Why Not Review: 2012 Olympic Mascots

‘Wenlock and Mandeville haven’t had a great reception since they landed on Earth and we can maybe see why, but are they really that bad?’

London Olympics sperm Teletubbies twitter Wenlock and Mandeville


The long, sad, eye-wateringly expensive, internationally embarrassing history of British public sector design commissions has reached a new low with Wenlock and Mandeville, the recently unveiled Olympic mascots for London 2012. Ludicrously named and preposterously ugly, the pair reek of design by committee: a wrongheaded confluence of "features" thrown together to form an ugly, ugly, ugly mess. At a cost of £400,000, the mascots proudly continue a tradition the Teletubbies started, of incomprehensible, slightly sinister figures aimed at children – except, unlike the Teletubbies, kids seem to hate them. 

The reaction in the national press to Wenlock and Mandeville has been predictably negative, and the public don't seem any more enthusiastic, if Twitter and Facebook are anything to go by. Indeed, the pair are so bad that even the Canadians are mocking us. "London's creepy one-eyed Olympic mascots scare us," wrote the Calgary Herald. "Especially the one with the blue stain on its crotch. One kid on Twitter called the London mascots 'terror sperm'."

Not quite robotic enough to be futuristic, cute enough to be loveable or slimy enough to be extraterrestrial, Wenlock and Mandeville represent all that is wasteful, ill-conceived and too-clever-by-half about the sort of design regularly inflicted on the British public – at their own expense, naturally. This week, The Times asked: does anyone actually like the new Olympic mascots? With some justification, the answer would appear to be no.

The only explanation I can come up with for an established, apparently well-respected agency to come up with work of such appalling ugliness is good, old-fashioned attention-seeking. Something tells me, however, that Iris will not be getting the kind of attention they had hoped for.    


'Wenlock and Mandeville. Mandeville and Wenlock. Named after the spiffing Wenlock Olympics and the chuffing, bloody brilliant Stoke Mandeville games. Formed from glorious metal extracted from the final splendid support girder of the magnificent Olympic Stadium. Two jolly good symbols to stand before us, rally the ranks, and cry: 'Play up play up and play the game! The Olympic Game!' Towering! Roaring! The nation on their shoulders! All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, ho-' 

At this point Winston takes a moment to actually look at Wenlock and Mandeville and, gasping, accidentally swallows his cigar.

'What the buggering hell is that?' he cries.

'Umm…' says pretty much everyone else on the planet.

Wenlock and Mandeville haven't had a great reception since they landed on Earth and we can maybe see why, but are they really that bad?

Yes, when suited up the two mascots look like poorly disguised paedophiles who have attempted to fashion adorable costumes to attract kiddies, but were a little out of touch with what's hot nowadays… and yes, those big ever-peering eye balls look like they could do with a good poking with a fork… but the smaller models, the ones made from metal, are actually freaking sweet!

Metal is Doctor Who's screwdriver. Metal is rocket launchers. Metal is Bishop 341-B (the robot from Aliens). Metal is shiny and cool-looking and really rather dudey. So Montreal, you can shove your wooden 1976 mascot 'Amik the Beaver' through a sander. Barcelona, 'Cobi the Sheep Dog' might be cuddly and wuddly and popular and have his own TV show but, unlike Wenlock and Mandeville, he wouldn't survive if I covered him in petrol and set light to him. And as for you… Vancouver, if your stupid 'Quatchi' did ever 'kick Wenlock and Mandeville's alien butts' (as the Vancouver Sun stated he could) he would definitely bruise his toes.

Step aside loser mascots of the world- you lovable lot- London's ugly badasses, Wenlock and Mandeville, are running the show. A pair of cycloptic terminators. Metallic Kray Twins. Cuddle me and I'll blow your fehking brains out.

Wenlock and Mandeville. Mandeville and Wenlock. The cool dude's mascot.