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Avenger Penguins is a British animated series produced by Cosgrove Hall Films and Granada Television in 1993, and animated by both Alfonso Productions, a Spanish-based animation studio also responsible for bringing Cosgrove Hall's show Fantomcat to life, and in-house by Cosgrove Hall themselves. It aired originally on Children's ITV and was originally going to be called Hell's Penguins, although was it renamed out of concern for how the religious audience in the US would respond. 26 episodes aired from 1993 to 1994.

The show has the distinction of being the last Cosgrove Hall cartoon to be animated using hand-painted animation cels, as all 2D animated series from the studio thereafter would use computers for the ink and paint process; with the animation, drawings scanned and then digitally colored. This was the first major Cosgrove Hall carton without the aid of Thames Television who had lost their ITV franchise at the end of 1992. The show was instead distributed on the ITV network by Cosgrove Hall's local regional TV company Granada instead.

The entire series was released on a three-disc DVD box set in March 2006 by Delta Leisure Group PLC.

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Influences

As with most Cosgrove Hall cartoons, the series poked fun at the popular concepts of having creatures performing inhuman action feats and stunts in an animated medium, made popular by the then enormously successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. The core of the show's theme is coincidentally similar to Biker Mice from Mars.

Details

The story revolves around three bike-riding Penguins that inhabit Big City, uniting to protect it and its citizens from the evil Caractacus P. Doom, an insane and reclusive criminal scientist. The Penguins attempt to prevent Doom's schemes but find themselves often hampered by their own miscommunicating and occasional scraps with other biker gangs infesting Big City, such as The Stink Brothers, a canine squad of Hell's Angels.

The cast, like Danger MouseCount Duckula and Victor and Hugo: Bunglers in Crime had with David Jason, boasted a star talent in a major role, this time in the form of Mike McShane as the Penguin's un-coordinated but brash leader Marlon, as well as the villainous Doom. To show how the series was mocking the often rushed animation style of the original TMNT series, two supporting characters are known as "The Badly Drawn Brothers" were always left with the design construction lines still showing out of deliberate neglect.

Pop culture references were found in abundance in many of the episodes and in the characters. Doom himself is patterned on an elderly Orson Welles, Harry Slime (who talks like Peter Lorre) in the meantime is based somewhat on Harry Lime, a character from the movie The Third Man. The Season 2 episode, "The 23rd Century" also served as a parody of Star Trek, and of science fiction in general.

Voice cast

  • Marlon: Mike McShane
  • Rocky: Rob Rackstraw
  • Bluey: Jimmy Hibbert
  • Bella: Jimmy Hibbert
  • Caractacus P. Doom: Mike McShane
  • Harry Slime: Jimmy Hibbert
  • Various other characters: Mike McShane, Rob Rackstraw, Jimmy Hibbert and Lorelei King.
  • Theme song vocalist: Paul Young
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