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                                                                     February 2004
Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!
Hold the front page...
Or better still, change it...        More...

    Cosgrove Hall start 'Wumbling'...

    BAA finalists

    Or Final Lists, indeed...

    Another birthday bash!

    The Bash St. Kids turn 50...

    Saggy, baggy and thirty

    Bagpuss turns 30...

    Farewell Thelwell

    The passing of Norman Thelwell...


    Bob builds a third feature...

    Briggs gives it welly

    The Puddleman is coming...
   More news:       



    The busy folks at Cosgrove Hall have this week started work on a new
    pre-school series called 'The Wumblers'. Created by Laura Wellington,
    the Wumbles aren't Wombles with a vowel problem, rather, they're a
    jolly multicoloured community of characters with bulbous noses who
    live in a place called Wumbletown.

    The 52 x 11min series is being distributed by Peak Entertainment and
    there's plenty of info, a series bible and a preview clip to view on their
    web site. The series will be animated digitally by CHF, who will be utilizing
    'a completely paperless production line' to bring us the adventures of
    Bertrum, Renaldo his Spanish-speaking snail friend, Bertrum's second-best
    pal Gibby, a quintet of imaginary friends, and a host of Wumbletown folk.
    Them there Wumbles feel like an offshoot from a Dr. Seuss storybook.
    The series is very - well - 'American' in tone, with an accent on the values
    and morals of the characters and concept. Indeed, this is a world-and-a-half
    away from the nonsense and whimsy of Cosgrove's own productions. But it's
    jolly and bright with a bouncy theme and bound to be very popular. (Or annoying,
    if you're a parent having to watch it for the umpteenth time!) 'The Wumbles'
    already feels like an established series, which is surely a guarantee
    of success.

    Let's get ready to Wumble!
Peak Entertainment   CHF


   BAA Finalists 

    As reported previously, this year is British Animation Award year, which
    means we can expect a bumper animated celebration come March when
    the fab BAA awards are doshed out. Last month we were presented with the
    initial shortlists for each animated category. And now, as promised, after
    various screenings and debate, the nominations have been whittled down
    to a final few titles who will be battling it out at the ceremony.

    Here are the nominations with specific relevance to Toonhound:

    Best Animated Special

    Little Wolf's Book of Badness
    Angelina Ballerina: The Show Must Go On
    Wilde Stories: The Nightingale and the Rose

    Best Children’s Series

    Amazing Adrenalini Brothers: Tightrope of Triumph
    Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids: Revenge of the Bogeyman
    Brush Head: Crossing the Road

    Best Children’s Preschool Series

    Meg & Mog: Owl's Voice
    Koala Brothers: A Letter for George
    Engie Benjy: Lift off Day

    Writers Award

    Yoko! Jakamoto! Toto!: The Special Thing
    Monkey Dust
    Little Wolf's Book of Badness

    Best Comedy

    Monkey Dust
    Robbie the Reindeer: The Legend of the Lost Tribe
    Little Things

    Children’s Choice Award

    Meg & Mog: Owl’s Voice
    Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids: Revenge of the Bogeyman
    Little Wolf’s Book of Badness


    Great to see blinkin' blunkin' 'Little Wolf' made it in to three final categories,
    and 'Meg & Mog' in two. Oh and look, the 'Adrenalnis' made it in, and Tony 
    Collingwood and 'Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!' made it through to the final writer's
    nomination. Good luck to them and all the other nominees!

British Animation Awards (BAA)  


   Another birthday bash! 

    Looks like there's a second big birthday to celebrate this month, because
    those wonderful scallywags The Bash Street Kids have just turned fifty!

      The Bash St. Kids - 50 years young!

    Plug, Danny, 'Erbert, Fatty, Smiffy, Wilfrid, Spotty, Sidney and Toots, and
    their Teacher were, of course, created by that legendary Toon God Leo
    Baxendale, and they've been running amuck in the pages of 'The Beano'
    since issue #605.

    Well, just about.

    Originally the strip was called 'When The Bell Rings', and it didn't actually
    aquire its more famous title until 1956 (#705). The DC Thomson folks were,
    it seems, inspired by the view from their office windows which overlooked the
    playground of Dundee High School, and indeed, still do today.

    When the strip began, the 'gang' numbered just three with the others inveigling
    their way into the line-up over the years. The unofficial tenth member, creepy
    Cuthbert Cringweworthy didn't join the strip until the 1970s. Leo's inspired
    characters arrived slap-bang in the middle of an amazingly creative cartoon
    streak. Between 1953 and 1959 he brought us not only the Bash St. Kids but
    also Little Plum, Minnie The Minx and The Three Bears - it's quite extraordinary.

    Equally extraordinary is the fact that, over all these fifty years, those Kids have
    had just two different artists. Artist David Sutherland picked up the pen after
    Baxendale left, and he's now homing in on his 1800th strip. Along the way
    to their Golden Jubilee, the Kids have spawned a spin-off in the form of
    'Pup Parade' and they projected 'Plug' off to his very own comic for a while,
    but the gang remain today slap-bang in the centre-pages of our favourite toon
    weekly - evergreen, ever-present and ever-naughty...

    Let's hope they never grow up!     

Beanotown  The BBC


   Saggy, baggy and thirty 

    Well, lookee here. It seems our raspberry and custard friend Bagpuss
    has come of age today, because Thrusday 12th February 2004 is officially
    his thirtieth birthday. It's been thirty years since Emily's shop was first opened;
    thirty years since the Organ Mice first sang and old Professor Yaffle first
    'yaffed' and yawned. My, how time flies...

       Happy Birthday Bagpuss!

    To celebrate, Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin have been doing the rounds,
    talking to newspapers and putting in appearances. And they'll be auctioning
    a special life-size Bagpuss model today, with proceeds going to a Romanian
    Hospice appeal. Licensing By Design, who handle the SmallFilms licence
    continue to strike numerous product deals for the character too, which means
    we'll have still more goodies to purchase and collect this year.

    Saggy, baggy Bagpuss is as popular now as he ever was. Which just confirms
    what The Hound has always said: Oliver and Peter bottled lightning in that
    studio of theirs. And Bagpuss may be a bit frayed, a little loose at the seams,
    but we all still love him just the same...

    Happy birthday, you old saggy-puss!

  SmallFilms   Bagpuss at ToonsToGo


   Farewell Thelwell

    Oh gosh, this is sad. Cartoonist, artist and author Norman Thelwell passed
    away on Sunday 8th February. He was 80 years old, and was an indisputable
    Toon God who gave his name to the celebrated 'Thelwell Pony' cartoons - so
    popular for so many folks around the world. His ponies were amazing, dumpy,
    rambunctious creations, always ready to give their riders as good as they got.
    And - oh! - those young Madams on horseback, so hotheaded and feisty.

    Thelwell's creations are right up there in the British cartoon firmament
    alongside The Giles Family, those St. Trinian's Girls, Donald McGill's
    seaside sauce, and Beryl Cook's bawdy, bosom pals. Everyone has
    encountered a little girl just like the ones in Thelwell's toons. And who
    knows how many of us have bought Thelwell greetings cards, calendars,
    or those classic ceramics modelled after his works.

        Thelwell's Riding Academy 

     Thelwell's star creation was young Penelope and her Shetland pony called
     Kipper. These two fought their way through innumerable Pony Club events,
     gymkhanas and suchlike. She was a miniature minx, and he a dodgy
     podgy pony with attitude...

     Norman's toons appeared regularly in the likes of 'The Sunday Express'
     and 'Punch'. His first book of pony cartoons, 'Angles On Horseback', was
     published in 1957. In all he produced 32 titles which have sold more than
     2 million copies in the UK. And they're not all about ponies, either. 'Top
     'Dog' (1964) presented a 'Complete Canine Compendium'. 'Belt Up' (1974)
     looked at the inner workings of the motor car, and 'Three Sheets In The Wind' 
     was a cartoon sailing manual. In 'A Millstone Round My Neck' (1981) the author
     painted a vivid description of his time spent restoring a Cornish water mill.

     But it's the horses and the countryside for which Thelwell made his everlasting
     name. Thelwell's world was the world of the fox hunt, of green wellies, waterproof
     jackets, gamekeepers and vicarages, and his works serve as timeless snapshots
     of a Middle England that's disappearing even as you read this.

     Farewell Thelwell, indeed...

Thelwell at Amazon.co.uk



    Hot on the heels of Bob The Builder's recent BAFTA success with
    'A Christmas To Remember', HIT have this month released more info     
    regarding an all-new third feature-length adventure for tv's Mr Fix-it,
    currently in production over at HOT's animation studios.

      Bob The Builder: Snowed Under

    'Snowed Under: The Bobblesberg Winter Games' will be launched on
    DVD and Home Video in the Autumn. In this latest adventure, Bob and
    the gang will be joined by that old favourite from his first film, Zoomer
    (a skidoo) and newcomer Benny (a mini-Scoop). And in keeping with
    previous escapades we can expect one-or-two star voices as well.
    So far the name of Ulrika Johnsson has been revealed by HIT's PR

    Of course, the film will serve as a very useful lead-in to Bob's all-new
    animated adventures premiering in 2005, and many new toy lines have
    been lined up to accompany the relaunch. And you know what? The Hound
    says 'good for Bob' because this really is a series that has weathered
    the storm of hype. Bob's two previous films have been fun and frothy,
    striking just the right balance for little kids and - well - bigger kids like
    Yours Truly....

  Bob The Builder   HIT Entertainment


   Briggs gives it welly

    As many of you will know, that gentleman genius author and illustrator
    Raymond Briggs is a popular boy round these parts. So TheHound has
    no hesitation in directing you towards Mr Briggs brand new book.
    It's called 'The Puddleman' and it will be the first new solo effort from
    Mr Briggs since bringing us 'Ug' back in 2001. Of course, two 'Bert' books
    and that splendid volume 'Bloomin' Books' have also been offered forth,
    but those were collaborative efforts, weren't they?

       The puddleman - coming soon!  Raymond Briggs at Amazon.co.uk

    'The Puddleman' tells the story of young Tom and his Grandfather, whom
    Tom calls 'Collar' because he's always dragging him around on a lead. Tom
    wants to show Collar the special puddles he's seen and named after various
    family members, but alas, when they get to the required spot the puddles
    aren't there anymore. That's the cue for the Tom to solve the problem of the
    disappearing puddles and get them suitably replenished and restored to
    normality once more...

    This cute new hardback tale is published April 1st, by Bodley Head. And
    you can pre-order your copy online now from the folks at Amazon.co.uk,
    and help a lowly webmaster recoup some of his operating costs too.
    'The Puddleman's arrival may well dovetail nicely with the launch of
    'Fungus The Bogeyman' - that's the BBC's live-action adaptation with
    Martin Clunes and Fay Ripley that's been a long time a-coming.
    Let's hope so...

Gentleman Briggs


   Hold the front page...  

    Did you see it? Yours Truly has finally springcleaned the front page
    of this not-so-little site. Let's face it, the old home page was looking a bit
    tired. So what do you think - Is it an improvement? It's mighty tricky,
    juggling jolly graphics with speedy load times, but the new home page
    actually matches the old one, size for size...

    Now that the old tvtoons index is up to speed (well, almost) The Hound
    has been able to cast his beady eye further abroad at last. As promised
    last month, updated puppets pages will soon start appearing, plus a few
    more Fleetway St. additions. I'm working as quickly as I can to get new
    stuff online, but as you can imagine, maintaining a site this size takes
    one heck of a lot of time and effort. Plus there's the little fact of my own
    'secret' project which eats up every spare moment I have, not to mention
    our busy little sister store ToonsToGo where lots of Spring goodies are
    about to - um - 'spring' up. Ee, there's never a dull moment round
    these parts...

    Till next time!

        Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'     thehound@toonhound.com

  all characters © to their respective estates/creators / F2000-2004