mega-Brain computer crash lands on top of him and Stiletto.Stiletto: Oh, well...it-a could been worse, Baroni.
Greenback: How worse, you dolt?
Stiletto: Well, ya coulda wanted the Q.E. II! (they both laugh, but then they hear a steamship horn; they glance up, groan "Oh, no!" as the Q.E. II lands on top of them)
- Big Bad: Baron Silas Greenback. In the 1979 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.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Featured in "The Four Tasks Of Danger Mouse" and "Bigfoot Falls."
- 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 Pinball Projectiles off the edges of the gallery, hitting every target, including one last ricochet that takes a long pause to arrive.
- In their first scene of "The Bad Luck Eye of the Little Yellow God", DM and Penfold are playing snooker. DM is lining up his shot when the alarm heralding an incoming message from Colonel K sounds, causing him to miscue wildly... and still manage to pot all six coloured balls, in the correct order (yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, black).Colonel K: Ah, DM. D'you believe in luck?
DM: Luck? Good heavens, no, sir!
Penfold: (indignant) What, after a shot like that!?
- 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 Gleneagles was just a fluke.
- Bizarro Universe: The Tower of Terror. Also, "Rhyme And Punishment" and the "potty part of the Universe" in "Custard."
- Blind Without 'Em: Penfold. Well, he is a very molish-looking hamster. Hamsters are in general very near-sighted (and color-blind to boot). Possibly an example of Shown Their Work.
- Bowdlerise: Stiletto's lines for international shows were re-recorded with a different accent to avoid offence. See Accent Adaptation.
- Bragging Theme Tune: Possibly the most bragging theme tune ever: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.
- Call Back: In "Penfold Transformed," Greenback plants Stiletto in a Penfold costume with Danger Mouse and refers to the mistake he made creating too many in "Tiptoe Through The Penfolds."
- Cartoon Bomb: You know what you're in for after the opening credits.
- Catchphrase: "Oooh, crumbs!", "Good grief", "Penfold, shush", "Si, Baroni" ("Roight, Baroni" for Americans), "You're not laughing" etc. etc. Everyone gets one.
- "Ah, good show, D.M!"
- 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.
- Cliffhanger: The stories in Series 2-4 aired in five minute segments every weekday. The first four episodes generally ended with a cliffhanger over a To Be Continued screen, and at the beginning of the next day's episode, the narrator would deliver a Previously On summary to remind viewers where they were the previous day. For example, Episodes 4 and 5 of "Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind" are bridged by a scene in which Penfold is sucked out of the airlock of a spaceship:Narrator: (at the end of Episode 4) Is Penfold destined to be the first Penfold to go where no Penfold has gone before? Can Danger Mouse get him back? Can our heroes escape from their alien captors? Will the guard lose his no-claim bonus on his hoverpod? And where is Baron Greenback? To find out, tune in next time to Danger Mouse in "Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind"!
(at the beginning of Episode 5) Colonel K warns Danger Mouse that the evil Baron Greenback is out to steal the Big Ear tracking station. But as he tries to seek out the evildoers, Penfold disappears in midair! About to be destroyed by Greenback's missile, Danger Mouse is sucked miraculously out of its path, and held prisoner by the strange creatures who idiotnapped Penfold. Mistakenly believing that they have been captured by the Baron, our heroes escape their captors, but while searching for a door to the outside, are once more parted! Will they ever meet again? Stay tuned for Part 5 of "Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind"!
- Clip Show: "Demons Aren't Dull" uses scenes from previous episodes in the segment where DM is being humiliated on a testimonial show. "The Return Of Count Duckula" uses a slightly altered segment from "The Four Tasks Of Danger Mouse."
- 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.
- Description Cut: From the opening of "Dream Machine":Narrator: Springtime in England, on a day unlike any other. (a sparkling green cloud floats over the Houses of Parliament) For on this day, that crown prince of malevolent ne'er-do-wells, Baron Silas Greenback, cast an evil shadow across the country's capital, starting a chain of events that were to develop to nightmarish proportions for the world's greatest detective. (exterior shot of DM's pillarbox bearing a note saying "No milk today. Thank you") Who, even now, stands in readiness, coiled like a panther, ready to spring to the defence of the weak and the helpless!
(inside DM's pillarbox, DM and Penfold are sprawled across the sofa, fast asleep)
Narrator: (irritated) ... I said, "coiled like a panther, ready to spring"- oh, forget it...
- Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Baron Greenback invokes this trope in "The Duel", most notably in the car race. And, as with Dick Dastardly, his pauses to cheat end up costing him victory (albeit deliberately so) in some of the events.
- The Dragon: Stiletto.
- Evil Sounds Raspy: Baron Silas Greenback, bordering on Vader Breath.
- 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
- Face-Heel Turn: DM in "Public Enemy No. 1". Greenback makes DM think he's a bandit called the White Shadow and sends him on a crime spree. Unfortunately for all involved, including Greenback, DM turns out to be just as good at committing crimes as he usually is at stopping them.
- "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: "The Invasion of Colonel K" centres around Greenback shrinking himself, Nero, and Stiletto down to microscopic size to literally get into Colonel K's brain and learn all the state secrets he knows. DM and Penfold are also shrunk down to microscopic size to go in after them.
- Filming For Easy Dub: The low animation budget means that characters often speak when seen from behind or in silhouette or otherwise with their mouths obscured, especially in the early series. This is most obvious in scenes taking place in Danger Mouse's car; Penfold can only be seen from the nose up, while DM frequently turns his head at just the right angle to hide his mouth while speaking.
- Flying Car: The Mk. III converts instantly between driving on the road and flying through the air by deploying (or retracting) a set of wings.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: In "Danger Mouse On The Orient Express", a number of signs indicating cities the train is going through are passed by rapidly. The last one is the sign for the Willesden Green tube station.
- Funny Animal: The whole cast. DM is a mouse, Penfold and his aunt are hamsters, Greenback is a toad, Stiletto is a crow and Colonel K. is...er, either a chinchilla or chinchilla disguised as a walrus.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Extremely rare, but not unknown.
- The fog monster of old London Town in "The Four Tasks Of Danger Mouse" disguises himself as a bath house where DM is taking a shower. The fog monster dissipates leaving DM in front of us, bare-bottomed.
- DM delivers this couplet in "Penfold B.F." as Penfold (as inept 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." In the same episode he also refers to Lars Bosom (large bosom).
- The Ghost:
- Colonel K's secretary, Miss Boathook.
- DM's French lady friend Fifi, whom he doesn't like to talk about.
- Got Me Doing It: In "Chicken Run", the character of Flying Officer Buggles Pigeon is a parody of the stereotypical upper class RAF officer, and his Verbal Tic of ending sentences with "what?" is both confusing and, apparently, contagious:Buggles: Good show, what?
Penfold: You said "what".
Buggles: No, you said "what".
Penfold: (irritated) Because you... said "what".
Buggles: Hm? Jolly confusing, what?
DM: What? (groans) Oh, this- I'm at it now!
- Grand Finale: "The Intergalactic 147".
- Heel-Face Turn: "The Ultra Secret Secret" has Greenback presumably wanting to join forces with Danger Mouse in staving off an alien attack. Subverted in that the alien attack is Greenback's ruse to lure DM and Penfold to their doom.
- Heroic BSOD: Several episodes or serials end in ways DM and/or Penfold were not anticipating, causing one or both of them to shut down in some way.
- In "Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind", DM spends the serial convinced that his and Penfold's stint on Dr. Zokk's spaceship is just part of an elaborate scheme by Greenback, pretending to be Dr. Zokk himself. However, in the episode's final scene, he is confronted by Greenback in the Frog's Head Flyer... which is then abducted by Dr. Zokk to continue his Earthling anatomy lessons. After spending a moment with a Thousand-Yard Stare, DM laughs nervously and then passes out, leaving Penfold trying to bring him round.
- In "The Odd Ball Runaround", DM and Penfold have spent the serial scrambling to retrieve a rugby ball containing secret plans from Greenback's castle. When they finally get back to London, Colonel K tells them that they are planning to send Greenback a set of decoy plans while they get the real plans off the ground... and the decoy plans are the ones in the rugby ball. Penfold is so distraught he breaks down sobbing and has to be consoled by Danger Mouse.
- At the end of "Penfold B.F.", DM and Penfold have finally caught the Patagonian pygmy pigeon being used as a carrier pigeon, and Colonel K has decoded the message the pigeon was carrying... which turns out to advise against using Patagonian pygmy pigeons as messengers, as they have no sense of direction. DM and Penfold groan and faint dead away.
- 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 during the To Be Continued segments at the end of the first four parts of the five-part serials, but they show up everywhere. Some juicy ones, to boot.
- From "The Man From GADGET":
- 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".
- Almost everything the rebellious machines say in "Mechanised Mayhem" is some sort of appliance or electricity pun.
- When Danger Mouse and Penfold find their flat's appliances have unionised:Telephone: My comrades and I have risen against exploitation to cast off our domestic bondage! We're sick of being picked up and put down!
Vacuum Cleaner: Or being pushed around!
Iron: Or being hard pressed!
Television: And stared at!
Mixer: From now on, we shall stir things up! (spins his beaters)
Kettle: Let off steam! (does so)
Telephone: And speak for ourselves! From now on, we are the rulers!
12-Inch Ruler: Especially me!note
- Later, during the appliances' rally in Trafalgar Square:Telephone: Now, let me give you the lead! We must show these humans watt's watt!
Danger Mouse: Penfold, there's only one way to stop that thing plugging his points.
Penfold: What's that, Chief?
Danger Mouse: Sock-et. (...)
Telephone: Look out! 'Amp-ere them all you can!
Vacuum Cleaners: Okay! Charge! (they race after Penfold; Danger Mouse grabs the telephone, which makes strangled gasps)
Danger Mouse: Aha! So sorry, you've been cut off!
Vacuum Cleaners: (having cornered Penfold) Ha! This one's in the bag!
Penfold: Ahhh! Oooh! Oooh crikey!
Danger Mouse: Don't get taken in, Penfold!
Penfold: (to camera) Any more jokes like that and it'd be almost worth it!
- When Danger Mouse and Penfold find their flat's appliances have unionised:
- Really bad puns are duly lampshaded, like this one from "Tut Tut, It's Not Pharaoh":DM: (to mummy parking lot attendant) We're looking for the amulet of Eggonophus.
Mummy: Have you tried the Pyramids of Cheops?
Mummy: Better step on it, then.
DM: Why's that?
Mummy: The Cheops shut at half past five. Ha, ha...ha ha ha ha.
DM: (long suffering) Good grief. That joke's worse than one of yours, Penfold.
- Hypocritical Humour:
- The Penfold robot in "Penfold Transformed", after DM wonders aloud if he's all right because he's smart, helpful and not cracking stupid jokes:Penfold robot: (Turns to the camera) He's talking to a crowd of invisible people and he's asking if I'm alright?
- In "The Spy Who Stayed In With a Cold", Danger Mouse claims he's the most modest secret agent.
- From "Where There's a Well, There's a Way":DM: Come on, Penfold. You'll have people laughing at you.
Penfold: (to us) So what does he think this is? King Lear?
- The Penfold robot in "Penfold Transformed", after DM wonders aloud if he's all right because he's smart, helpful and not cracking stupid jokes:
- Immune to Mind Control: When Danger Mouse and Penfold go up against the sinister Count Duckula, there's a running joke about Penfold being immune to the Count's mind control powers.Duckula: You are getting very sleepy...
Penfold: No, I'm not.
- Inexplicably Identical Individuals:
- Danger Mouse meets his evil self in "The Good, the Bad and the Motionless".DM: I'm not going to be pushed around by two percent of me!
- In "The Spy Who Stayed In With A Cold", Agent 57 turns himself into DM as DM himself is held hostage by the Motorized Mongols.
- The thousand clones of Penfold in "Tiptoe Through the Penfolds". Also the thousand clones of DM in "The Dream Machine", created as Penfold said "Danger Mouse" a thousand times.
- Danger Mouse meets his evil self in "The Good, the Bad and the Motionless".
- Inexplicably Tailless: Danger Mouse is Type 1. Not so inexplicable when you consider what he does for a living.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Tennis star John McEnroe is caricatured as a robot in "Duckula Meets Frankenstoat".
- Is This Thing Still On?: In "The Invasion of Colonel K", one of Greenback's first acts inside Colonel K's body is to take over his voice box and manipulate him into telling Danger Mouse and Penfold that they're fired because of government cutbacks. After telling them they'll also have to leave the flat they've been provided, Greenback takes a moment to gloat:Greenback: Hee hee hee hee! Victory at last!
Colonel K: Hee hee hee hee, victory at last.
Greenback: Ah. (presses button) Forgot to switch off.
- Kneel Before Zod:
- Baron Greenback's purpose in "Viva Danger Mouse" is to plant cactus needles in the seat cushions of the world's dignitaries so "I can bring them to their feet before bringing them to their knees!"
- In "Danger Mouse On The Orient Express", DM exclaims that Greenback's plans to eliminate all of Europe's tourist sites and force tourists to visit his museum of Barry Manilow record sleeves will "bring the world to its knees!"
- Last Name Basis: DM's assistant's full name is Ernest Penfold, but he's only ever addressed by his last name.
- 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.
- 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.
- All the animation in "Danger Mouse Saves The World...Again", except for that of Greenback's congress of evil doers and DM waking up from the episode-long dream, is either repeat animation from previous episodes or stock animation.
- Apparently an unusual number of episodes were set in the Arctic or other snowbound scenes because they required less colouring in.
- Animation was done on paper and cels larger than that traditional 10-field size for TV and short subject animation. Many scenes had the characters animated very small to save on ink and paint with the camera zoomed in on them. This would also cut down on the risk of the cels' edges showing in case of a pan left or right.
- Lazy writer: some of the dialogue from the middle of "All Fall Down" is reused tracks from series 1 episodes, most notably from "The Strange Case Of The Ghost Bus". Likewise, the golf scene in "Afternoon Off With The Fangboner" is reanimated for "Pillow Fright" but it uses the same dialogue tracks.
- Left the Background Music On:
- The first episode of "The Bad Luck Eye of the Little Yellow God" features Colonel K trying to bring DM up to speed on Greenback's theft of the title object:Colonel K: We've had a report about your adversary, Baron Silas Greenback! (dramatic piano sting)
Penfold: Not Greenback, sir? (dramatic piano sting)
Colonel K: Yes, Penfold - Greenback! (dramatic piano sting) Our people in Brazil say he's stolen an ancient charm from a remote mountain tribe!
Colonel K: It's a strange emerald called the Bad Luck Eye of the Little Yellow God! (dramatic piano sting; Colonel K angrily turns to his intercom) Look, Miss Prendergast, would you mind doing your piano practice somewhere else!?
Miss Prendergast: (over intercom) Sorry, Colonel!
- "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 Background Music. 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.
- The first episode of "The Bad Luck Eye of the Little Yellow God" features Colonel K trying to bring DM up to speed on Greenback's theft of the title object:
- Leitmotif: One episode has a mole who speaks with a "Yorkshire miner" stereotype accent; whenever he's on screen, Dvorak's "New World Symphony" (inextricably associated with Yorkshire poverty through Hovis adverts) plays in the background.
- Lemony Narrator: Eventually named as Isambard Sinclair, the narrator (voiced by David Jason) is constantly grumbling about how ridiculous the stories are, and how narrating for the series is destroying his chances of ever being taken seriously as an announcer.Narrator: And with that, we say farewell to our chances of ever being on Radio 3.note (Sigh.) By the way, the management point out that you park in front of a Danger Mouse transmission at your own risk. Claims for carpet elbow and mass hysteria cannot be entertained. (Well, why should they? You weren't. Hmph!) And all that leaves me to say is, "Look out for our next Danger Mouse adventure!" And I do mean that.
- Logic Bomb:
- In "Planet of the Cats", DM is confronted by a giant robot dog, and asks it, "What's big, grey, and has sixteen wheels?" The robot dog is so confused by the question that it begins repeating "Inaccurate! Inaccurate!" over and over while DM makes his escape. Eventually, however, the dog "defuses" the logic bomb and confronts Danger Mouse as he prepares to return to the present, demanding to know the answer... only to end up in another situation it cannot process.Robot Dog: Go on then. What is big, grey, and has sixteen wheels?
DM: Oh! (chuckles) What's big and grey and has sixtee- it's an elephant on roller skates!
Robot Dog: Grey: correct. (sound of something large approaching) Wheels: logic rejection! No such- (CRASH) AHHHOWWWOOOOH!!
(the large approaching object is revealed as an elephant on roller skates which has crashed into the dog)
Elephant: What the 'eck are you doing parked on a freeway!?
Robot Dog: Impossible. You not exist.
Elephant: Are you callin' me a figment of your imagination?! Stupid clockwork...
Robot Dog: Microchip. Random access. Random access. (begins babbling)
Elephant: Oh, shut up!
- At the climax of "Mechanised Mayhem", DM and Penfold track down the supercomputer behind the appliance rebellion. When it asks where Penfold's subroutines are and declares his answer that they're in a drawer next to his woolly vests to be "illogical", DM offers the computer a routine. He and Penfold proceed to recite the classic "My dog has no nose" joke, and the resulting logic bomb literally explodes, blowing the computer sky high.
- In "Gremlin Alert", DM defeats the Gremlin ("the living embodiment of anti-logic") with a classic "how can you be agreeing with me when gremlins always contradict people?" bomb.
- In "Planet of the Cats", DM is confronted by a giant robot dog, and asks it, "What's big, grey, and has sixteen wheels?" The robot dog is so confused by the question that it begins repeating "Inaccurate! Inaccurate!" over and over while DM makes his escape. Eventually, however, the dog "defuses" the logic bomb and confronts Danger Mouse as he prepares to return to the present, demanding to know the answer... only to end up in another situation it cannot process.
- Long Runner: The original run lasted ten seasons and one hundred and sixty five episodes between 1981 and 1992.
- Malaproper: Colonel K lists the New York City landmarks that have disappeared in "The Statue Of Liberty Caper"—Yonkee Studio, Umpire State Building, and the Giggleheim Museum.
- The Man Behind the Curtain: The title world in "The Planet of the Cats" is ruled by Greenback's great-great-etc.-nephew (who happens to look and sound identical to his great-great-etc.-uncle, complete with a caterpillar called Nero), posing as feline leader Big Leo. DM discovers the true identity of "Big Leo" and uses this information to get out of being cornered by the cats so that he can rescue Penfold. The cats are not happy to find out they have been taking orders from a toad:(the door to future Greenback's inner sanctum almost caves in)
Future Greenback: Now what!?
Cat Soldier: 'Ey! C'mon, come outta there! Come outta there, yer double crosser!
(on the other side of the door, we see a brigade of cat soldiers hitting the door with a battering ram)
Cat Soldier: I'll give you "Big Leo", you tuppenny-ha'penny toad!
- Meaningful Name:
- With a side order of Genius Bonus as well. Early pillarboxes were known as "Penfolds" after their designer.
- It's been said that master of disguise Agent 57 was so named as a reference to the Heinz company and its "57 varieties."
- Medium Awareness: Mostly DM.DM: Sometimes, Penfold, I wish I were just drawing the cartoons, not starring in them.
- Modern Major General: Colonel K.
- 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.
- "Where There's a Well, There's a Way" punches a giant hole through the fourth wall in the opening scene and spends most of the episode looking out of it.(as confusion between the word "dowser" and the phrase "now, sir" causes problems between DM and Colonel K)
Penfold: (to audience) Erm, I'm sorry about this, I think it's what we call "a breakdown in communication". Just chat amongst yourselves for a couple of minutes while they get it sorted out!
Colonel K: OH! You mean the dowser! Am I sending it now, sir, er, erm, DM! Er, yes! Exactly!
Penfold: (beams) Ah! There you are!
Danger Mouse: Penfold, who are you talking to?
Penfold: Er - no one, chief. Well, I hope it's not no one, chief, but, um, no one, er, chief.
- In "Tower of Terror", DM even falls off the edge of the film.
- "Where There's a Well, There's a Way" punches a giant hole through the fourth wall in the opening scene and spends most of the episode looking out of it.
- Not Now, Kiddo: "Shush!"
- Not So Above It All: DM might be the 'Greatest Secret Agent in the World', but with a show like Danger Mouse he's not immune from the craziness. This is generally restricted to bad puns at inappropriate moments and walking into traps because he's not paying attention to the obvious.
- Oh, Crap:
- Combines with Expressive Ears in "Trouble With Ghosts"; DM opens a door and a skeletal hand points a gun at him. As DM turns to give the camera a worried look, his ears droop.
- In "The Four Tasks of Danger Mouse", DM tries to knock out the yeti while he sleeps by pushing a large boulder onto him from a clifftop. However, the yeti's breath is so powerful that he simply blows the boulder back to the clifftop. Danger Mouse groans "Oh, no..." and gives the camera a look that would do Wile E. Coyote proud as the boulder falls toward him.
- Combines with Expressive Ears again in "The Wild, Wild Goose Chase" in the second use of the Running Gag of DM getting stuck in a hole... straight through the "ceiling" of an underground-dwelling night shift worker who gets rid of DM by biting his legs and sending him jumping into the air in pain. The second time this happens, we hear, "'Ey, Gladys, look what's dropped in! I think this character's following us around!" DM groans, "Oh no, not again..." as his ears droop to cover his face seconds before he leaps into the air in agony.
- 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 unto the breach" speech at the Battle of Agincourt.)
- Orient Express and Thriller on the Express: "Danger Mouse on the Orient Express"
- Overly Long Gag: Every time Grovelnote hears his name mentioned.
- Painting the Medium: In "The Clock Strikes Back", the narrator's opening spiel is full of typos, as they have a new script typist, and this soon spreads to the dialogue as well (though the in-universe explanation is that Miss Boathook, Colonel K's secretary, is on holiday and her replacement is none too competent, even DM and Penfold speak in typos):Narrator: Lodnod. Commrecial cnetre of- oh, dear, I'm awfully sorry, it's the new typist again. (clears throat) London, commercial centre of the nation. Home too of the pillarbix, one of which, standing snetinel on Beker Stroot, is home of the world's greatest secret agnet, Dnager Muose. (Good grief...)
DM: (holding a piece of paper) Good grief, Penfold! I can't make any sense of this letter! Who on Earth typed the blessed thing?
(later, after they have received their mission details from Colonel K)
DM: Right, Colonel, we're on our woe! Er, on our wag! Er... oh, come on, Penfold.
Penfold: Oh, crimbs...
(later still, at the end of the episode, after they have completed their mission)
Colonel K: Mind you, the police is in a bite of a mouse.
DM: I'm sorry, Colonel?
Colonel K: I mean, the palace is in a boot of a moose.
DM: I beg your pardon, sir?
Penfold: I think he means that the place is in a bit of a mess.
Colonel K: Yes, drat it, it's that wretched tie pin again!
DM: You mean typist, sir?
Colonel K: Yes, well, isn't that what I said?
DM, Penfold: Oh, good gruef!
Narrator: And so we come to the ned of another thrulling advetnure as our erhoes, the Whote Winder and Pefnold, cockle the farces of evli. Don't miss the neck extracting institlement of Dnager Muose!
Colonel K: Come home, Miss Boathook, all is frogriven!
- 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.
- This exchange from "The Hickory Dickory Dock Dilemma" references a certain popular time travel series: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".
- This exchange from "The Hickory Dickory Dock Dilemma" references a certain popular time travel series:
- 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."
- An extremely mild case, from "The Wild Wild Goose Chase" with DM and Penfold traversing a desert.
- The Professor: Professor Heinrich von Squakencluck.
- Puff of Logic: In "Once Upon a Timeslip", 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 was hoping you wouldn't say that until we'd landed.
Penfold: Why's that, chief?
(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" delivers the narration for the Robin Hood parody in verse.
- Penfold in "Penfold B.F." after he takes an untested super vitamin pill and turns into superhero The Blue Flash:
- 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!!
- "Turn Of The Tide" has the running gag of Penfold squawking about his missing toy clockwork paddleboat.
- "Duckula Meets Frankenstoat" cracks a spoonerism of "a block of flats" instead of "a flock of bats" (which Dr. Frankenstoat's machine is to create). The cast repeats and lampshades it twice.
- "One Of Our Stately Homes Is Missing": Penfold's "I knew I shouldn't have asked!"
- In the final series, Greenback activates a "Hit Box", which conks Stiletto on the head three times whenever he says or does something stupid.
- Schmuck Bait: "The Dream Machine" features a carefully-laid schmuck bait trap set by Greenback:Greenback: Oh, and one last thing, Penfold. Don't, whatever you do, say "rock". (disappears)
(a rock falls out of thin air and hits DM on the head; it sprouts legs and a mouth and runs off, laughing silently as DM turns to glare at Penfold)
Penfold: I don't get it, Danger Mouse, I only said "rock".
(a second rock falls out of thin air; DM tries to dodge it, only for it to stop in midair, sprout arms, and hit DM repeatedly over the head with a large sausage. Greenback can be heard laughing as Penfold gives the camera a surprised look)
DM: Look, Penfold, just don't say... R-O-C-K.
(steel-plated letters spelling ROCK appear one at a time, then a train whistle sounds as they trundle off screen... and then across the background... and then we hear four offscreen crashes as DM yelps in pain)
DM: (from under the pile of steel-plated letters) Penfold...
Penfold: Yes, sir?
DM: Have you got anything for a headache, Penfold?...
- Scooby-Dooby Doors:
- When DM and Penfold are first abducted by the title object in "The Dream Machine", Greenback explains his fiendish plans for them as they stand at the end of two long rows of doors, while various bizarre creatures run out of one door and into another (in at least one case, the same creatures rush then rush out of a different door and into yet another one).
- "Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind" features several chase sequences involving DM and Penfold trying to escape the guards on Dr. Zokk's spaceship using a hoverpod; in some shots, we see several parallel walkways as the various chasers appear on first one, then another, and then another (complete with variations in the "order of procession"), while in other shots, we see a top-down view of a room with four doors as the chasers repeatedly emerge from different doors than the ones they entered.
- Sdrawkcab Alias: Dlofnep the Magnificent in "The Hickory Dickory Dock Dilemma" is a future Penfold ("Dlofnep" backwards for) who rules London!!
- The series title is a shout out to Danger Man.
- "Custard" has a scene that calls out to the final Death Star battle scene in Star Wars, as well as a sequence in which DM plays a life-size game of Space Invaders.
- "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 Hitchhiker's 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?"
- "Custard" has them get lost in a pink hole and find "a time-traveler's potting shed." The same episode also spoofs Alien—a Facehugger attaches itself to Penfold, but only to give him a big, sloppy kiss.
- "Demons Aren't Dull" features DM being cornered for a rather cruel edition of This is Your Life (engineered by Greenback, who is otherwise not involved in the story) in which some of his previous achievements are twisted to look like failures through Manipulative Editing. The presenter's voice uses both the Dublin accent and the vocal mannerisms of then-TIYL presenter Eamonn Andrews.
- "Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind" is, naturally, a spoof of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and one of its recurring music cues is a Suspiciously Similar Song to the five-note theme from the film.note Dr. Zokk's spaceship is also accompanied by "Sunrise" from Also Sprach Zarathustra whenever it appears, in homage to its use in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- From "Beware of Mexicans Delivering Milk":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, Björn Borg, Jimmy Connors, the Rolling Stones, Fred Astaire and Barry Manilow have also had their names dropped on the show.
- In "Rhyme And Punishment", Penfold writes (or attempts to write) his life story, using an Alistair MacLean book as a blueprint.DM: (reading what Penfold has written) "Once upin a tome, there was a homster, who lived his pfriend, a white moose." (quietly, to us) Alistair MacLean, eat your heart out!
- There are several episodes where the narrator grumbles about his job preventing him from being taken seriously, and ensuring that he will never be surprised by Eamonn Andrews with the big red book for This is Your Life.
- In "Ants, Trees And...Whoops-A-Daisy," DM is hesitant to rescue Penfold from the ant tribe holding him captive so they may sacrifice his eyebrows, because there are lots of them and only one DM. He tells Penfold that what he really needs is the Magnificent Seven.
- Spin-Off: Count Duckula first appeared in Danger Mouse as a villain.
- Stereo Fibbing: In the original pilot episode, "The Mystery of the Lost Chord", Danger Mouse and Penfold are sent to Scotland to investigate the mass bagpipe rustling going on, but are given a cover story as journalists investigating the Loch Ness Monster. When they arrive at their hotel, the innkeeper asks what story they're researching.DM: The Loch Ness Monster! (shows picture of same)
Penfold: (overlapping) The missing bagpipes! (shows picture of bagpipes)
(DM and Penfold look embarrassed)
DM: The missing bagpipes! (shows picture of bagpipes)
Penfold: (overlapping) The Loch Ness Monster! (shows picture of same)
(they look even more embarrassed and quickly throw the pictures aside)
- 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.
- In "Where There's a Well, There's a Way", the scroll telling where to find Merlin's inkwell and make a wish upon it seemed to know what Penfold was going to say next.
- The episode "Duckula Meets Frankenstoat" features a taped transmission from Colonel K:
- 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: (flushing several shades of red with rage) I...HATE...THAT...TOAD!!!
- Toilet Humor: Implied and averted in "Where There's a Well, There's a Way" when DM and Penfold lose a water-detecting device en route to finding Merlin's mystic inkwell:Penfold: It's not my fault, DM. You left the bathroom door open. It went straight down the—
DM: I know where it went Penfold...
- To the Batpole!: The couch cum express lift down to the garage. Averted twice, in "Mechanised Mayhem" (when the lift is one of the rebelling machines) and "Viva Danger Mouse" (when the lift is out of commission); both times, they have to take the stairs, to Penfold's relief.
- Villain Exit Stage Left: Several stories end with Greenback, having seen his evil plans come to nothing, deciding to cut his losses and just leave.
- In "Trouble With Ghosts", Greenback decides to pack it in after watching DM unmask the various monsters in the castle as robots, which he then disables.
- When a giant gorilla shows up halfway through "The Tower of Terror", Greenback decides to abandon his plans to use the tower's traps to get the better of DM and flies off in the Frog's Head Flyer.
- After his brainwashing device is switched off in "Hear! Hear!" and DM prepares to confront him, Greenback flips a switch and the tower of his home in which he is hiding takes off like a rocket.
- Visual Pun: In "The Dream Machine", Penfold falls through a trap door after mentioning the word "trap". Danger Mouse asks him what he does when he's frightened. Penfold shouts back, "I scream!" He promptly lands in a giant goblet of... ice cream.
- Waking Non Sequitur: An example from "The Dream Machine":(DM and Penfold are fast asleep when the alarm sounds, heralding an incoming message from Colonel K)
DM: (sits bolt upright) Penfold! Penfold, wake up, man!
Penfold: (sits up) Er - ooh! The egg's done! No! Er, the milkman wants his money! Er, no! It's, er-
DM: Penfold, shush! It's Colonel K!
- Weather Control Machine: One of Greenback's many plots for World Domination ("The Next Ice Age Begins At Midnight").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?
- Who Would Want to Watch Us?: From "All Fall Down", when DM and Penfold confront Mac the Fork's brother Mac the Spoon: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.
Mac The Spoon: Oh, jangs! We canna' have that! Um...who are all these viewers?
Penfold: Well, there's a chap in Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, two blokes from Wentworth, and a bod from Winkley Woods.note
- Wild Take: Penfold is often rather animated (in every sense of the word) when he is scared (which is often). A particularly good example happens when he and DM are confronted by three vampires in "Trouble With Ghosts":Penfold: (face right in the camera) Ahh! Vampires! Help, help! (runs back towards the dead end of the corridor and collides with the wall) Mum! Mummy! Mum! Dad! (jumps halfway up the wall, then onto the ceiling) Ooh! Ahh! Ooh! (jumps over to a grating and tries to pull it open) Vampires, help! (jumps over to another wall and tries to scramble up it with his bare hands) Save me! Oohohh! Oh, please! (begins running back and forth up the corridor) Somebody do something, oooh!
DM: (who has been watching Penfold's meltdown while leaning casually against the wall) Well done, Penfold, don't let them see you're frightened.
- You Can Panic Now: In 'Tower of Terror', Penfold lands next to some wolf-thing.Penfold: Ooh, crumbs! Good thing I know what to do... PANIC! (runs away)
Wolf: (turns to the camera) Ooh, honestly! Whatever happened to the art of conversation?
- Your Costume Needs Work: Penfold was once introduced as "Penfold, bronze medal winner in the Penfold Lookalike Competition".
- 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.