Mr Hell is finally coming to DVD. And Serge
the little seal cub. And Lucky.
And Champion the Wonder Snail. And Thomas
the Tank and the rest of
the myriad stars and celebrities who popped
up in the 13 episodes of Aaagh!
- It's the Mr Hell Show during its disastrously short run.
"The Mr Hell Show" was a hit in
Canada and Australia when it aired,
back in 2001. But here in blighty viewrs were
given the runaround by
the BBC who pushed the series around the schedules
until they finally
buried it in a painfully late slot on BBC2.
Even so, a fair few found
the show and they liked it enough to contact
folks like myself,
wondering when a fully-fledged DVD release
So I'll repeat the good news. Mr Hell is forthcoming.
is being released in the UK next Spring, via
So start saving your
pennies now, folks!
Time has been mercifully kind to this most
topical of series, and whilst
a few political asides now miss the spot,
there's still stacks to enjoy as
a succession of anarchic stars parade for
the camera. And then, of course,
there's our pointy-headed hero himself, adeptly
voiced by the late Bob
Monkhouse. Mr Hell had so much potential, and indeed,
still does have
plenty of mileage left in him, if only the
Powers That Be could be brave
enough to redeploy him. Just think what he'd
make of the War Against
Hmm. Maybe we should send Serge after them,
Stay tooned for more info on the release,
nearer the time!
Bloomin' eck. Everyone's talking about the
new Irn-Bru advert.
"Phenomenal Christmas" is an animated
parody of "The Snowman",
and in particular, the classic flying sequence
by the song "Walking in the Air".
Directed by Robin Shaw, the tv advert features
snowman and a lad in a dressing gown taking
to the air, and it
replaces Howard Blake's lyrics with a cautionery
tale about sharing
one's Irn-Bru with your "chilly
mate". It also takes us
on a whirlwind tour of Scotland, the home
of Barr and their fizzy
drink, giving us aerial views of the Falkirk Wheel,
the Forth Bridge,
Glenfinnan Viaduct, Eilean Donan Castle, Princes
Ice Rink and - yes - even Nessie himself,
before the lead soprano
plummets from on high...
nicked my Irn-Bru and let go of my hand..."
"Phenomenal Christmas" was produced
for £250,000 by the
Leith Agency, and it took 16 weeks to make.
It had its tv premiere
at 9.45pm on ITV1, last night here in Scotland
(The Hound's adopted
home), but you can watch it online from anywhere
you like right
Oh, and for the record, the new song is sung
choirboy Ben Robinson.
It's interesting to hear that, according
others, Snowman creator Raymond Briggs isn't
so happy with his
licensees, Snowman Enterprises who "forgot"
to inform him of the
deal until late into production. The new reports
suggest he finds
the advert "inappropriate".
Whilst it is indeed a jolly ad (it's very
hard not to smile whilst watching),
and whilst the author's concerns may-or-may
not be part of the advertising
ploy (Barr do so enjoy controversy), it is
perhaps an ill-timed campaign,
coming so hot on the heels of the latest moves
from OFCOM. They've just
announced plans to banish such forms of future
after the watershed and thus put a great deal of
childrens tv in
even greater jeopardy. It's enough to turn your
fizzy drink flat...
Last night, BAFTA dished out their annual
Children's prizes, and
this year the spotlight fell on the
because "The Amazing Adrenalini
Brothers" collected the award
for Best Animation...
Elsewhere, Wallace and Gromit collected
the film award for "Curse
of the Were-Rabbit" and "Pocoyo"
beat Postman Pat and the rest
for the Pre-School Animation trophy.
But it's those Adrenalini Brothers
who really must be celebrating. Xan,
Adi and Enk beat out stiff
competition from King Arthur (see
below), the Koala Brothers and
those Scurvy Rascals in a category that
really was too close to
and Studio B must be delighted!
"Pocoyo"s win was no real
surprise, given the cult following this
little chap has amassed. That's not
to say he was any better than
the other nominees. It's just that right
now, he's the freshest on
the block. And Stephen Fry's narration is
And of course "Were-Rabbit"
won large. Surely there was no
contest in that movie category? - Well,
at least The Hound didn't
spoil the ballot by pontificating on
its winning potential...
The second series of "King Arthur's Disasters"
has been airing
on CiTV over the last few weeks, and if you
haven't tuned in yet,
you've been missing a treat!
Series two features more madcap antics in
King Arthur and his merry band of knights
and misfits embark
on quests hither and thither in the name of
True Love, honour
and - well - any excuse at all, really. It's
all voiced splendidly
by a famous cast, including Rik Mayall, Morwenna
Matt Lucas, and each tale rattles along, chock
full of wit and
stupidity in the best traditions of "Monty
Python" and "Maid
Set your recorders for CiTV every Monday
and Tuesday at
4.00pm. And just as exciting is the news that a chunk of
one is now
available on DVD
Yep, there are six ridiculous episodes
for your viewing pleasure. And for a
little insight behind the production,
you might want to peek inside the mind of second
Dave Freedman, who has his
very own blog online. Arthur's there,
as well as Dave's doodles and thoughts on
the world at large...
Gadzooks! - "King Arthur's Disasters"
is just one of three unmissable
toons to catch on terrestrial tv right now.
The Hound has rattled on
incessantly about the delights of "The
Secret Show" on BBC1, but
there's also the death-defying stupidity of
"The Amazing Adrenalini
Brothers", still airing in and around
the CiTV schedules. That's a
series that's been sorely neglected here at
Toonhound. So now
we'll start setting the record straight: Track
it down at once!
August, The Hound heralded the return of the encyclopedic
brilliance of "look and Learn",
the educational weekly that was
such a hit back in the 60s and early 70s.
Well, now the next stage of that return is
upon us in the form of
a "Best of" publication. Laurence
Heyworth and company are offering
folks the chance to sign up to a
48 issue subscription which will compile
the very best art and editorials from throughout
the title's run. And to
whet our appetite they're mailing out sample
copies to interested
parties. The Hound got his just last week,
and goodness, it takes you
back. There are articles on Tintagel Castle, a
biography of RL Stevenson,
a look back at the San Francisco earthquake
and - best of all - Don
Lawrence's classic "Trigan Empire"
strip. And they've all been reprinted
in that olde familiar newspaper-size format.
Any skepticism you may have will be cast aside
once you've seen
the new edition. The title is just so vibrant.
And if feels so fantastic
in your hands - it's difficult to explain
- but as you pick it up and
peruse its contents, you're really taken back.
always seems to be spoon-fed to kids in the
form of Top Ten Factoids,
or wafer-thin articles. But the features in
"Look and Learn" went so
much further, and they took a step off the
familiar road to explore
some truly diverse little pathways and avenues.
And of course,
each article was always fantastically well
If you fancy getting your hands on some wonderful
official site. And who knows, if the "Best Of" run is
we may even see the title returning as an
some time in the future...
Look what's just arrived! - It's those DangerMouse
wee while back. They've been sculpted by a talented
chap called Tony Leetham, and the figures
represent his first solo
foray into the figural market.
Tony has his figures in a number of
company pies identified on
Group web site and "Concept 2 Creation" is the
of his latest figural venture. Here's Tony
"I originally had the idea for the DM
figures about five years
ago and actually started to sculpt the main
DM&P figure all
those years ago, but at the time it was just
a dream and I
didn't progress very far with it.
It wasn't until a chance meeting with Fremantle
October 2005 at Brand Licensing , when I
learned of the
anniversary, that I started to think about
I decided it was now or never! I struggled
to get the licence
as I only had experience of the product development
things and not the manufacturing and retail/distribution.
it wasn't until May of this year that I secured
the licence and
set about developing the figures - which
made it very hard to
get them released anywhere near the actual
and before Christmas.
But here we are, 6 months later after lots
of hard work
(first 2 months almost 80 hrs/wk!!!) awaiting
of the full production run..."
And don't they look grand? - The six resin
figures can be ordered from stores
like Forbidden Planet, right now, or direct from Concept
And if all goes well, sales -wise, maybe we'll
seel more fab figures
from Tony. Of course, as we all know, The Hound
is still holding out
for his own Happiness
Dragon. But that's for another time. Right here,
right now, there's astounding, amazing DangerMouse.
my old piggy bank....?
Yee-haw! - This week sees the release
of Bob the Builder's latest
feature-length adventure on DVD. Bob
the Builder: Built to Be Wild
originally played in cinemas back
in July, as part of a HIT Entertainment
tour, alongside a new Angelina Ballerina offering.
Previously, Bob's had a memorable Christmas,
he's fixed up a castle
and built a Winter Games stadium.
But in this latest adventure,
Bob and the gang take a vacation to the one-horse
town of Cactus Creek,
in the US of A, where they meet up with a
cowgirl called Rio, tell Tall Tales
around the campfire and undertake a rootin'-tootin'
The Hound still hasn't caught up with this new
toon, but it's a fact
that Bob's previous feature-length productions
have all been superb.
The HOT Animation team really go to town on
these tales, giving
them proper feature-film trimmings and expanding
the mythos into
a widescreen landscape. "Built to be
Wild" is undoubtedly going
to continue the trend. The Hound can't wait
to round it up...
That's right folks, we're closing in on the
Right now, Toonhound's TvToons
index identifies 194 series of one
animated form or another - be they stop-motion,
2D, 3D, or just plain
old animatic toons. That leaves a mere half
dozen to go before that
double century milestone is upon us!
It's taken six years to get this far and thorough,
but even so, the list
of "missing" toons still never seems
to shorten. And even more surprising
are the ongoing emails this site receives,
not only from fans pointing out
omissions, but also from industry bods - the
very producers themselves,
less - seemingly keen to get their toon creation included post haste.
It's all very flattering, if rather frustrating.
After all, The Hound know what's
missing, it just takes so very long to sort
out. I've spent far too many
years squinting away at my DVD and VHS collection
in order to identify
credits and info and nuggets of detail. My
poor eyes are suffering,
I tells ya! And every year, more and more
top toons find their way
through development hell and onto our screens.
For every series I have
to track down copies, record them from tv,
or pick 'em up from car
boot sales and auction sites. And if I want
extra info on tie-ins and
toys it means yet more sleuthing abroad, turning
Oh, and don't get me started on the credits.
A top toon series
often dips into a pool of many writers, it'll
have a series of guest
artistes on the voicetrack, storyboard artists
will come and go.
Getting all those names together and correct
can be a thankless
task, especially when many of the selfsame
folk appear to be
poised on the other end of a mouse, waiting
to chastise me for
But who would have it any orther way? - Good
mail or bad mail,
it all means that folks seem to care about
what this site is trying
to achieve. And that makes the leg work more
Never mind 200 toons, I'm already looking froward
to the big 300.