HK Magazine Archive

Hong Kong’s Beloved Bulldog, Companion of Chimp in Overalls, Has Died

James, of television fame, passed away at 12 years old.

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 March, 2016, 3:19pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 5:00pm

A 12-year-old bulldog known to many TVB viewers as James has passed away, sparking an outcry of grief on social media across Hong Kong.

"The Adventure of Pan and James" was broadcasted on from 2006 to 2007 and dubbed by the local boy band I Love U Boyz. It was a variety show featuring a chimpanzee in overalls, Pan, dragging James behind him as they ran special errands from delivering lunch boxes to buying train tickets. The episodes often took place in Japan.

The weekend show had over a million viewers and was considered an enormous success when compared to other programs at the time—though, it did raise controversy over animal rights. The show became so popular that even Buzzfeed wrote about it in 2011. The owner of duo Pan and James, Aso Cuddly Dominion Zoo, announced James’s death on its official Facebook page on March 9. He died on March 8.

The image of a mischievous Pan tugging a clumsily toddling James is a collective Hong Kong memory. One of the voiceover actors, Donald Tong Kim-hong, expressed his grief during an interview with Apple Daily: “The program brought family members together on weekends. Thank you for bringing so much laughter to us James. Rest in peace.”

Pan the chimpanzee is now between 14 to 15 years old.

Amid a flood of R.I.P. messages and crying emoji on social media, there are also some shocking comments accompanying videos of James on Facebook.

User 林威廷 commented: "Actually I’m pretty glad it’s finally graduated from the life of a show animal. Its owner only trained it to please the crowd and never considered its feelings. How selfish of humans…James, congratulations. You’re free!"

Another user from Taiwan, 簡迦勒, said: "Fu** I’d rather [pro-unification Taiwanese pop singer] Huang An die than you!"

And user Ca Sa wrote: "If Pan had partnered with a tortoise instead, a long-lived friendship might actually be possible."