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Toonhound presents...






      August 2006
 Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!

    Compal is #1
 1st-issue Beano up for auction...

    Dangerous discs!
 The Complete DangerMouse
   on DVD...

    Cloppa cottage?
 Cloppa Castle look-alikes....

    Look here
 Look and Learn returns!...

   FORUM news

 10 UK series in the development pot...

    Ninestein needs you!
 A Terrahawks fan-film for you...

    RIP Kids TV - part 2
 Further cutbacks on ITV1...

    The Mill turns again
 More Summerton Mill...

    Magic news!
 The Magic Ball is coming to DVD...

    Ofcom's shame
   The Hound gets his tuppence...   more »

      news archive »     interviews »      giveaways »

   FORUM news  (27.08.06)

  If you're looking for funding for a new toon series, then Cartoon FORUM is
    the place to be. This year is
 the 17th edition and it's being hosted in the
    French town of Pau-Pyrénées from 20th - 23rd September. 61 new projects
    from 17 European countries have been selected, which we're told totals
    more than 320 hours of programming and a total budget of 179.4m Euro.

    The UK is the second-largest contributor, with 10 projects in the melting pot,
    looking for funds, exposure or just a big fat broadcast commission. Here are
    this year's anointed titles and companies:

   Benny and Boil (52 x 5')
   from Tandem Films

   Dog Squad (26 x 11')
   from Greenlit Rights Ltd

   Harry & Toto (24 x 5')
   from Handle & Spout LTD / GS Animations Poland

   IG (26 x 10')
   from Calon

   Moonridge 5 (26 x 26')
   from 3-D Revolution Productions / Bejuba

   Ping & Pong (26 x 11')
   from Novel Entertainment LTD

   Pocket Rockets (52 x 13')
   from Millimages UK / Millimages S.A../
   Toons ’N’ Tales Filmproduktion GmbH Germany

   Scratch & Sniff (26 x 11')
   from A Productions LTD

   The Hive (52 x 7')
   from Monumental Productions

   The Rory Stories (26 x 13')
   from Darrall Macqueen LTD / Spider Eye

    Exposure at Forum will give all ten projects a considerable boost towards
    success. And as always, it will be intriguing to see who triumphs, and who
    flounders en route to our tv screens.

    The Hound hasn't caught up with all 10, as yet, but "IG" sounds particularly
    exciting. It's a stop-motion series from Andrew Offiler, and Robin Lyon's Calon.
    It's set in a twisted Stone Age and features a cavegirl toddler and her pet
    pterodactyl. Stone Age dino-romps are of course quite common, but The Hound
    is a sucker for prehistoric hysteria - from Gogs to Moschops and beyond.
    Calon have some shots of "IG" on their web site (look in "productions").
    It looks terrific!

    Elsewhere, "Harry & Toto" have their own promo site online at Handle & Spout.
    Harry's a nippy Hare, whilst Toto is a laid-back Tortoise (as opposed to a monkey)
    who takes life a little slower than his fast-talking pal.
    Meanwhile, "The Rory Stories" is based on the books by Andrew Wolffe and
    adapted by David Ingham. It follows the gentle adventures of a young lad called
    Rory, his dog, and their seaside friends...
    The Award for Most Mysterious Holding Page must surely go to Moonridge 5,
    whose tag-line promises "Totally solar adventures from the 22nd Century".
    Will the commissioning execs be just as intrigued? - We'll find out, come

                                                                  More: Cartoon FORUM


   Ninestein needs you!  

    Nigel Critten is a Terrahawks fan. And he's embarking on his very
    own nonprofit fan-film, based on the show. Here's his site with more
    info. It's a short CGI film, but it's an ambitious one, and he needs
    some help:   

    "I've got to the point where I need some extra help to get
     it done, looking for character modellers, riggers, hard surface
     modellers, all experienced in Sub-d (Subdivision surface)
     modelling, and texture artists..."

    Nigel has bags of enthusiasm, a script ready and waiting to animate,
    and a boiling kettle to boot:

    "The characters will be started when the other artist gets
     his new machine, and I'm rebuilding all the ships, project
     managing, will be the TD when we get to that stage,
     animatics - oh - and I make the tea as well!"

    If you're up for it, Nigel would love to hear from you!

                                          More: Nigel's Terrahawks site


   RIP Kids TV - part 2  (24.08.06)

    Uh-oh. It looks like another nail has been set in the Kids TV coffin
    this week, with the news that ITV have put a request in to Ofcom,
    asking permission to further reduce the amount of children's
    programming it shows on ITV1.

    This is bad news indeed, and certainly justifies The Hound's little
    rant, back in June. This is the second time they've approached Ofcom
    this year, and in many folks' eyes, even that first step was a step too far.
    The trade and industry bodies affected by these moves are rallying
    hard, but it really does look like the game is almost up - for ITV at
    least. The BBC, meanwhile, remain committed to a bright Autumn
    schedule for younger kids. And there's a slim ray of sunshine on
    the Beeb's horizon now that they've at least decided to investigate
    the viewing habits of their potential teen audience. But we can only
    damn them with faint praise. After all, this was exactly the sort of
    work they should have been doing before they decided to excise
    teen viewers from their output.

    Carts and horses, anyone?

    Kids TV in the UK is in a mess. And the speed of its decline has been
Currently, ITV1 has reduced its childrens output to a measly eight
    hours a week. That's just over an hour a day - including ad breaks.
    And now they want to reduce it even further? The details of their latest
    proposal aren't yet known, but one has to wonder just how much more
    pruning that schedule can take...


   The Mill turns again  

    The Hound's had an email from the multi-talented Pete Bryden
    this week. He tells us that VGI Entertainment are now handling
    distribution of the marvellous melancholic delight that is
    Summerton Mill. And better still, Pete and the gang are currently
    putting together a brand new second series - Which is more than
    just good news.. It's special news... Magic news, indeed...

      Summerton Mill

    Yes, as most of you must surely know by now, The Hound is officially
    a Millfreak. Summerton Mill is the most precious of shows. One to
    keep in your pocket, close at hand, so you can share it with your
    very best friend - but only if he promises to keep it safe and never
    ever tell anyone nasty in case they trample over the valley and
    scatter the 'freaks and the chickens...

    Well, you probably get the drift.

    And if you don't, you'll have to tune in to CBeebies, because the first
    series of "Summerton Mill" is about to have another stand-alone run
    starting on Monday September 4th at 12.50pm, with another repeat
    lined up for the end of November too. This is one series you simply
    never grow tired of!

    So the old mill wheel turns. And "Summerton Mill" repeats and repeats
    and repeats, just like those "Watch With Mother" classics of the past.
    Which means Mr Bryden and Ed Cookson and company have achieved
    their goal. Folks like myself chuck around review terms like confetti,
    but here's a series that just owns that overused term "modern classic".
    And in eighteen months time, we’ll have 26 episodes to savour.

    All together now:

    "Let's meet at the top of the hill..."

 Summerton Mill   VGI Entertainment


   Magic news!  (22.08.06)

    Just a sliver of news here. Just a title and a date and a distributor,
    but - oh - it'll get so many folks giggling with glee. You see, as was
    hinted the other day, Stop Frame's delight "The Magic Ball" is
    finally coming to DVD.

     The Magic Ball

    That's right. Sam and the incredible sparkling ball. The complete first
    series on DVD, 6th November, courtesy of our friends at Network!

    How exciting is that? - Let's put things in perspective. Over the six+
    years this site has been online there have been, perhaps, 5 key titles
    requested on DVD, over and over again.
When the Wind Blows was
    the first. VHS copies of the film were changing hands for £20-£30 on
    eBay, until the film finally escaped. Cloppa Castle was another.
    And "The Adventures of Rupert" continues to get requests, but alas,
    still languishes in DVD limbo. Then there's the brilliance of Film
    Polski's Moomins - a wonderful, wonderful series, though not
    British at all and thus not included here. But- oh - it's been
    tempting to push the remit of this site in order to embrace it.

    And then there's been Sam. Sam, Sam, Sam. "The Magic Ball" was
    brought to us by Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall, in the days proceeding
    the birth of their suitably surnamed company, when they were known
    simply as Stop Frame Productions. This being the year of Cosgrove Hall's
    30th anniversary it's only fitting that this classic series finally gets the
    shiny disc treatment. Frankly, November can't come soon enough.

    You can bet there'll be further info here nearer the release date!

The Magic Ball


   Compal is #1  

    Compalcomics have done it again. Their new Autumn auction features
    273 mouthwatering lots, including three or four very tempting pieces
    for DC Thomson fans - provided they have super-deep pockets.

    The first is a Beano #1 from 1938, which Compal tell us is one of the
    three highest graded copies to be offered at auction. They previously
    sold an edition for £12,100 in March 2004. Which is giddy money,
    indeed, and was a record-busting price at the time. But even giddier
    than that, six moths later they shattered that record with a Dandy #1 
    going for £20,350. The starting price here is £8,500-9,500, but let's
    face it folks, anything might happen...
    Actually there's a Dandy #1 available this time, too. But it only
    has eight surviving pages, and thus, no reserve. But someone's going
    to want it, nevertheless. And they'll also want the Dandy #2 which
    is described as being "grubby" and "with two-inch cover tear and
   two pieces missing from top cover"
. Bidding for that one is set
    at £200-£250.

     Dandy Monster Comic #1 from Compalcomics

    But if you miss out on those, there's always Dandy Monster Comic #1.
    from 1939. According to Compal this gem has been kept in a brown
    paper wrapper for most of its life, and is "far and away the highest
   graded example ever seen for sale"
. It has a listing of £3,800-4,200,
    though once again, the sky is surely the limit.

    And if all of that wasn't enough, Eagle fans can snap up a whole
    bunch of issues in various lots, from Eagle #1 onwards, as well as
    some glorious cover art. There's a nice Broons frontispiece, Captain
    Condor strip art, and a run of Tv Century 21 from #1,

    What's the betting a record goes somewhere?

    This auction runs until Tuesday 5 September at 8 PM UK time
    Bids can be submitted online, by fax or by telephone.

    Meanwhile, us regular collectors with slim wallets should drop
    by the always-excellent comics store and auction site 26pigs.
    The Pigs have been around five or six years now, and the site
    has always been The Hound's preferred haunt for comics purchases,
    especially when there are specific gaps to fill over in the Fleetway St.
    section of Toonhound. Prices there start from a respectable £1
    per-issue upwards, depending on the title...

Compal Comics  26pigs


   Dangerous discs!  (18.08.06)

    Great news from Fremantle Home Entertainment this week, with the
    confirmation that DangerMouse is about to escape onto DVD, 
    in his 150+ episode entirety.

    As you may be aware, this year marks Cosgrove Hall's 30th anniversary,
    and to celebrate, Fremantle have been busy releasing a bunch of DVDs for
    our delight. So far we've had
Chorlton, Duckula, and Ratty, Toad and Mole
    as reported on, and reviewed here previously.

    But now there's "DangerMouse", who's currently celebrating his own
    quarter century milestone. Astounding, amazing DangerMouse.
    Is it really 25 years since he first bounded out from his postbox, 
    with Penfold kicking and screaming in tow?

    Fremantle have pulled out the stops by putting together a dizzy 12 discs
    for our collective delight. Which means no more faffing around with those
    single disc releases from the past. Here's the blurb from the boys

       DangerMouse on DVD - pre-order yours from!

"Six new single DangerMouse DVD titles, certificate U,
    are being released on September 4 RRP £9.99.

    On the same date a complete 12-disc collection will also
    be released, retailing at around £59.99.

    Special features include rarely-seen behind the scenes
    footage from the Thames Television archives, including an
    exclusive look at David Jason and Terry Scott in action and
    how to draw DM, a brand new interview with Mark Hall and
    several exciting new games!"

    Amazon are currently offering the 12 disc set on pre-order, for a
    tidy £37.49, which makes it very affordable indeed. That's a very
    snazzy silver anniversary sleeve too... Oh goodness. 12 discs.
    1444 minutes of deviantly dangerous delights. This is just what
    we've all been waiting for!

    But it you think that's super-good, there's also a "magic" bit of further
    news floating around that should be confirmed very soon. And believe
    me, Cosgrove Hall fans could have a "ball" if it's true. Stay tooned
    for an update very soon...

DangerMouse at


   Cloppa Cottage?  (17.08.06)

    As you may have noticed, The Hound has recently been busy
    dusting down the puppets section of this site, and this little endeavour
    involved skimming through many DVDs and videos, including the
    complete Cloppa Castle series DVD I stayed a while again, I must
    admit, I couldn't help myself and you should be seeing the results quite
    soon... But whilst I was there, blow me down if I didn't unearth a
    equally fabulous look-alike, because it strikes me that our jolly
    inventor Cue-ee-Dee happens to look an awful lot like a certain
    cottage-dwelling tv star:

    Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Cue-ee-Dee - separated at birth?

    Spooky, innit? - And that's on top of the fact that Beosweyne bears
    more than a passing resemblance to a certain Dingle from "Emmerdale":

    Beosweyne and Zak Dingle - twins too?

    Maybe I'm just going mad, but now I'm bitten. I'm officially looking
    for more Brit-toon "look-alikes". They're everywhere, I tells ya.
    Have you seen any?


   Look here  (07.08.06)

   "Look and Learn" is coming back!

   Many folks of a certain age will remember this classic IPC publication,
   which ran from January 1962 to April 1982. It featured a giddy mix of
   scientific guides, historical tales and naturalistic wonders - facts and
   feats and fabulousness about the world around us - all supremely
   illustrated and presented by some of the finest comics artists around.
   It was a kids' encyclopedia, if you will, but its accent was very much
   upon action, danger and spectacle in the great wide world around us.
   It also had some fantastic, vivid cover artwork - often a stand-alone
   painting depicting some action-packed encounter between man
   and nature...
   They don't make comics like "Look and Learn" anymore. And that's
   precisely why publisher Laurence Heyworth bought the rights to the
   title a wee while back. And not only that, he picked a selection of
   similar IPC publications, amongst them "The Children’s Newspaper",
   "Treasure", "The Bible Story", "Ranger", "Speed & Power" and
   "World of Knowledge" as well as a selection of nursery titles,
   "Jack and Jill", "Playhour", "Harold Hare", "Teddy Bear", "Robin",
   "Swift" and "Once Upon a Time". The consequence of all these
   purchases is that Mr Heyworth now has an almighty picture library
   and comics resource at his fingertips and he and his company are
   beginning to expose some of the fabulous contents via a droolingly
   good web site!

   There are plans afoot for a print revival to follow, but for now, we can
   click and wallow in the glories of an amazing comics history unfolding
   online. Those educational titles alone featured stunning artwork from
   the likes of Ron Embleton, John Millar Watt and the mighty Don
   Lawrence. Now the "Look and Learn" web site is collating and
   archiving it all.
   It's extraordinary to think that a generation has grown up devoid of
   this amazing output. Don Lawrence and company represent a world
   that's almost lost in this modern comics world of street-smart superheroes,
   corsetted vamps, dour goths, and angst-ridden guys and gals. That's not
   to say the changes aren't good. Heck, no. Wander into your local comic
   shop and you'll find that the breadth and scope of modern comics and
   strips is truly astounding. But "Look and Learn" and its ilk represent a
   classical past. The artists involved in those early titles were akin to
   Italian Masters. They could draw from life in a way that's simply
   not so desired or pursued nowadays. The world turns. It doesn't get
   better or particularly worse. It just moves on. But the names of
   Lawrence and Emberton - they'll live on forever, enshrined in the
   comics pantheon.

   Oh, and speaking of Mr Lawrence. When you've finished browsing
   the Look and Learn site ("when"? - surely, it's "if"), you'd do well to drop
   by the official Don Lawrence Collection web site which features so
   much of this chap's amazing artwork, alongside a special site dedicated
   to The Trigan Empire. This was Don's seminal strip which was published
   in "Ranger" and hasn't been included in the Heyworth/Look and Learn

   Look and learn, and wonder - *sigh*

Look and Learn   Don Lawrence Collection


   Ofcom's shame  

    Shame on you, Ofcom.
    Shame on you, Boomerang.
    Shame on you for allowing one viewer's complaint to reshape history.

    As you are probably aware, Ofcom have recently upheld a complaint
    against the Boomerang channel in which a viewer objected to having
    Tom and Jerry smoking in two of their classic cartoons. And thus, after
    debate with the Turner and Boomerang the following decision was reached:

    "The licensee has subsequently proposed editing any
     scenes or references in the series where smoking appeared
     to be condoned, acceptable, glamorised or where it might
     encourage imitation.."

    The report in the recent Ofcom bulletin states that Boomerang rightly
    argued about the historical context of the cartoons and how any editing
    might adversely affect the value of the animation. Even so, they have
    agreed to scour and edit any toon in their library that glamourises or
    condones smoking for children - That's not just Tom and Jerry, folks,
    but all the toons in the Hanna-Barbera  back catalogue too!

    In The Hound's book, even one cut is a cut too far. Smoking
    is not be condoned - we can all agree on that nowadays. But hacking
    into our animation history to satisfy an overprotective modern audience
    is wholly unacceptable. And poor Tom and Jerry have suffered for
    their sins in an earlier round of censorship too...

    Remember folks, this decision was made on the basis of just one complaint,
    with no exterior debate or discussion. One complaint and history gets
    rewritten. It's outrageous. Doctoring historical footage because it upsets
    current thinking is totally unjustifiable. And whilst many may think this
    is just about cartoons, it's just the tip of a ridiculous iceberg that's
    surfaced in recent years. After 9/11 movies and film posters were
    doctored to "protect us" from images of New York's Twin Towers.
    Heck, even DangerMouse was affected by the debacle.

    So where do we draw the line?

    In America, debate continues about the merits of "Song of the South",
    a film that Disney still keep under the counter, fearful of a backlash.
    Not showing the film is one thing. But what if they edited it. Can you
    imagine if they released a version that excised the offensive content?
    It's unthinkable. And yet in the same gasping breathe, that very same
    company is happy to edit the classic tale of "Pecos Bill", so that we're
    not encouraged by the scenes of cowboy smoking.

    Double-standards abound, it seems, whilst the debate rages on,
    on both sides of the Pond. How long will it be before someone takes
    offence at product placement in Button Moon, or Fenella's
    anti-Welsh accent?

    Well, there is no debate here. The choice is a plain as black and white.
    Either show the cartoon or film as it is, as history remembers it.
    Or don't show it at all.

    Till next time!

        Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'

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