Earlier in the year, the Italians
fell for the pleasures of several UK
productions. And now, three months on, us Brits
the fact that we stormed France too. That's because
animation awards were dished out at Annecy over
and UK productions walked off with 9 of their sparkling
The big winner was Peter
and The wolf.
That's the rather splendid
stop-motion special from Susie Templeton and the
team at Se-ma
in Poland. It's the kind of film that's guaranteed
and at Annecy it collected both The Audience Award
big one, The Annecy Cristal.
Aardman Animation's "Shaun the Sheep"
rounded up the Cristal for
Best TV Production, and they snatched a second prize
Pearce Sisters" was produced by the studio and directed
by Luis Cook,
and the ten minute tale nabbed the Jury's Special
Award in the
Short Film section.
and Lola snatched Special Award for a TV Series.
And Kez Margrie and the BBC/Slinky Pictures won
twice for their
sociably aware mixed-media film "The Wrong
Trainers". The film,
which features five real stories about poverty
in the UK, was given
both a UNICEF award and one for best TV Special.
Last, but by no means least, the UK proved yet again
that is has
talent in depth with two winners in the Graduation
"t.o.m." by Tom Brown and Daniel Benjamin
Gray won the Award
for Best Graduation Film, whilst Tibor Banoczki's
collected the Jury's Special Award. Here's a rather intriguing
from the latter:
T'is a curious beast indeed!
Tibor is an NFTS Graduate, and if you want to find
out more about
what's coming out of there you should stop by their
where there are lots of clips to view and talk
For now, though., let's congratulate all those
jolly Annecy winners...
Well done to Peter Sallis, who we're
told has scooped up an
OBE in this year's Brithday Honours List, for his
services to drama.
Peter's 86 years young now, and something of an
institution here in
the UK for playing Norman Clegg in the seemingly
BBC sitcom "Last of the Summer Wine". Goodness
in its fourth decade now...
Of course, us toon fans know and love him for being
the voice of
Wallace, the human half of that so-special partnership
of man and
dog brought to life by Nick Park and Aardman Animation.
voice is so distinct in the role, perfectly married
to his plasticene
counterpart... There's such enthusiasm there...
And those little
quips and quirky asides are delivered with so many
tested this on Gromit,
haven't we, lad?"
That's a famous line from A
Close Shave, of course. It's spoken when
Wallace has just dunked Shaun into his new washing
Oh, but the way Peter Sallis delivers that line is so
clever. He's telling
us a fact. But the way in which it's pitched as
us, there's just so
much information there... They used this contraption
Gromit and it so obviously went awry. And when the
his eyes by way of a response, it just confirms
what we were
thinking so succinctly...
Yep, big congratulations to Mr Sallis. That's a
so it is, and so thoroughly deserved...
As regular folks here will know, The
Animation Art Gallery launched
a range of Mr Benn giclee prints
earlier in the year which went down
a treat. So it won't come as a surprise to hear
that they've just gone
and expanded the line...
Oh, curse them, they've now launched a range of minitature
There are 16 mini giclees in the new collection, depicting
Mr Benn in
each of his famous fancy dress costumes. That's
Mr Benn as the
Red Knight, Clown, Caveman, Spaceman - even as a
Of course, we also get a print of him in his standard
and an additional jolly Shopkeeper print. These
"Mr Benn Adventures",
as they're known, only measure 8"x8" which
makes 'em perfect to
sneak into the nooks and crannies around your house,
and even better,
they come to you already framed and ready to hang
at a ridiculously
Does this sound like another sales pitch for our
Well, darn it, it is. There have been a number of
releases through their store this year, and frankly,
the sort of thing this Hound has been waiting for,
seemingly for eons.
And there's more to come, because Lollipop
Animation and Cult
also have some wonderful Brit-centric releases up
their sleeves. Truly,
this is the Year of the Giclee!...
Well, it's almost that time again. You know,
time to delve into the
recesses of your wardorbe in search of those clown
or a longlost tutu...
Yep, Wrong Trousers Day is fast approaching. As
wallace and Gromit and the fine folks at Aardman
Animation, this is
a fun fundraising excuse to wear absoloutely ridiculous
attire in the name of charity. This year's event
takes place on June 29th,
and here's a little more blurb for you:
Friday 29th June you can join thousands of people
across the country and ‘Get your kit on’ to raise
for children in hospitals and hospices all around the
You decide what to wear, your favourite football
shorts or cricket whites, the choice is yours, just
If your organisation has a strict uniform policy you
wear one of our great Wrong Trousers Day stickers
To register to take part and receive your fantastic
Wallace & Gromit Fundraising pack please log on to www.wrongtrousersday.org..."
That web site has plenty more information,
downloads and even stuff to buy, so there's no excuse
not to contribute
in some small way. Wallace & Gromit's Children Foundation
big strides into
the quality of life of sick children in hospitals and
hospices across the UK.
Already, some 2500,000 people have signed up for
the event, and
there's a big push on to try and get 1million signatories
come the big day.
a brand new Brit-comics mag in town this month. Not a magazine
full of comic strips, you understand, but a magazine
all about our favourite
weeklies from years gone by. "Crikey!"
celebrates the grand old days
of the British comic weekly with unbridled enthusiasm
(much like our own
St. section, no less). And editor-in-chief Brian M Clarke has
kindly snuck a copy into The Hound's own mailbox...
Issue one looks at a smattering of the weirdest comic
strip stars to have
surfaced over the years, takes a gander at the worlds
of Frank Bellamy,
pays tributes to "Wham!" comic, "Misty"
and "Jackie" and reproduces
David Britton's exemplary interview with the munster
master Ken Reid.
There's a giddy guide to "My Comicy Saturday",
some Fiendishly Interesting
info on British horror comics of the past, and - well
- let's just say there are
plenty of happy memories on show, as well as some very
handy comics info.
Fifty-two pages, in all, for just £3.99.
"Crikey!" has hit the presses full of
promise, and more striptastic
memories are promised every quarter. To find out
more, and to purchase
copies of this grand new mag, pop on over to the
official web site. You
can take out a full subscription there, too.
Oh, and whilst you're there,
get us a Sherbert Dip Dab and a couple of Bazooka Joe's...
Well, he knows all about the Hound's secret
passion. Or rather,
the Hound's other secret passion. You
see, as well as being a
topnotch toon freak, Yours Truly also likes
nothing better than a
darned good read.
Yep, I'm a book freak. I devour 'em. But more than
that, I collect
them too. There's something just so special
about having a signed
first edition in your hands. It makes the
reading even more pleasurable.
Now, I don't just collect any old books. I
like children's fiction.
No, scrap that. I love children's fiction.
It's my favourite genre.
and I've always kept abreast of the latest
news and releases.
But you know, a funny thing happened a few
years back. A chap
called Harry Potter popped up on the book
scene, and his success
has led to publishers flooding the market,
month on month, with
titles that they like to think are The Next
Big Thing. It's all a bit
dizzying, if you don't know what's what.
Only, the Hound knows exactly what's what.
So I thought now
might be a good time to start sharing that
knowledge with folks
on the web. And to this end, The
Book Gnome was born
(www.thebookgnome.co.uk). Think of it
as a companion to
Toonhound, enthusing and informing in just
the same way.
Only this time, it's all about books, lovely books...
Now it's very early days. The new site is
still coming together,
finding its layout and place in the scheme
of things. Plus it needs
more content - a heck more content, indeed.
But if you drop by
a gander, I hope you'll find it a worthwhile place to
bookmark and return to, as it develops. And
I hope you'll be
informed. I'd certainly welcome any feedback
you can offer, as I pull
everything together and the new site yawns
and steps out, blinking into the online sunshine...
Ah, me. Toons and books. My two great loves.
I can't wait to
share 'em with you...