It's been over two decades since cartoon secret agent Danger Mouse fought dastardly villains in London, but now he's back with a new series on CBBC with his trusty hamster sidekick Penfold. We caught up with Alexander Armstrong, the new voice of Danger Mouse...
How brilliant is it to be the new voice of Danger Mouse?
"I suppose this is the closest I'll ever get to being James Bond, one of my dream roles. Danger Mouse is the next best thing in the secret agent world, so I've got to be happy!"
Is it difficult to be replacing the voice of someone like David Jason, who was Danger Mouse the last time?
"I loved David Jason and Terry Scott voicing Danger Mouse and Penfold before, and if you look carefully you can see a very small tribute to them on screen. I've not been in touch with David Jason - perhaps after it's been shown he might get in touch, I'd definitely like to hear from him and we can compare notes on being Danger Mouse. I'd like to think I've given Danger Mouse the tone of David Jason."
Did you love the original?
"Yes and everyone involved was very respectful of the original and where it has hauled itself into the 20th century, it hasn't done it at the expense of the orginal spirit. I think after it's been shown I'll go back and watch some of the original episodes. It was such a classic series and I can't believe they made 160 episodes. It's incredible. Danger Mouse has the unique thing of being a cartoon that has appeal across age groups and that's mainly because it's so anarchic in places and full of unexpected twists, as well as being hilariously funny."
Why do you think now is the right time for Danger Mouse to make a comeback?
"No one could ever tire of the show, because of how funny it is and the pure escapism, so it's good to bring it to a new younger audience who wouldn't have known the original, but also appeal to those who remember the previous series. It's definitely one for all the family to enjoy together. It's nice to have a show coming back full circle. This was a British cartoon series that became big in America too."
How much fun was it doing the voice work, particularly with Kevin Eldon as the sidekick Penfold?
"Enormously. And we could even do a bit of ad-libbing if it worked, as we did the voices before the cartoon was made, but we didn't really have to because the scripts were so well tempered. I think we knew from our knowledge and love of Danger Mouse how this new version should be done!"
Did you really want to do Danger Mouse because you were a fan, or because you were a dad?
"All of the above actually! First and foremost though because it's Danger Mouse. It's such a subversive cartoon series, it was the first of the really cool British cartoons which was knowing and clever. It wasn't only anarchic in it's storytelling but anarchic back then in that it didn’t bother with high production values – it was all in the characters and stories…This wasn't a slick but anodyne series like a lot of the American stuff of the era. It wasn't polished. It was shonky but just brilliantly funny. Our version is a bit shinier but still a bit shonky if you catch my drift…"
Danger Mouse begins on CBBC on Monday September 28.
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