Bonjour, Monsieur Rude

  1. ... He's the impolite new Mr Man and, yes, he's French

    Last updated at 23:42pm on 9th February 2008

    Producers of the revamped Mr Men television series have risked upsetting our friends across the Channel by making new character Mr Rude a Frenchman who invites children to pull his finger - and then breaks wind.

    He features in an internet promotional video and in games for the new programmes, which begin on channel Five this month. But, while the other Mr Men and Misses have regional UK dialects, Mr Rude speaks with a French accent.

    The show's makers, Chorion, claim it is not meant to cause offence but that the English view of the French lacking a little politeness is well known.
    The accents are just one of the "updates" given to the characters created 40 years ago by Roger Hargreaves.
    Mr Strong, for instance, used to be a square but now he's a triangle with bulging biceps. And there are newcomers, such as Little Miss Daredevil, who wears an Evel Knievel-inspired red, white and blue crash helmet, white high heels and a jetpack.

    Dad's Army star Arthur Lowe did all the voices when the BBC started making the original Mr Men series in 1974.
    Now the ten-minute-long shows, which begin screening on Monday, February 25, will be narrated by veteran stage and screen actor Simon Callow. Mr Callow said: "Narrating Mr Men was highly entertaining. The programmes are fun but full of wisdom."

    The programme has already been sold to a TV station in America and could be sold to other countries around the world, including France.
    A Five spokesperson said: "Mr Men is a comedy show for four to seven-year-olds.

    "The fact Mr Rude has a French accent is meant to be light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek and no offence to the French people is intended." A spokesman for the French ambassador to the UK refused to comment but a source at the French Embassy said: "It is obviously meant in a light-hearted way but it won't improve Anglo-French relations."

  2. Oo La La: The new Mr Men show features Mr Rude - with a French accent

    The new Mr Strong is no longer a square - but has bulging biceps

    Arthur Lowe of Dad's Army narrated the original TV series, which featured Mr Happy

    Old favourite: Mr Sneeze was one of Roger Hargreaves' original characters
    Mr. Rude.jpg Mr. Strong.jpg Mr. Happy.jpg Mr. Sneeze.jpg