you're looking for funding for a new toon series, then Cartoon
the place to be. This year is the
17th edition and it's being hosted in the
French town of Pau-Pyrénées from 20th - 23rd September.
61 new projects
from 17 European countries have been selected,
which we're told totals
more than 320 hours of programming and a total
budget of 179.4m Euro.
The UK is the second-largest contributor,
with 10 projects in the melting pot,
looking for funds, exposure or just a big
fat broadcast commission. Here are
this year's anointed titles and companies:
Exposure at Forum will give all ten projects a
considerable boost towards
success. And as always, it will be intriguing
to see who triumphs, and who
flounders en route to our tv screens.
The Hound hasn't caught up with all 10, as
yet, but "IG" sounds particularly
exciting. It's a stop-motion series from Andrew
Offiler, and Robin Lyon's Calon.
It's set in a twisted Stone Age
and features a cavegirl toddler and her pet
pterodactyl. Stone Age dino-romps are of course
quite common, but The Hound
is a sucker for prehistoric hysteria - from
Gogs to Moschops
Calon have some shots of "IG" on
their web site (look in "productions").
It looks terrific!
Elsewhere, "Harry & Toto" have
their own promo
site online at Handle & Spout.
Harry's a nippy Hare, whilst Toto is a laid-back
Tortoise (as opposed to a monkey)
who takes life a little slower than his fast-talking
Meanwhile, "The Rory Stories" is based
on the books by Andrew Wolffe and
adapted by David Ingham. It follows the gentle
adventures of a young lad called
Rory, his dog, and their seaside friends...
The Award for Most Mysterious Holding Page
must surely go to Moonridge
whose tag-line promises "Totally solar
adventures from the 22nd Century".
Will the commissioning execs be just as intrigued?
- We'll find out, come
Nigel Critten is a Terrahawks
fan. And he's embarking on his very
own nonprofit fan-film, based on the show.
Here's his site
info. It's a short CGI film, but it's an ambitious
one, and he needs
"I've got to the point
where I need some extra help to get
it done, looking for character modellers,
riggers, hard surface
modellers, all experienced in Sub-d (Subdivision
modelling, and texture artists..."
has bags of enthusiasm, a script ready and waiting to animate,
and a boiling kettle to boot:
characters will be started when the other artist gets
his new machine, and I'm rebuilding
all the ships, project
managing, will be the TD when we get to that
animatics - oh - and I make the tea as well!"
If you're up for it, Nigel would love to hear
Uh-oh. It looks like another nail has been set
in the Kids TV coffin
this week, with the
news that ITV have put a request in to Ofcom,
asking permission to further reduce the amount
programming it shows on ITV1.
This is bad news indeed, and certainly justifies
The Hound's little
in June. This is the second time they've approached Ofcom
this year, and in many folks' eyes, even that
first step was a step too far.
The trade and industry bodies affected by
these moves are rallying
hard, but it really does look like the game
is almost up - for ITV at
least. The BBC, meanwhile, remain committed
to a bright Autumn
schedule for younger kids. And there's a slim
ray of sunshine on
the Beeb's horizon now that they've at least
decided to investigate
the viewing habits of their potential teen
audience. But we can only
damn them with faint praise. After all, this
was exactly the sort of
work they should have been doing before they
decided to excise
teen viewers from their output.
Carts and horses, anyone?
Kids TV in the UK is in a mess. And the speed
of its decline has been
ITV1 has reduced its childrens output to a measly eight
hours a week. That's just over an hour a day
- including ad breaks.
And now they want to reduce it even further? The
details of their latest
proposal aren't yet known, but one has to
wonder just how much more
pruning that schedule can take...
The Mill turns again (24.08.06)
The Hound's had an email from the multi-talented
this week. He tells us that VGI Entertainment are
distribution of the marvellous melancholic delight
that is Summerton
Mill. And better still, Pete and the gang are currently
putting together a brand new second series - Which is
just good news.. It's special news... Magic news,
Yes, as most of you must surely
know by now, The Hound is officially
a Millfreak. Summerton Mill is the
most precious of shows. One to
keep in your pocket, close at hand, so you
can share it with your
very best friend - but only if he promises
to keep it safe and never
ever tell anyone nasty in case they trample
over the valley and
scatter the 'freaks and the chickens...
Well, you probably get the drift.
And if you don't, you'll have to tune in to
CBeebies, because the first
series of "Summerton Mill" is about
to have another stand-alone run
starting on Monday September 4th at 12.50pm, with
lined up for the end of November too. This
is one series you simply
never grow tired of!
So the old mill wheel turns. And "Summerton
Mill" repeats and repeats
and repeats, just like those "Watch With
Mother" classics of the past.
Which means Mr Bryden and Ed Cookson and company
their goal. Folks like myself chuck around
review terms like confetti,
but here's a series that just owns that overused
term "modern classic".
And in eighteen months time, we’ll have 26
episodes to savour.
Just a sliver of news here. Just a title and
a date and a distributor,
but - oh - it'll get so many folks giggling
with glee. You see, as was
hinted the other day,
Stop Frame's delight "The Magic Ball" is
finally coming to DVD.
How exciting is that? - Let's put things in
perspective. Over the six+
years this site has been online there have
been, perhaps, 5 key titles
requested on DVD, over and over again. When
the Wind Blows
the first. VHS copies of the film were changing
hands for £20-£30 on
eBay, until the film finally escaped. Cloppa
And "The Adventures of Rupert" continues
to get requests, but alas,
still languishes in DVD limbo. Then there's
the brilliance of Film
- a wonderful, wonderful series, though not
British at all and thus not included here.
But- oh - it's been
tempting to push the remit of this site in
order to embrace it.
And then there's been Sam. Sam, Sam, Sam.
"The Magic Ball" was
brought to us by Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall,
in the days proceeding
the birth of their suitably surnamed company,
when they were known
simply as Stop Frame Productions. This being
the year of Cosgrove Hall's
30th anniversary it's only fitting that this
classic series finally gets the
shiny disc treatment. Frankly, November can't
come soon enough.
You can bet there'll be further info here
nearer the release date!
The Magic Ball
Compal is #1 (20.08.06)
have done it again. Their new Autumn auction features
273 mouthwatering lots, including three or
four very tempting pieces
for DC Thomson fans - provided they have super-deep
The first is a Beano #1 from 1938, which Compal
tell us is one of the
three highest graded copies to be offered at auction.
sold an edition for £12,100 in March
2004. Which is giddy money,
indeed, and was a record-busting price at the time.
But even giddier
than that, six moths later they shattered
that record with a Dandy #1
going for £20,350. The starting price
here is £8,500-9,500, but let's
face it folks, anything might happen...
Actually there's a Dandy #1 available this
time, too. But it only
has eight surviving pages, and thus, no reserve.
But someone's going
to want it, nevertheless. And they'll also
want the Dandy #2 which
is described as being "grubby"
two-inch cover tear and
two pieces missing from top cover".
Bidding for that one is set
But if you miss out on those, there's always
Dandy Monster Comic #1.
from 1939. According to Compal this gem has
been kept in a brown
paper wrapper for most of its life, and is "far
and away the highest
graded example ever seen for sale".It
has a listing of £3,800-4,200,
though once again, the sky is surely the limit.
And if all of that wasn't enough, Eagle fans
can snap up a whole
bunch of issues in various lots, from Eagle
#1 onwards, as well as
some glorious cover art. There's a nice Broons
Condor strip art, and a run of Tv Century
21 from #1,
What's the betting a record goes somewhere?
This auction runs until Tuesday 5 September
at 8 PM UK time
Bids can be submitted online, by fax or by telephone.
Meanwhile, us regular collectors with slim
wallets should drop
by the always-excellent comics store and auction
The Pigs have been around five or six years
now, and the site
has always been The Hound's preferred haunt
for comics purchases,
especially when there are specific gaps to
fill over in the Fleetway St.
section of Toonhound. Prices there start from a
per-issue upwards, depending on the title...
Great news from Fremantle Home Entertainment
this week, with the
confirmation that DangerMouse
is about to escape onto DVD,
in his 150+ episode entirety.
As you may be aware, this year marks Cosgrove
Hall's 30th anniversary,
and to celebrate, Fremantle have been busy
releasing a bunch of DVDs for
our delight. So far we've had
Toad and Mole
as reported on, and reviewed here previously.
But now there's "DangerMouse", who's
currently celebrating his own
quarter century milestone. Astounding, amazing
Is it really 25 years since he first bounded
out from his postbox,
with Penfold kicking and screaming in tow?
Fremantle have pulled out the stops by putting
together a dizzy 12 discs
for our collective delight. Which means no more
faffing around with those
single disc releases from the past. Here's
the blurb from the boys
"Six new single DangerMouse DVD
titles, certificate U,
are being released on September 4 RRP £9.99.
On the same date a complete 12-disc collection
be released, retailing at around £59.99.
Special features include rarely-seen behind the
footage from the Thames Television archives, including
exclusive look at David Jason and Terry Scott in
how to draw DM, a brand new interview with Mark
several exciting new games!"
Amazon are currently offering the
12 disc set on pre-order,
tidy £37.49, which makes it very affordable
indeed. That's a very
snazzy silver anniversary sleeve too... Oh goodness.
1444 minutes of deviantly dangerous delights. This
is just what
we've all been waiting for!
But it you think that's super-good, there's
also a "magic" bit of further
news floating around that should be confirmed very
soon. And believe
me, Cosgrove Hall fans could have a "ball"
if it's true. Stay tooned
for an update very soon...
As you may have noticed, The Hound has recently
dusting down the puppets
section of this site, and this little endeavour
involved skimming through many DVDs and videos,
Castle series DVD
I stayed a while again, I must
admit, I couldn't help myself and you should be
seeing the results quite
soon... But whilst I was there, blow me down
if I didn't unearth a
equally fabulous look-alike, because it strikes
me that our jolly
inventor Cue-ee-Dee happens to look an
awful lot like a certain
cottage-dwelling tv star:
Spooky, innit? - And that's on top of the
fact that Beosweyne bears
more than a passing resemblance to a certain
Dingle from "Emmerdale":
Maybe I'm just going mad, but now I'm bitten.
I'm officially looking
for more Brit-toon "look-alikes". They're
everywhere, I tells ya. Have
you seen any?
Look here (07.08.06)
"Look and Learn" is coming back!
Many folks of a certain age will remember this classic
which ran from January 1962 to April 1982. It featured
a giddy mix of
scientific guides, historical tales and naturalistic
wonders - facts and
feats and fabulousness about the world around us
- all supremely
illustrated and presented by some of the finest
comics artists around.
It was a kids' encyclopedia, if you will, but its
accent was very much
upon action, danger and spectacle in the great wide
world around us.
It also had some fantastic, vivid cover artwork
- often a stand-alone
painting depicting some action-packed encounter
They don't make comics like "Look and Learn"
anymore. And that's
precisely why publisher Laurence Heyworth bought
the rights to the
title a wee while back. And not only that, he picked
a selection of
similar IPC publications, amongst them "The Children’s
"Treasure", "The Bible Story",
"Ranger", "Speed & Power" and
"World of Knowledge" as well as a selection
of nursery titles,
"Jack and Jill", "Playhour",
"Harold Hare", "Teddy Bear", "Robin",
"Swift" and "Once Upon a Time".
The consequence of all these
purchases is that Mr Heyworth now has an almighty
and comics resource at his fingertips and he and
his company are
beginning to expose some of the fabulous contents
via a droolingly good
There are plans afoot for a print revival to follow,
but for now, we can
click and wallow in the glories of an amazing comics
online. Those educational titles alone featured
stunning artwork from
the likes of Ron Embleton, John Millar Watt and the mighty
Lawrence. Now the "Look and Learn" web site
is collating and
archiving it all.
It's extraordinary to think that a generation has
grown up devoid of
this amazing output. Don Lawrence and company represent
that's almost lost in this modern comics world of street-smart
corsetted vamps, dour goths, and angst-ridden guys and
gals. That's not
to say the changes aren't good. Heck, no. Wander
into your local comic
shop and you'll find that the breadth and scope
of modern comics and
strips is truly astounding. But "Look and Learn"
and its ilk represent a
classical past. The artists involved in those early titles
were akin to
Italian Masters. They could draw from life in a way that's
not so desired or pursued nowadays. The world turns.
It doesn't get
better or particularly worse. It just moves on. But the
Lawrence and Emberton - they'll live on forever,
enshrined in the
Oh, and speaking of Mr Lawrence. When you've finished
the Look and Learn site ("when"? - surely,
it's "if"), you'd do well to drop
by the official Don
Lawrence Collection web site which features so
much of this chap's amazing artwork, alongside a
special site dedicated
Trigan Empire. This was Don's seminal strip which was published
in "Ranger" and hasn't been included in
the Heyworth/Look and Learn
Shame on you, Ofcom.
Shame on you, Boomerang.
Shame on you for allowing one viewer's complaint
to reshape history.
As you are
probably aware, Ofcom have recently upheld a complaint
against the Boomerang channel in which a viewer
objected to having
Tom and Jerry smoking in two of their classic cartoons.
And thus, after
debate with the Turner and Boomerang the following
decision was reached:
"The licensee has subsequently proposed
scenes or references in the series where
to be condoned, acceptable, glamorised or
where it might
The report in the recent
Ofcom bulletin states that Boomerang rightly
argued about the historical context of the cartoons
and how any editing
might adversely affect the value of the animation.
Even so, they have
agreed to scour and edit any toon in their library
that glamourises or
condones smoking for children - That's not just
Tom and Jerry, folks,
but all the toons in the Hanna-Barbera back
In The Hound's book, even one cut is a cut
too far. Smoking
is not be condoned - we can all agree on that
nowadays. But hacking
into our animation history to satisfy
an overprotective modern audience
is wholly unacceptable. And poor Tom and Jerry
have suffered for
their sins in an earlier round of censorship
Remember folks, this decision was made on
the basis of just one complaint,
with no exterior debate or discussion. One
complaint and history gets
rewritten. It's outrageous. Doctoring historical
footage because it upsets
current thinking is totally unjustifiable.
And whilst many may think this
is just about cartoons, it's just the tip
of a ridiculous iceberg that's
surfaced in recent years. After 9/11 movies
and film posters were
doctored to "protect us" from images
of New York's Twin Towers.
Heck, even DangerMouse
was affected by the debacle.
So where do we draw the line?
In America, debate continues about the merits
of "Song of the South",
a film that Disney still keep under the counter,
fearful of a backlash.
Not showing the film is one thing. But what
if they edited it. Can you
imagine if they released a version that excised
the offensive content?
It's unthinkable. And yet in the same gasping
breathe, that very same
company is happy to edit the classic tale
of "Pecos Bill", so that we're
not encouraged by the scenes of cowboy
Double-standards abound, it seems, whilst
the debate rages on,
on both sides of the Pond. How long will it
be before someone takes
offence at product placement in Button
Moon, or Fenella's
Well, there is no debate here. The choice
is a plain as black and white.
Either show the cartoon or film as it
is, as history remembers it.
Or don't show it at all.