Wednesday, 19 October 2011

They're the Baddies! Victor and Hugo...

Of all the shows Cosgrove Hall had produced over the years, it comes as a surprise when only a handful are still remembered to this day (thanks to DVD releases). Danger Mouse, Jamie & the Magic Torch, the Wind in the Willows, and even Terry Pratchet's Truckers.

But then there are shows from CH that somehow fall by the wayside, either by lack of interest from the public or lack of advertising from the TV Boffins - shows like Creepy Crawlies, Fantomcat, Albie and even Vampires, Pirates and Aliens. Anyone seen a (British) DVD featuring this lot?

But the most semi-obscure show from CH has to be these guys:

Victor and Hugo: Bunglers in Crime was another of Cosgrove Hall's wonderfully odd-ball shows, featuring two French criminal brothers always hatching "a meticulous plan" to steal valuable items - but hardly ever succeed due to their constant bumbling.

But there is more to this series than one would think:

  - The series combines the writing / voice-acting talents of Brian Trueman, Jimmy Hibbert and David Jason alone (with others such as Edward Kelsey popping up time to time). This would be the last time that Brian and David would provide their voices for a Cosgrove Hall series, as well as being the company's cel-painted show before going from Cosgrove Hall Productions to Cosgrove Hall Films.

 - David Jason's voice for Hugo (the short "brain of a brussel sprout") is based from that of Bluebottle from the famous radio programme The Goon Show! To add to that, often Hugo is constantly pestering Victor with the phrase "What is it that it is...?", another Bluebottle trademark ;-)

 - Often in animated shows starring anthropomorphic animals, everyone bar themselves is human. Whereas in THIS cartoon, it's vice-versa - the brothers themselves the only human characters!

But that's not all...

A crossover well deserving - drawn by Andrew Morrice!
 - Victor and Hugo weren't always Victor and Hugo to begin with. Originally, they started out as Gaston and Pierre from Count Duckula before being redeveloped slightly as humans. And as a result, with thanks to Brian and Jimmy's hilarious scripting, other characters from Danger Mouse and Count Duckula cross-over into V&H either in reference or as supporting characters!!

So with all the perfect chemicals for a winning show, what has happened to the "Bunglers in Crime"?

Well, the sad fact was that V&H were unfortunately created at the time when Children's ITV was undergoing an anti-cartoon phase in 1991-1992, causing Thames TV to lose their franchise. So according to various sources, the episodes were never shown more than once - at least for British airwaves. Last I heard, they seemed to have gained new life Down Under in Aus...

And apart from one episode on a Cosgrove Hall-themed DVD, the rest of the two seasons that were made are only available on lesser-spotted VHS cassettes and books (both hardback and audio!!).

However, for those who do remember, let us hope that one day we shall see all of Victor and Hugo's bungles on DVD, in this day and age where even the most obscure of shows have managed to find new life for today's generation as such...and pray even harder that we Brits will get it first and not Australia...!! =P

For now, though, here's a handful of eppies to watch by - now updated with a fancy new Playlist!



  1. This show never even got played over here in the US of A at all. Hearing so much about it, it's a shame Nickelodeon didn't pick it up at all when it probably could've ride off the success of Danger Mouse and Count Duckula that also aired on said network.

  2. I remember Creepy Crawlies and FantomCat! I had/have videos of both somewhere. Why is it usually the obscure shows that are my favourites. But you're quite correct, so many hardly-heard-of shows get DVD releases, why not V&H? Thanks for linking to the videos I uploaded and the artwork I did! 'What is it that it is?' is the literal translation of 'Qu'est-ce que c'est?' - the show was pretty educational in a roundabout way, like a lot of Cosgrove-Hall's stuff. Edward Kelsey shows up in at least two episodes. In his usual 'Danger Mouse' roles of Colonel K and Baron Greenback and as Mr. Millenium (in 'French Exchange') and a few others in 'Tempers Fugit'. It does seem to me that Cosgrove-Hall got markedly less funny (in that kidult way) after this show, though Avenger Penguins was still pretty great that way.