Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds (1981-1982)/The Return Of Dogtanian (1989-1990)
First of all, this is a cartoon that was originally shown in this country on CBBC from 1985-1987, when it seems that it did very well, but I remember when it was shown on CITV in the 90s (I can’t think of many other shows that have been on both CBBC and CITV in quick succession). This is another one of those ideas that does make you wonder what they were thinking when they came up with it. How about the story of The Musketeers… but with dogs?
Well that’s what this cartoon is all about. Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds was of Japanese origin, although the dialogue was in Spanish, so it had to be dubbed into English by different voice actors. The show was set in 17th century France during the reign of King Louis XIII. Dogtanian travelled all the way to Paris to team up with Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, as they tried to fight for honour and justice, and they didn’t hesitate to use their swords. Along with the dogs, there were also a few cats, pigs, and mice in the cast.
Other characters included Cardinal Richelien, along with Juliette and Milady, who Dogtanian was very fond of. There was also a narrator who explained the situation at the start and end of every episode. I definitely enjoyed the show, and I was a regular viewer for a while. I do remember becoming a little crabby after I missed an episode once. I’m not sure why really, I wasn’t really like that about other shows, so the characters clearly must’ve meant something to me when I was younger.
And of course, the show’s theme music was catchier than most, which is probably why the opening and closing sequences went on for an almost Ovide-length of time as people liked to sing along. After the first series, the same production team went on to create another cartoon that took a classic story and retold it with animal characters which was Around The World With Willy Fog, and I plan to review that one soon too.
There were 26 episodes of Dogtanian And The Three Muskehounds made that were all about 20 minutes long. But people demanded more! So almost a decade later, Dogtanian returned for another 26 episodes (in a series co-produced by Thames), and then to finish off, there were some feature-length specials in the 90s including One For All And All For One (it couldn’t be called anything else really).
It’s yet another one of those shows about which there has been constant rumours that there will be another revival too. There were also some episodes released on VHS, and all 52 episodes along with the specials have been released on DVD. I do have this, and it is a more comprehensive package than most shows. As well as featuring nine discs, there are plenty of extras, even including a bonus episode of Around The Would With Willy Fog. This means that I can never miss an episode ever again! My younger self would be so relived.