Created byFrank Muir
Written by
  • Frank Muir
  • Timothy Forder (Version 1)
  • Cliff Ruby
  • Elana Lesser (Version 2)
Directed by
  • Timothy Forder (Version 1)
  • Kent Butterworth (Version 2)
Voices of
Theme music composer
Country of origin
  • United Kingdom (Version 1)
  • United States (Version 2)
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes45
Executive producers
  • Claire Derry
  • David Hamilton (Version 1)
  • Andy Heyward
  • Robby London
  • Mike Maliani (Version 2)
  • Mary Swindale (Version 1)
  • Cliff Ruby
  • Elana Lesser
  • Kent Butterworth (Version 2)
Running time
  • 5 minutes (Version 1)
  • 10 minutes (Version 1, later episodes)
  • 30 minutes (Version 2)
Production companies
Original release
  • BBC (Version 1)
  • ITV (Version 1, later episodes)
  • ABC (Version 2)
Release24 December 1979 (1979-12-24) –
4 April 1996 (1996-04-04)

What-a-Mess is a series of children's books written by British comedy writer Frank Muir and illustrated by Joseph Wright.[1] The title character is a dishevelled, accident-prone Afghan Hound puppy, whose real name is Prince Amir of Kinjan. The book series was later made into two animated series, both narrated by Muir.[2]


Books list

Large Books

  1. What-a-Mess
  2. What-a-Mess The Good
  3. What-a-Mess at the Seaside
  4. What-a-Mess Goes to School
  5. Prince What-a-Mess
  6. Super What-a-Mess
  7. What-a-Mess and the Cat Next Door
  8. What-a-Mess Goes on Television
  9. What-a-Mess and the Hairy Monster

Small Books

Four Seasons

  1. What-a-Mess in Spring
  2. What-a-Mess in Summer
  3. What-a-Mess in Autumn
  4. What-a-Mess in Winter

Four Square Meals

  1. What-a-Mess has Breakfast
  2. What-a-Mess has Lunch
  3. What-a-Mess has Tea
  4. What-a-Mess has Supper

Mini Books

  1. What-a-Mess has a Brain Wave
  2. What-a-Mess and Little Poppet
  3. What-a-Mess and a trip to the Vet
  4. What-a-Mess the Beautiful
  5. What-a-Mess Goes to Town
  6. What-a-Mess Goes Camping

Animated series

An animated series was made in the UK in 1979 by Smallfilms. More episodes were made in the UK in 1990 by Central Independent Television, Link Licensing, and Bevanfield Films. A second, American version was made in 1995 by DIC Productions L.P.[3] and aired on ABC in the United States.[4] It aired on YTV from 1995 to 1999 in Canada, and aired on Spacetoon from 2006 to 2014 in the Arab world. Both versions were narrated by Muir.[3] Both animated series aired on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Australia.


Version 1 (Smallfilms, iTV / UK series)

Episode Title UK release date Comment
1 "A Bee?" 24 December 1979 Adapted from What-a-Mess
2 "A Hat?" 26 December 1979 Adapted from What-a-Mess
3 "A Fish?" 27 December 1979 Adapted from What-a-Mess
4 "A Mole?" 28 December 1979 Adapted from What-a-Mess
5 "A Hound?" 30 December 1979 Adapted from What-a-Mess
6 "Mighty Hunter" 1 January 1980 Adapted from What-a-Mess The Good
7 "Enough for One Day" 2 January 1980 Adapted from What-a-Mess The Good
8 "A Very Good Dog Indeed" 3 January 1980 Adapted from What-a-Mess The Good
9 "A Prince" 4 January 1980 Adapted from What-a-Mess The Good
10 "What-a-Mess at the Seaside" 26 March 1990 Adapted from What-a-Mess at the Seaside
11 "What-a-Mess Goes to School" 2 April 1990 Adapted from What-a-Mess Goes to School
12 "Prince What-a-Mess" 9 April 1990 Adapted from Prince What-a-Mess and What-a-Mess in Winter
13 "Super What-a-Mess" 16 April 1990 Adapted from Super What-a-Mess
14 "What-a-Mess Keeps Cool" 30 April 1990 Adapted from What-a-Mess in Spring and What-a-Mess in Summer
15 "What-a-Mess and Cynthia the Hedgehog" 14 May 1990 Adapted from What-a-Mess has Supper and What-a-Mess in Autumn
16 "What-a-Mess Has a Brain Wave!" 21 May 1990 Adapted from What-a-Mess has Breakfast and What-a-Mess Had a Brain Wave
17 "What-a-Mess and the Cat Next Door" 4 June 1990 Adapted from What-a-Mess and the Cat Next Door
18 "What-a-Mess and Little Poppet" 18 June 1990 Adapted from What-a-Mess and Little Poppet
19 "What-a-Mess Goes Camping" 2 July 1990 Adapted from What-a-Mess Goes Camping
20 "What-a-Mess The Beautiful" 9 July 1990 Adapted from What-a-Mess The Beautiful
21 "What-a-Mess Goes to Town" 16 July 1990 Adapted from What-a-Mess Goes to Town
22 "What-a-Mess Goes to the Vet" 23 July 1990 Adapted from What-a-Mess Goes to the Vet

Version 2 (DIC Productions, L.P. / US series)

Episode Title
1 "Talkin' Trash/A Bone to Pick/Midnight Snack"
2 "Schoolin' Around/The Legend of Junkyard Jones/It's Raining Cats and Dogs"
3 "Home Alone...Almost/Super What-A-Mess/The Recliner"
4 "Afghan Holiday/The Bone Tree"
5 "Just Four More Left/The Ropes/What-A-Mess Has Breakfast"
6 "Prize Puppy/The Great Escape/The Scarecrow and Prince Amir"
7 "Shampooed/Show and Tail/I Spy, I Cry, I Try"
8 "What-A-Mess and the Hairy Monster/Trick Or Treat/My Teatime with Frank"
9 "Out With the Garbage/Dr. What-A-Mess"
10 "Ultimate What-A-Mess"
11 "This Hydrant Is Mine"
12 "Trash's Wonderful Life"
13 "Snowbound"
14 "The Thanksgiving Turkey"
15 "Santa What-A-Mess"
16 "Here Comes Santa Paws"
17 "All Around the Mallberry Bush"
18 "What-A-Mess at the Movies"
19 "His Royal Highness, Prince What-A-Mess"
20 "Party at Poppet's"
21 "Take Me Out to the Dog Park"
22 "The Watch Out Dog"
23 "Molenapped!"
24 "Pound Pals"
25 "Taste Test"
26 "Slobber on a Stick"
27 "Scout's Honor"
28 "Seein' Double"
29 "Luck on His Side"
30 "What-A-Mess Keeps the Doctor Away"
31 "There's No Business Like Shoe Business"
32 "Joy Ride"
33 "Baldwin's Family Reunion"
34 "Do the Mess Around"
35 "On Vacation"
36 "Messy Encounters"
37 "Dog Days of Summer"
38 "Fetch!"
39 "Real Puppies Don't Meow"
40 "Invasion of the Puppy Snatchers"
41 "The Ballad of El Pero"
42 "What-a-Mess Has Lunch"
43 "Walking the Boy"
44 "Messed Up What-A-Mess"
45 "Water Mess"
46 "The Big Sleep"
47 "High-Wire Heartthrob"

Home releases

UK series

US series

In October 1996, Buena Vista Home Video under the DIC Toon-Time Video imprint released two VHS tapes called Monsters, Goblins, and Ghosts, Oh my! and Here Comes Santa Paws. The former contained the segments "What-A-Mess and the Hairy Monster", "Trick Or Treat", and "My Tea Time with Frank". The latter contained the Santa What-a-Mess special.

On November 13, 2003, Sterling Entertainment released a VHS/DVD called Christmas Mess, containing the Santa What-a-Mess special as well as the segments "Trash's Wonderful Life", "The Thanksgiving Turkey", Snowbound", "All Around the Mallberry Bush", "It's Raining Cats and Dogs" and "At the Movies", with the DVD version containing the segments "His Majesty, Prince What-a-Mess", "Ultimate What-a-Mess" and "This Hydrant is Mine" as bonus episodes. The DVD was re-issued by NCircle Entertainment in 2007.


  1. ^ Russell Williams, Imogen (4 July 2007). "Whatever happened to What-a-mess?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  2. ^ Crump, William D. (2019). Happy Holidays—Animated! A Worldwide Encyclopedia of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year's Cartoons on Television and Film. McFarland & Co. p. 335. ISBN 9781476672939.
  3. ^ a b "IMDB What-a-mess". IMDb. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  4. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 899–900. ISBN 978-1476665993.