It's Captain Pugwash on Speed.
It's devilishly dirty, with dangly
bits to boot.
'Aaagh! It's The Mr Hell Show' is, we're
told, the world's first
prime time animated sketch show. 13 x
30min episodes packed
with enough toon dynamite to blow
your socks off. Or summat
like that. It also happens to be British, which
is mighty useful,
'cos it means I can give you the scoop on
this hot project here
That's Mr Hell above. Fiendishly
handsome, isn't he? On the
right is his pal Serge The Seal Of Death
. Here's what the
press blurb has to say:
'Each week our sulfurous and sardonic anti-hero
stars in his own
adventure, and introduces a parade of short,
sharp sketches and
cracked recurring characters - all infected
with the same wickedly
cynical sense of humour. Of course, Mr
Hell isn’t THE devil. He’s
A devil - the little demon inside everyone
of us - except he’s out
and ready to party!'
And 'partying' means, amongst other things,
lounging around the
house all day with your underpants off.
That's right, my friends,
Mr Hell likes to let the little fella flap
free in the breeze!
Hell was created by Peafur Productions and produced
with Canada's Sextant Entertainment for
the BBC - Peafur being
that on-the-rise production company and
of David Freedman and Alan Gilbey, the
guys who worked on
'Rex The Runt', 'Foxbusters', 'The First Snow
Of Winter' and
more. They've cherry-picked an elite band of
to support them, including supervising
art director Jeff 'Swampy'
Marsh, of Simpsons name-fame. So how did they
get from cute
ducklings to horny trouserless devils?
Find out in my Q&A
with the Alan Gilbey here.
There are 13 half-hours in the 1st hot Season
of Mr Hell, and
from the clips I've seen so far, it's racy
and rude and certainly
cuts the quickfire mustard when compared to
any of its american
It's also tugging at the boundaries of
Chris Brough ('ReBoot') and his crew at
studios have created the unique computer animation
referred to as 'Hellmation'. It's helped
them create the modern-
retro look of the series and enabled them
to populate it with a
menagerie of support characters. They're even
taking a brief
leap into full-3D in one of the shows.
Oh, and there's one more devious trick up the
sleeve: See, they've
persuaded that lascivious Lucifer himself,
Bob Monkhouse, to
voice their fiendish star!
Mr Hell is being shoe-horned into a primetime
slot on BBC2
sometime this Spring...
Okay so that horny old devil gets top billing. But what about
sidekicks, stools, and cameos - Who
are the other stars in
ascendance to look out for?
Top of the heap must surely be Serge The
Seal Of Death. After
cruel fur trappers killed his parents,
Serge the little seal cub
vowed bloody revenge on the entire fashion
seen without a Robinson M96 or Glock 22
S&W, Serge spends
his time on the show racking up a bloody
body count of fashion
victims. His gun-toting ways have,
apparently stirred up some
controversy across the pond:
'The Mr Hell Show has the highest mortality
rate of any cartoon
series ever made. In the US some of the show’s
censored, in case it inspires real harp seals
to go into gun shops
and reek revenge on the fashion industry....'
Methinks little Serge may get his own fansite soon...
As well as seals, stay tooned for Mr Hell's snooty
son Damien, the
brilliant-but-repressed Victorian Lady Detective,
Wonder Snail, and - oh - then there's Josh
who believes in
reincarnation, which is fortunate considering
the amount of times
he seems to gets killed (Those are two of
his incarnations below,
third and fourth in the line-up...)
Topping the list of weirdness is Lucky. Batman
has Robin. The
Lone Ranger has Tonto. And Serge - well - he
has a severed
rabbit's foot keychain that squeeks. You'll
have to visit the
site to see how he - it? - she? - looks...
That's also the place to go for a thorough
episode guide which
I'm not even going to attempt to repeat
So where did he come from, this horny old
devil? - Well, Mr Hell
first appeared in a line of Greeting Cards
created by Scottish
misanthrope, Hugh MacLeod. These cartoon cards
were so bitter
and twisted they were virtually unsendable to
anyone, but Dave
Freedman and Alan Gilbey saw that a great
character lurked within
them, who would be perfect for TV. Here's that
press blurb once
'Mr Hell was sold virtually the first
time we showed him to anyone
- to Universal Pictures in the States' explains
loved him, and then spent the next year trying
to change him into
a lovable live action sitcom character!'
A parting of the ways led to other offers from the
States, and more
attempts to tone down the character. 'Everyone was
interested in a
show based around a devil, but could we make him a
little less devilish?'
says Gilbey. 'When a producer said he would make the
show if we
coloured him blue and renamed him Mr Heck, we ran away
We held out to do the show our way…and held out…and
Over the next four years Alan and Dave went on
to write several
award-winning children’s cartoons, but the devil still
sat on their
shoulder telling them to bring him to life. 'Although
we often joked
about the curse of Mr Hell, we never gave up on him
- and finally, it
paid off.' They reworked Mr Hell as a the host of a
show full of their
crazed creations; sketch comedy that could only be
done through the
medium of animation, and finally they found producers
to help them bring their undiluted vision to the screen.
And so it came to pass that, last year, Dave and Alan
souls to the BBC and Canada’s Sextant Entertainment
and a hip
hot new adult series was unleashed upon the world...
yes, but is it all actually any good? - Well, I can't tell you. All I
can say that this one has a mighty-fine
pedigree behind it and those
there site clips work for me...
Judge for yourselves when it arrives this
Spring on BBC2!
Better yet, take a look at the website:
You'll find a character guide, episode synopsis,
and clips - It's all good bad fun,
actually. But you'll need the
latest flash plug-in to view it all...
And when you're done there, why not
check out the
talent behind the show:
Don't forget my Q&A
with Alan Gilbey!
- Till next time!