story of a beard, a barber, a wand
and a wizard; where the fate of a fairy and
an entire Mirrored Kingdom are held
in the balance!"
first animated feature from Collingwood O'Hare, "The King's Beard"
the exploits of young Rufus, a newcomer
to the merry Mirrored Kingdom. Here
he finds big bearded subjects following
the footsteps of an even bigger bearded
King and as a consequence, having no
need for the services of his newly-acquired
barber shop. Rufus' attempts to redress
the whiskery balance unearths an evil plot
involving the King's maniacal brother, his
batty sidekicks, an upside-down realm,
and the uncertain fate of a newfound fairy
friend called Sophie.
"The King's Beard" touches
upon territory familiar from COH award-winner Rarg,
with its central idea of a unique kingdom
in peril. This time, however, the focus
is shifted from whimsy to action. "The
King's Beard" is stuffed with characters,
songs, events and occurrences. Indeed, if
there's a flaw it's that too much is
going on in those seventy-three minutes for
you to catch your breathe and
experience the story. But hey, "Beard"
is primarily for kids and, on that level
it works rather well. It certainly makes
a pleasant change to gripe about too
much content, rather than too little!
Whilst it doesn't quite reach the whimsical
heights of "Rarg", "Beard" still offers
adult appeal via some witty dialogue
and asides, some silly song parodies and
plenty of that attractive Collingwood
layout and character design. As far as tv
feature animation goes, this one pushes
its budgetary restraints to the max.
You gets your money's worth here. Now
how about a True Blue theatrical
feature on a Disney-style budget? -
That really would be something special...
Tony Collingwood discussed the origins
of the film when he talked
to The Hound, in December 2001
"As I was finishing "Rarg"
I came up with the idea of "The King's
Beard". I do this writing exercise where
you write 10 one-paragraph
stories in a morning. It stops you looking
at a blank piece of paper
waiting for the big idea to hit. Most days
I write 10 absolutely crap
stories. But occasionally you hit pay dirt.
One day I simply wrote:
"There was once a King who had the
longest beard in
the world, and the entire population
tried to grow beards
just like him. This was fine
for everyone in town except
That was the starting point for writing the
film. After that I
discovered the story by asking questions.
Why did he have this
beard? What would the barber do? It was the "bottom
project" for ten years, because we were so busy
with the series
work - and quite frankly, making a feature seemed
Chris (O'Hare) really believed in the idea and
kept on at me to
develop it. At the end of 1999 I finally got the
with our story editor Helen Stroud - and now it's
done. At last!!!"
& broadcast info
"The King's Beard" had
a special BAFTA screening, on 6th November 2001
(that's The Hound's invitation,
above). The film subesquently premiered
on CiTV, 24th December 2001...