Annecy announcements (24.05.04)
Well, it's Annecy time once again. Every year, this
festival extends an invitation to animators from around the
provides them with a magnificent showcase for their
specials, series, videos, web films, commercials and
short films. And
the best get to carry off a handsome trophy for their
festival lineup has just been announced, and it features
29 productions in the TV series category. The nominated
from 13 different countries and, what do you know, 5 of them
creations. 'Creature Comforts' has been nominated,
together with 'Meg
And Mog', 'Little Robots', 'The Koala Brothers' and
the all-new production
of 'Pingu'. Choosing between any of these is mightily difficult,each
their own merits, and all five are series to be proud of.
'Little Robots' has
some beautiful design work, HOT's new-look 'Pingu' easily
Polish original, 'Creature Comforts' is wry and funny,
worked wonders with 'Meg And Mog' and 'The Koala Brothers'
is a bright
and bonzer show. Personally, TheHound
reckons all five deserve the prize.
But - hey - what about the other 24 nominated productions...?
Elsewhere, in the TV specials lineup, ginger Gibbons'
'Bosom Pals' has
a nomination too, and it's lined up against films from
France, Japan, Iran, Germany, Switzerland and China
- a truly cosmopolitan
showing. But Annecy isn't just about big bucks commercial
work. 7 films from
the UK are included in the extensive short films section,
and 7 more are
featured in the student/graduation role call. Let's
hope Annecy helps
some new budding talent up on to the world stage. Alongside
screenings and awards is a flourishing traders market, so
These folks may be snapped up for new productions around
The Annecy festival runs from 7th to 12th June. Stay
tooned for news
of any British successes!
That's Dandy (21.05.04)
Compal's latest comic auctions have been announced
this week, and
there are some interesting British
comic lots up for grabs. Top of the
heap is a juicy first issue of 'The Dandy'. The
comic dates from 1937
and has an estimate of £3,500 - £4,000.
As you may recall, Compal's
featured a rare first issue 'Beano' which went on to break the
UK record for a comic purchase. It will be fascinating
to see what this
one fetches on the back of this development.
As always with Compal, DC Thomson comics are particularly
represented and it's lovely to see a very rare,
first issue copy of 'Magic
Comic' up for grabs. This was Thomson's oft-forgotten
third title, after
'The Beano' and 'The Dandy', and it started its
short eighty issue run
in 1939. Compal's estimate stands at £700
- £1,000, but as before,
we'll have to see what happens now that records
have been re-written.
Further down the list of June lots is some great
propaganda art from
Dudley Watkins, Sam Fair and Arthur Jackson, and
'Eagle' art from William Stobbs. 'Beezer' collectors
will be tempted
by two yummy lots featuring the first issue and
second issue of that
top title and a lot featuriung the first issue
of 'Topper'. What's more,
Fleetway fans will surely be salivating over the
early 'Buster' comics
on the list, including numbers 1-to-5 - neat, eh?
This auction runs until Tuesday June 8 2004 at
8 PM UK time.
Bids can be submitted online, by fax or by telephone...
Spitting news (17.05.04)
Some top news indeed this week, with the announcement
'Spitting Image' tv puppets may soon be returning
to our screens in
an all-new series - that's if producer John Lloyd
gets his way. He's
just put together a budget for his proposed new show which
see the puppets back in our living rooms next year,
after a nine year
Everyone remembers 'Spitting Image', don't they?
The show fearlessly
lampooned British and world politicians, celebrities
and folks in the news
who were retooled in to outrageous, coarse rubber
puppets. Some top
talent like Richard Curtis and 'Private Eye's
Ian Hislop added venom to the
scripts, whilst an incredible array of voice talent
- Rory Bremner, Harry
Enfield, Joihn Sessions, etc - mocked and mimicked
the mighty and
the not-so-mighty, without mercy. Gosh, remember
how Norman Tebbit
was turned into a leather-clad biker? Or John
Major, appearing as a dour
grey-skinned nobody? - 'Pass the peas, dear...'
- Or those outrageous
When 'Spitting Image' was good, it was very good
indeed. The series ran
for 12 years in all, from 1984 to 1996. At its
peak it was regularly getting
15million viewers. It even spawned a hit single,
when 'the Chicken Song'
(a spoof of 'Agadoo') reached number one in May
1986. It was all so
successful that international versions of the show
sprang up in France
and, even, Russia. Co-creators Peter Fluck, Roger
Law and Martin
Lambie-Nairn went on to bring us a 'Spitting Image'
tour of their Covent
Garden studios. Many of those fantastic latex
creations were later sold
According to The Guardian online, Mr Lloyd, who
produced the first five
series, has been working with Roger Law and Richard
Bennett the financial
guru on the originals, on plans to revive the show
with ITV. A seven-figure
investment would be needed so the team could rebuild
their troop of
puppets. And one has to say, the time is certainly
right for their return,
with a whole new world of non-celebrities, footballers
politicians to send-up now. Since those puppets
left the scene, the satirical
void has been filled by '2DTV' and 'Monkey Dust', and
Rory Bremner and the
'Dead Ringers' team have applied the make-up
and pushed themselves ever
closer to puppet-like lampoonery. But you know,
you just can't beat those
original rubberised grotesques. There's something fascinating
flailing, spitting faces flexing across the screen...
It'd be great to see
Guardian (free registration)
Animal instincts (10.05.04)
Those of you with an 'instinct' for animated adult
humour might want to
tune in to BBC2 tonight at 10.00pm, because that's
when Baby Cow's
'I Am Not An Animal' finally gets its first UK screening...
As reported - oh - eighteen
months ago now, 'I Am Not An Animal' follows
the exploits of a group of animals created in
a vivisection lab. Amongst
their number are Philip the horse, Winona the
dog, Keiron the cat,
Claire the rat, Hugh the monkey and a rabbit called
Niall. This jolly gang
get a shorp sharp shock one evening when a bunch
of Animal Rights
Protesters decide to liberate them from their laboratory.
received some serious ear-bashing from cetain
quarters when it was
announced, given its sensitive subject matter, but
the furore seems to
have died down a tad now that the show is finally
The series has some top voice talent on board:
Steve Coogan is Philip,
the pompous horse who wants to write like James
Herbert. Simon Pegg
plays the arrogant cat Keiron, who's desperately
keen to flee to London.
Then there's Amelia Bullmore, Kevin Eldon, Julia
Davies and Arthur
Matthews adding their vocal weight to the rest
of the animals.
It all looks fab on paper, and Tim Searle and
his animation team have
created a fantastic, anarchic look to the production.
The animals are wild
cut-out creations, collaged together from photos and
art samples. If the
humour is as sharp as the design this could have
'cult hit' slapped all
Keep your hooves crossed, folks!
Eggciting developments (05.05.04)
Remember 'Shelltown'? - The Hound profiled
this 'cracking' new toon
in June last year.
This CGI pre-school series is in development with
Shelltown Productions of Ulster and has been adapted
bedtime stories created by Patricia Parson-Sparkes.
the stars again:
Well, producer Bernard Sparkes now tells us that,
as of May 1st,
star crooner, recording artiste, celebrity and
producer Ronan Keating
has joined Shelltown Productions as a shareholder.
And that means he'll
be providing voiceover and music for the forthcoming
is, indeed, eggshellent news for this fun
in store... (15.05.04)
Well it's May now, and TheHound
and his family have slowly but surely
progressed through the last few difficult
weeks and we've started looking
forward again. For Yours Truly, it means turning attention
companion site ToonsToGo.
For those of you who don't know, ToonsToGo
is our little online store
selling a selection of British and American cartoon collectibles.
this spin-off venture two-and-a-bit years ago
now, not really knowing how or
if it was going to work, but we're happy to say
that it is - just about!
By 'eck, it's been tough, though. I'll hold my
hands up now and admit
I'm no businessman. Indeed, any business bloke
worth his salt would
look at some of our decision-making and positively
grimace. The thing
is, we decided from the outset to operate one
way only: We'd only
stock things that we personally would like to
own. At the end of
the day there's no way we can stand by products
that are shoddy or
inferior - and believe me, there's a lot of tat
out there to avoid. We also
like to track down items that other stores seem
to overlook. That's
why we've had the likes of Mr Bean, Mr Hell, Mr
Benn and The
Rubbadubbers in stock, and it's why very soon, we'll
be bringing in
characters from Spellbound's top new toon The
Koala Brothers and
we'll continue to source those amazing Muppets
action figures which
so few companies have brought in to the UK. We're
not breaking any
business records, but we are in profit (slightly)
and we are keener
than mustard to keep on supplying quality toon
toys to our customers.
Indeed, our bank positively hates us because we've
yet to touch
any of their loan or overdraft facilities!
So what's going on there that's newsworthy? -
Well, we've just tweaked
design a little to bring it in line with Toonhound's streamlined design,
and we've just ushered in a little Mad May Sale
that might interest you,
especially if you're a fan of The
Mr Hell Show. What's more, like I said
a moment ago, The
Koala Brothers are about to wing in to the store very
soon. Frank and Buster Koala fly around the orange scrub
and biller bongs
of the Australian Outback, tracking down folks to help
and attend to.
This is a top series, beautifully animated and
produced (and no, I'm not just
saying that to boost our sales) Do yourself a favour and
track this one
down, daytimes on BBC2. And afterwards, track down
the toys because
they too, are of tip-top quality...