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      December - 2001

Some jolly British toon news for Christmas and the New Year...

  British Cartoons Are Go!....
  Cartoon collectibles coming your way....
  See-Thru Xmas...
  Ivor's coming to Channel 4...

Don't forget:
Of Beards And Bears
a Q&A with
Tony Collingwood

The King's Beard
Eddy & The Bear

and more...
  Second Fox To The Left...
  a Xmas tv treat from SilverFox...
  Sing when you're winning...
  Off The Tracks...
  Thomas video offer goes awry...
  A Small Christmas...
  Saggy books, DVD's and CD-ROMS!
Sites For Sore Eyes
more updates for you!...



    Actually, that should be ToonsToGo. At least, that's the name for
    an all-new venture coming your way in January 2002.

    ToonsToGo is going to be an internet store stacked with British
    cartoon collectibles for you to purchase safe and secure online.
    On offer will be everything from Bagpuss fridge magnets and
    Whistling Clangers to limited-edition Thunderbirds collectibles,
    like the items illustrated here. You could call it a cartoon
    collectible takeaway of sorts. A smart idea, eh?


    Now usually I wouldn't go out of my way to plug a site like this
    for fear of your cries of 'favouritism', but - hell's bells - this one
    is different because it'll be owned and operated by The Hound

    That's right, I've taken the plunge into commercialism and even
    as you read this will be busy collating, scanning, scheming
    and planning for when we go 'live' with our new domain next
    month. In time, this little store should stock every collectible out
    there worth a nod and a wink - in the same way that Toonhound
    here attempts to sniff out every niche, nook and cranny for the
    toon info you want to glean up on. I can't promise a leap from
    startup to stardom in a month, but I will promise that the same
    ethic will be carried through from these pages, and that over time
    we aim to offer you a catalogue of desirable items to get your
    mouths and wallets salivating. Here's the URL to bookmark:

    There's nothing there right now, but there will be soon, I promise!

    I could twitter on all day about our plans, but you don't want a
    big scrolling advert, you want some Toon News. So here it is:



     Well now, it seems that new project from Raymond Briggs I was
     banging on about a month-or-so ago has indeed turned out to
     be a film and book tie-in after all, and it's winging its way to
     us as a Xmas TV highlight too...

     Ivor The Invisible tells the story of John, a young lad who wakes
     up one morning to find an invisible giant sitting on the end of
     his bed. It's the first project Mr Briggs has conceived directly
     for the screen and the tie-in book from Channel 4 Books reworks
     images from the production into strip form. The film itself has been
     produced by Paul Madden for Screen First and it's to be broadcast
     on Channel 4 this Christmas. In advance of that, you can already
     buy the video which includes - get this - an exclusive profile and
     interview with our favourite Gentleman Illustrator!

     What a treat, eh?- A shiny DVD is also supposed to be out, but
     I've yet to find one locally. Frustrating, 'cos I'm desperate to view
     this one soonest, but I want to savour it on disc. Will it be a classic
     to sit alongside the rest of Mr Briggs' filmography? - I reckon so!

     For the lowdown on the rest of Raymond Briggs' works stop
     by Gentleman Briggs - The Hound's unofficial, but definitive
     guide to all things Briggs-ian...

     Meanwhile, being the time of year that it is, Briggs' ever-popular
     Snowman has been dusted down again. The Peacock Theatre
     Production is back on and likewise the touring ballet version,
     if live productions are your bag. New this year is a Snowman
     kids' magazine - I'm not sure if it's an ongoing publication, but
     there's bound to be more on it at the officially licensed site:



      Gosh, as if The King's Beard, Eddy And The Bear and Ivor weren't
      enough for us this Christmas, you should also keep your eyes
      open for SilverFox Films' Second Star To The Left, an all-new
      half-hour special telling the tale of a hamster, a rabbit and a guinea
      pig and their adventures one snowy Xmas Eve when they attempt
      to deliver a very special present to a special little girl. This one airs
      on the BBC and is already available on video to buy. I haven't seen
      it yet, but the film's design looks beautiful - it could prove to be
      yet another classic in a jamboree of animation delights this year...

      Graham Ralph, of course, is a hugely-successful animation producer
      who has previously brought us Spider, The Forgotten Toys, The First
      Snow Of Winter, William's Wish Wellingtons and more. His busy
      company is currently beavering away to bring us another hamster
      -starring production in the form of Bounty Hamster. Regular
      readers will be aware that this is the new out-of-this-world animation
      adventure series written by the boys at Peafur Productions, and it
romises to be a cracker. I mean, any show with a True Grit-styled
      rodent called Marion as its lead just has to be a winner (John Wayne -
      Marion - Geddit?).

      Another SilverFox series recently airing has been Angelmouse,
      created by Rodney Peppe. Peppe you'll recall was the creator of
      that jolly, cheeky chap Huxley Pig - which is a particular favourite
      series of mine. I've just added Huxley to the TvToons section...

      For info on all the above, bar Huxley, I'd suggest you link on over to
      the SilverFox site - pronto. They also have an online store there,
      so you can buy your favourites on video and the like.

      Here's the URL:



     Following in the chart-topping footsteps of Bob, Milo and The
     Tweenies those there bright sparks The Lampies have now
     released their own record for our aural delight...

     Yep, as if having those Tweenies in the Top 10 wasn't exciting
     enough those good folk at the BBC have thrown in a little self-
     generated competition (Gosh, it's like Blurr and Oasis all over
     again). The Lampies track is called 'Light Up The World For Xmas'
     and it will no doubt perform well enough to inspire a whole album
     of lamp-tastic musical delights for us. And, hell, good luck to 'em
     I say. Those there BBC records have all been slick and professional
     little numbers and no worse than many of the manufactured pop
     sounds which constitute the so-called Top 40 of today.
What's more,
     Bob, The Lampies and the rest are only filling the same niche that
     Pinky & Perky, The Wombles and The Smurfs filled for earlier

     There's a page of Lampies links for you in the TV Toons section.
     You should also make a beeline for the official site:



     A 'chuffing' tale now courtesy of a finance company called Aberdeen
     Asset Management. Apparently, the firm recently offered a free Thomas
     The Tank Engine video to people subscribing to their latest children's
     saving plan. Nothing special about that, one would have thought. So
     you can imagine the surprise when the firm were reportedly swamped
     with 40,000 phone callers interested in the offer...

     Ouch! - That's a serious number of freebies. Were these people all
     fans of the show, or was the company's policy just too good an
     offer to miss? - Who knows. But it's a surprise to think that, in
     this land of DVD converts a 'boring' old video offer could generate
     such interest - and a Thomas one at that. Not that I've anything
     against our favourite tank engine. It's just that this is surely more
     of a Thunderbirds or Harry Potter type-of-thing...

     Mind you, be it Thomas or whoever, the promotion's surely a hit.
     It's got the company name sold right around the country, hasn't it?



    Crikey,have you seen the splendid amount of SmallFilms
    merchandise out for Xmas this year? - Bagpuss and The Clangers
    really are this year's Big Thing, with everything from exclusive
    Boots Hot Water Bottles to fantastic WH Smiths Advent Calendars
    available for saggy, baggy collectors like myself....

    Funnily enough, my favourite SmallFilms-related purchase hasn't
    actually been a licensed product at all. Rather, it's been 'Seeing
    Things' (PanMacMillan) the incredible autobiography from Oliver
    Postgate which was recently launched in paperback. It's a weighty
    but splendid volume filling in every conceivable detail about Oliver's
    life, from birth through LAMDA days, on to SmallFilms, Noggin,
    The Pogles and the rest, and beyond to Oliver's wider views on the
    world and his creative work in and around Kent and Canterbury. 
    It's informative, thought-provoking and revealing, with ne'er a stone
    of his life unturned. What's more the book comes shrink-wrapped
    with a fantastic limited-edition CD-ROM containing the whole volume
    on disc with annotated notes, picture supplements and a fantastic
    collection of film clips from all the SmallFilms' productions - a tiptop
    package, methinks...


    Of course, you can't go reading an autobiography like that without
    wanting to catch up on the original material. What better then than
    those fantastic complete collections of Bagpuss and The Clangers on
    Universal DVD and video. A commentary or supplemental interview
    would have made these two unbeatable but still, it's amazing to be
    able to watch these again in a pristine digital transfer, and surely
    these should hold a prized spot on your DVD shelf this Xmas...?

    Now, if you call yourself a serious collector you should make a
    beeline for the official SmallFilms online store, known as The
    Dragons-Friendly Society. This here splendidly nog-ified site
    offers such exclusive delights as a complete new facsimile set of the
    12 Noggin books, beautifully bound and presented in a handsome
    slipcase box. What's more there's still a chance of acquiring a
    limited edition Peter Firmin print if you buy the set - it's strictly
    limited to just 850 editions - very smart...

    Other Dragons-Friendly exclusives include a complete compilation
    of the Noggin The Nog films on a double-video set. Again, this can't
    be bought in your your High Street, just through the web site. Plus
    there's a fine reprint of Nogmania, a postcard set and - oh - just
    get on over there a look for yourself, you won't be disappointed:

     ++++++ DEC 11TH ++ STOP PRESS! +++++++++++++++

     A small Christmas just got smaller!

     Electronic publishers have just announced the
     inaugral releases in a brand new series of exclusive electronic
     Bagpuss stories from Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin.

     Released on 14th Dec. are 'Bagpuss Om A Rainy Day' and
     'Bagpuss In The Sun' - never-before-seen tales narrated by
     Oliver with new illustrations from Mr Firmin. Each title features
     over 20mins of Oliver's narration with accompanying illustrations.
     These two will be sold together for £5.00 as a download, or on
     CD-ROM for the same price + postage - only from

     More Bagpuss tales are planned for the New Year as well as two
     Clangers stories - 'The Iron Chicken' and 'The Music Trees' - and
     two Ivor The Engine tales - 'The First Story' and 'Ivor's Birthday'.
     Those latter titles have, of course, been previously available in book
     form but it's still an exciting new format to start collecting. Further
     discs will include The Pogles, Pingwings and more...

     The NoSpine press release tells us that Oliver has embraced
     electronic publishing wholeheartedly and that he has no plans to
     publish his work in any other format. Frankly, I'm not surprised,
     given the riches on offer in his first foray, the 'Seeing Things'
     CD-ROM I talked about above...
     Now if all that doesn't make your tinsel sparkle, I don't know
     what will!


     With ToonsToGo coming your way in January you'd be forgiven
     for thinking I'd be taking my peddle off the metal here at Toonhound.
     But that ain't so. ToonsToGo will be an entirely separate entity
     and I've no intention of dropping off the updates and additions
     here. The New Year should at last see more strips being indexed
     at Fleetway St. now that the revamp has finally been completed.
     Those existing main site indexes - TvToons, Comic Strips, etc - will
     also continue their expansion, with more info, credits and trivia notes
     for every title. Plus I've another author mini-site for you, to coexist
     alongside Gentleman Briggs. It's all about another favourite 
British illustrator-come-writer of mine. It was 'easy-peasy' for me
     to 'roundy' up the info on him. So who is he? - Well, you'll find out
     soon enough...

    - Have a good one!


       all characters and creations featured here are copyrighted
       to their respective owners - so no filching, folks!

- F2001