As we await the arrival of "The Magic Roundabout",
yours truly has been
thinking about another top toon update that's been
on the table for a
while. The all-new "Willo the Wisp".
Back in September
2003, Target Entertainment capped many moonlit months
of anticipation when they jumped in to the production
bed with Bobbie
Spargo and friends. 52 x 5 min episodes were announced.
But since then,
publicity's been a tad quiet. So during some free
time I surfed on over to the official
production site to satisfy my curiosity, and lo and behold if
blown away. The whole site's had a sprinkling of
Mavis' fairwy dust - and
better yet - there's an all-new pilot episode for folks
to view online.
Now this isn't "new" news, of course.
The site has
probably been online for
months, only I haven't checked the link for some
time. But if I haven't,
it's a dead cert. many Toonhound regulars haven't
Oh, but were was the fanfare for this? - The
new series looks fabulous.
Its design and story is utterly faithful to the
whimsical original in every detail,
with ne'er a sign of corporate interference, or
or whatever rotten term today's brand managers
like to use. What a breath
of fresh air. And I love James Dreyfus' take on
the characters. He sounds
kind of like Kenneth Williams playing James Dreyfus,
rather than the other
way round. It's a delightful turn.
I have no idea what the state of play is right
now. But I hope, I wish, that all
is going well for the team and that funding has
flooded in to the production
account because - ye gads - if there's one thing that's
been sorely missing
from the UK animation scene of late, it's whimsy.
We used to do it so well.
We used to have umpteen five minute wonders on our
teatime TV screens.
Not planned, not cogitated or deliberated. They just
were. And they
awaited our discovery. Well now we have
the new "Willo the Wisp".
Looks like there's been a name-change for Hat-Trick's
toon "Streatham Hill". C21media
reports that the adult-skewed show is
now being officially touted as "Bromwell
"Streatham Hill / Bromwell High" focus
on the exploits of three enfants
terribles, Keisha Marie, Latrina and Natella of
the run-down, graffiti-strewn
titular school. These "laydeez", spend
their time stealing, flirting and
causing havoc as soon as they enter the school gates.
presentation is set to air on Channel4 later this
year, and the hype machine
has already swung into action to tout the show's
(it's produced by the team behind "The Office",
"Goodness Gracious Me"
and "V Graham Norton").
"Streatham Hill / Bromwell High" first
hit our radar back in September 2003.
Let's hope it's been worth the wait...
BIG magazine (19.01.05)
Here's some loud news in an otherwise very quiet month:
David Smith and
the gang at Skwigly
Animation are about to spring an all-new all-British
animation magazine upon an unsuspecting UK public.
magazine will feature news, reviews, interviews
and views with Brits in the
industry, their productions and developments within
the animation community.
The first issue is all set to launch in March
and The Hound is keeping
his paws crossed for their success. After
all, this kind of publication
been well overdue...
David's put together an enthusiastic pool of contributors
who are beavering
away on the premiere issue as you read this. And
although it won't be
a newsagent publication to begin with, hopes are
high and confidence is
brimming, so a fully-fledged mass market edition
may soon slip on to the
shelves of WH Smiths and friends.
Those keen to find out more, and how to grab themselves
a copy, should
keep checking the Skwigly
site for updates - Hats off to 'em, says me!
Some Christmas this has been. The
only thing Santa brought me this year
was a rotten bout of flu. I was forced to my bed
on Christmas Day, and
haven't properly emerged even now, on New Year's
Oh well. Being in bed has at least given me the
chance to catch up on some
Christmas tv. Although there wasn't that much
to get excited about this year.
"Jack Frost" was an interesting new
toon on BBC1. It was adapted from the
picture book by David Melling, and it looked great,
with its goblin characters
stepping off the page and into a painterly 3D world.
But the story was slighter
than slight, and the finished tale didn't quite
come together in the way that I
hoped. But full marks go to the animation, and the
music - especially Kate
Rasby's song contribution. I think it might grow on
me with a repeat visit.
ITV presented us with Michael Foreman's tale of
"The Little Reindeer". This
is a popular book, and Foreman a very popular
and familar artist. The toon did
exactly what it said on the tin, but somehow seemed
to be very short on
atmosphere. I wasn't moved, at least. Although I couldn't
really move far,
being wrapped up in my duvet and all...
Leave it to the true blue classics to stirr the
Christmas cockles. Channel 4
brought us "The Snowman" and "The
Bear" again, and both underlined their
superiority over the schedules. If anything, I've
fallen even more for "The Bear"
which has a darker, more complex appeal than its
predecessor and a
splendid intensity to stirr my flu-filled head.
"The Snowman" will always
have its place, of course, but "The Bear"
is a wilder ride.
And now 2005 is on our doorstep. As soon as I'm
well enough to let the
year in I'll take a look at what's in store for
us. Right now, though, I'm not
looking beyond my next Lemsip...