Hive’s guest publisher blog: Mr Men comes to audiobook from AudioGO

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The original Mr. Men are back for the first time on audiobook.

Six episodes from the 1970s children’s cult classic Mr. Men cartoon series, featuring narration and voices by much-loved actor Arthur Lowe, have just been released by AudioGO — the UK’s most popular publisher of audiobooks. Taken direct from the BBC archives, these vintage stories transport listeners young and old to the Mr. Men universe of ‘Misterland’ for hilarious encounters with Mr. Funny; Mr. Dizzy; Mr. Bump; Mr. Fussy; Mr. Topsy-Turvy and Mr. Small.

The new release, which runs to 45 minutes in length, features the colourful look and artwork of the original vinyl LP and is set to become one of AudioGO’s most popular titles with families and collectors alike. A spokesman for AudioGO said: “For over 40 years the Mr. Men have been entertaining young children with their colourful characters and funny adventures, and we are thrilled to be now releasing some of their earliest escapades on audiobook for the first time.

“Arthur Lowe was one of Britain’s greatest comic actors and families will listen with delight as he brings Mr. Funny, Mr. Topsy-Turvy and other Misterland favourites to life.”

The iconic Mr. Men series of children’s books were created by author and illustrator Roger Harvgreaves, who was famously inspired to write them after his six-year-old son, Adam, asked him, “What does a tickle look like?”

The first six Mr. Men books were released in 1971, with an animated BBC television series featuring the voice of Dad’s Army star Arthur Lowe following three years later.

The series’ simple stories, with brightly coloured, boldly drawn illustrations, have made them very popular around the world, with sales of over 100 million books across 28 countries to date.

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THE ORIGINAL MR LAZY

Dad’s Army star Arthur Lowe used to fake being asleep to avoid the unwanted attention of fans, co-star Ian Lavender revealed yesterday. The much-loved actor, who died in 1982 aged 66, was already known to have suffered from narcolepsy — a sleep disorder where a person suddenly falls asleep at inappropriate times.

But according to Lavender, who played Private Pike opposite Lowe’s Captain Mainwaring in the long-running BBC sitcom, he would “deliberately exaggerate” his condition when it suited him.

Speaking yesterday to mark the release of a new AudioGO Vintage Beeb audiobook of TV soundtracks from the 1970s Mr Men cartoon series — featuring narration by Arthur Lowe — Lavender said that to those not in on the ruse the actor could come across as a real-life “Mr Lazy”.

He said: “Arthur was really friendly when he let you in, but was very protective of his privacy and used narcolepsy to protect it.

“He was always being pestered by fans but if he didn’t want to be bothered by them then he would feign falling asleep.

“He ‘fell asleep’ an awful lot but you’d see him with one eye open to see if they’d gone. He couldn’t always feign being asleep though, as some fans used to push and prod him to wake him up.”

He added: “People thought that as a celebrity he belonged to them and that he was public property, and that’s where his reputation for being pompous comes from.

“He was a pompous little man, but he knew it and played to it. It was him putting up a protective wall.”

Lavender, who also starred alongside Lowe in BBC radio series Parsley Sidings and Dad’s Army sequel It Sticks Out Half a Mile, says the actor relished working on the animated adaptation of Roger Hargreaves’ Mr Men books.

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