Dougal And The Blue Cat - DVD Review

'the characters are cute and the scenery and effects beautifully designed but the plot is tiresome and the quirkiness factor soon wears thin'

Dougal And The Blue Cat is famous for two things. Firstly, it features Dylan, the apparently perma-stoned rabbit who has been delighting students and terrifying children for generations. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly though, UK film critic Mark Kermode describes it as 'one of my favourite films of all time', as the promotional material proudly notes and thus it has managed to secure a fresh DVD release having been unavailable for several years.

A short interview with Kermode, featured in the discs’ extras, proves invaluable in interpreting the film. The critic notes that Eric Thompson, who narrates as well as producing all of the character's voices (excluding The Blue Voice which is intoned by Fenella Fielding), used to be given the French version of the cartoon to watch with the remit that he could make up whatever dialogue and story he felt fit the characters and actions on screen.

In what is an excruciatingly simple story, the above fact is all too easy to believe. There’s little adventure or thrill here, so prevalent usually in animated fare, instead replaced by a fairly mundane plot and some little snippets of dialogue that prove poignant. Dougal, for example, waking up in a daze, spouts a mountain of irrelevant phrases including ‘vote Conservative’ whilst the obligatory drug joke isn’t missed either, Dylan sitting next to a field and stating how 'crazy' the mushrooms he's guarding are.

Really though, once the initial charm of the visuals has worn off, the only joy to be had here is in applying your own personal interpretation to what’s going on. There are plenty available. If you really wanted, this could be an allegory about Nazi Germany (the Blue Cat wants to wipe out everything that isn’t blue), a reference to sporting and political endeavour and rivalry (the Cat describes himself as a ‘true blue’ and at one point there is a mini-space race) or a doctrine on religious fascination and zeal (the God-like Blue Voice guides the Blue Cat’s every action).

In reality though, the fun in this wears off pretty quickly, as will the enjoyment of the modern-day child when faced with nonsensical songs which often fail to find rhythm and large areas during which nothing much happens. The characters are cute and the scenery and effects beautifully designed but the plot is tiresome and the quirkiness factor isn’t enough to save the film from dirge-like boredom.

Dougal And The Blue Cat is available to buy on DVD in the UK from Monday 1st November.

Look further...

Patrick Barkham interviews Fenella Fielding about the making of the film and the prospect of seeing it for the first time.


  1. Full of topical (for the seventies) references, sarcasm and subtle drug references, no wonder this is a cult classic amongst students. It's great to hear the original voices from Eric Thompson

  2. The references are well placed and clever and Thompson's voices are occasionally great but as I say, all that wasn't enough to keep me glued to the screen for an hour and a half.