Alexander Armstrong: Danger Mouse role is a dream come true
Comedian Alexander Armstrong has said starring in the new CBBC version of Danger Mouse is "a dream come true".
Talking to the Radio Times, the presenter of popular BBC One quiz show Pointless hailed the return of the much-loved animated series.
He will play the show's title character, originally voiced by David Jason in the Cosgrove Hall production that ran between 1981 and 1992.
"I was a big fan of Danger Mouse," Armstrong said. "If you could have interviewed me then and said to young Alexander Armstrong, 'One day your job will be to do the voices for Danger Mouse,' I think my response would have been Wow!' For that boy, this is a dream come true."
An affectionate spoof of Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, Danger Mouse depicts the adventures of a London-based, eye patch-wearing, secret-agent mouse.
The new series of the cult classic co-stars comedian Kevin Eldon as sidekick Penfold, voiced in the original ITV series by the late Terry Scott.
Shauna MacDonald of The Descent fame will voice new character Professor Squawkencluck - the niece of the original professor.
Stephen Fry has been signed up as pompous veteran spy Colonel K, formerly played by The Archers star Edward Kelsey, who also voiced amphibious villain Baron Silas Greenback during the ITV run (actor Ed Gaughan takes on that role in the revival).
Pointless co-host and co-creator Richard Osman will also appear in Danger Mouse as boffin Professor Strontium Jellyfishowitz - a faceless jellyfish in a motorised fish tank. He praised the original Danger Mouse as ideal family viewing. "The best children's television has that quality," he told the Radio Times. "Sitting in front of the television with your mum and dad can be a really happy thing."
Armstrong had equally strong memories of children's television of yesteryear: "Some of it was stonky and some was just odd. Take Roobarb: it was chaotic and jaggedy. The animation, the music - the whole thing was a slap in the face in every sense."
He recalled BBC One's long-running children's series Blue Peter as "what we set the rhythm of the week by" and mentioned 1980s cartoon Willo the Wisp, voiced by Carry On star Kenneth Williams, to which Osman added: "The British were great at those short animated shows for children."
The duo also reflected on Doctor Who: "We were the Tom Baker period. Then from him it went into Peter Davison. I think I stayed for that jump, but Baker was a great Doctor," said Osman.
He added: "I liked the way they navigated from the afternoon into the light-entertainment shows in the evening via something like The Dukes of Hazzard."
Armstrong quipped: "Daisy Duke in sawn-off jeans. I think that was my favourite children's television programme."
The 1970s and 1980s are commonly viewed as a heyday of British children's television.
But Osman doesn't think today's internet generation Is missing out: "Children's television today is much better. In fact, it's never been better. Television is good for you. I watched lots and lots of television as a child."
The Pointless pair want today's generation of kids to watch CBBC's Danger Mouse reboot, but they also put in a word for their quiz show. "It will actually make children cleverer if they watch it. I can definitely say to young people now that if you watch Pointless you are more likely to pass your science and geography GCSEs. We have a sense of mission about what we do."
However, they are often surprised by grown-up contestants who show a lack of expertise in their own areas of knowledge.
"American literature is the worst," Osman observed. "People who say American literature and then can't name an American author or book. But at least they're nice. I would say that 95% of people in television are nice - very nice even."
"Let's not talk about the other 5%!" joked Armstrong.
Danger Mouse airs Monday September 28 on CBBC.