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Toonhound presents...






      January 2007
 Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!

    BAFTA nods
   This year's nominees...

    Another bloomin' advert
   Father Christmas takes a break....

    The dream didn't work
   Aardman & DreamWorks separate...

    Beano to the Max
   A brand new Beano magazine...

    Search me
   New site searches for you...

    Watch With the South Bank

   "Joe", Bod", "Fingerbobs" and more...

    Crappy New Year
   The Hound's woeful Christmas...   more »

     news archive »     interviews »      giveaways »

  The dream didn't work  (31.01.07)

    It's probably no surprise to hear that Aardman and DreamWorks
    have decided to terminate their ongoing production relationship
    from today....

    Back in 1999 the two companies signed up to an ongoing development
    deal which was set to give us five animated feature films to savour.
    First out of the block was Chicken Run, which flew away with USD225m
    at the box office. It was followed by the stop-start debacle of
    "Tortoise Vs Hare", a retelling of the classic Aesop fable which
    never properly got out of the starting block. That film was leapfrogged
    by "The Great Vegetable Plot", which latterly became Curse of the
    WereRabbit, the first Wallace & Gromit feature. But although the
    film was a critical hit and a big fan favourite, the movie simply didn't
    scare up the sort of box-office figures that would excite those
    Hollywood executives .

    Finally, there's been Flushed Away, Aardman's first foray into the
    full-length CGI arena. The critical reception has been fair to middling,
    but more importantly, those box office recipts simply haven't perked
     up - speeding up this inevitable divorcing of the companies.

    So is this a good thing or a bad thing? - There are a number of
    folks (The Hound included) who feel that Hollywood hasn't been the
    happiest of places for this quintessentially British of companies.
    They appear to have been something of a square peg, being forced
    through a particularly round hole. And whilst CGI is still being fanfared
    as THE FUTURE, you just can't beat the kind of painfully intricate
    stop-motion work that Aardman built their name upon.

    Of course, those DreamWorks cofffers gave the company the perfect
    safety net in a business world that's just so precarious, it made complete
    sense to take  up the deal. Now they're on their own again, the future
    must look just a little scary. But it at least gives the company to regroup
    and plan its future strategy unencumbered by any Studio baggage...

   Beano to the Max  

    Cor! - There's a brand-new Beano in town, folks, because publishers
    DC Thomson are all-set to unveil their shiny new companion magazine

     BeanoMAX launching 15th February 2007

    The new 44page megamag launches on 15th February, and it will
    feature a mixture of familiar faces from the original comic, together
    with a slew of magazine-style articles, interviews and news aimed
    at a "slightly older market" - which is perhaps, odd billing, seeing
    as so very many Beano readers are already well out of their teens!

    But, more seriously, "BeanoMAX" will be battling it out on newsstands
    with such already established delights as "Toxic" magazine. According
    to DC Thomson's press blurb, there are some 2.3m boys "out there"
    in the 8-13 age bracket, and 120,000 copies of this new magazine
    will be targeted towards them. There are ten issues planned each
    year, with two bumper specials.

    Whilst purists may sniff at the arrival of this oh-so-trendy whippersnapper,
    it's surely a good sign for Britain's favourite perennial comic favourite,
    in that DC Thomson still have absoulte faith in Dennis, Gnasher and
    the gang and their ability to reel in the punters. In December, the
    company took a swipe on the chin from the BBC, when it was revealed
    that their "Dr Who" Christmas annual had outsold that of "The Beano" -  
    the first time that top Thomson's title had ever been knocked off
    its Christmas throne...

DC Thomson

   Search me  (24.01.07)

    No, really. Now you can search this site. Or at least, you can
    search the TvToons indexed on this site, in several new ways.

    Let me explain.

    From the day this here site launched my Inbox has been bulging
    with queries, questions and requests relating to the series I've indexed.
    Folks send me emails with half-remembered details of a show.
    Maybe it's a name, a place, or an animation technique involved
    in a production. And I always do my best to help. But answering
    all these queries takes quite some time, and folks can be quite
    vague about the details. So it's got me thinking. Why don't I post some
    specific searches on the site? - Hopefully, that way, a few folks
    can find what they're looking for unaided, in their own time.
    And my Inbox may be freed up a little, too. It's a win/win situation!

    So from today, when you visit the TvToons section of Toonhound
    you'll find some new additions. On the main A-Z page, I've now broken
    down all the series by production technique, so all the stop-motion
    series are grouped together, etc. That's in addition to the regular
    listing, and the TvToon timeline.

    But better still, I hope, is The Hound's all-new search page, on
    which I've identified such delights as the names of all the cartoon
    cats and dogs featured in the series I've indexed. I've listed all
    the boys and girls too, and various vehicles, and more. And each entry
    is linked to the relevant show. It's early days with this, so there'll be
    new searches a-plenty popping up, just as soon as I can get round
    to them. Oh, and most importantly, before I get a stack of emails
    pointing out missing entries I must make it clear: These lists aren't
    definitive. I hope they're thorough. But really, there's just no way
    I can pinpoint every character or object in every series, so please
    don't hassle me!

    Anyway, hassles aside, I hope these new searches prove popular.
    It's actually quite fun just to spin through the indexed characters
    or to use the lists as a kind of quiz game, putting each character to
    his or her relevant show. Go on, give it a go, yourself. How many
    can you identify?

TvToons 2


   Watch With the South Bank  (16.01.07)

    The Hound has recently been contacted by Andrew Hinton, who's
    helping to organise a rather jolly get together at London's South Bank
    Centre, at the end of the month.


    The event in question is titled Watch With Mother, and it will
    feature screenings of several rediscovered episodes of Joe,
    alongside episodes of Bod and Fingerbobs.  Those "Joe" episodes
    have only recently been unearthed on a BBC reel by creators Joan
    Hickson and Alison Prince, so they really are quite a find. What's
    more, Joan and Alison will be there in person, on the night, to take
    part in a special Q&A after the screening. And they'll be joined by
    Alison Cole, who'll be bringing along a number of special "Bod"
    and "Fingerbobs" items from her parents' archive, for our perusal.

    "Watch With Mother" takes place at the Purcell Room at the
    Turntable Cafe, in the South Bank Centre on January 30th, 7.30pm.
    And tickets are only £10.
That's a bargain price to pay for such
    a special night out!...

Turntable Cafe - Watch With Mother


   BAFTA nods  (12.01.07)

    The folks at BAFTA have been viewing and selecting and scratching
    their collective heads again recently, and now - hot on the heels of those
    Children's BAFTAs - they've presented us with a list of nominations for
    this year's main awards ceremony. Of particular interest to us, of course,
    are the two animation categories. So here are the nods:

    Animated Feature Film
    Flushed Away
    Happy Feet

    Short Animation Film

    Dreams and Desires - Family Ties (Les Mills/Joanna Quinn)
    Guy 101 (Ian Gouldstone)
    Peter and the Wolf (Hugh Welchman/Alan Dewhurst/Suzie Templeton)

    Can Roddy and Rita repeat Wallace and Gromit's success last year?
    It'll be tough, with those Pixar boys and girls roaring up alongside
    them. And those penguins may have something to say as well
    (or should that be "mumble"?)

    As for the short film nominations, well, all three are already winners
    just for being nominated, but the smart money may well be on Joanna
    Quinn and Les Mills, who already have a clutch of Annies on their
    shelf for "Dreams and Desires". But as everyone knows, The Hound's
    word is usually poison around these kind of events, so we'll say no
    more for now!
The BAFTA awards bash will take place in London on 11th February.



   Another bloomin' advert  (02.01.07)

    Well, lookee here. You wait ages for a Raymond Briggs Xmas advert
    to show up and then two arrive in double-quick succession!

    Father Christmas is currently starring in this splendid new Nestle Kit Kat
    campaign from JWT London. The ad promotes the notion that a
    Kit Kat bar has "just" 107 calories, which makes it a handy snack
    for roly-poly Santa...

    Father Christmas

    Unlike that earlier Irn Bru campaign, "107 Calories Kit Kat" has the
    blessing of Mr Briggs, and it also sports the name of Roger Mainwood
    on the credits as Animation Director. Roger's previously worked on
    "The Snowman","The Bear" and the original film of "Father Christmas"
    so it's little wonder that the new ad is a faultless recreation of its
    predecessor. What's more, Mel Smith has returned to voice our
    rambunctious star.

    The tv campaign launched on December 27th, and the 40 second
    ad will continue to run into January, to tie-in with the health kick
    that always seems to take-off this side of the Christmas festivities....

Brand Republic  


   Crappy New Year  

    So how was it for you? - Christmas, I mean. If you're still feeling
    bloated and elated from the New Year festivities, then I'm delighted
    for you, I really am. Just don't ask me about mine.

    Let's step back in time a few weeks. On December 5th, whilst surfing
    the wonders of the web, my not-so-super PC casually inquired if I'd like
    to download the latest upgrades from Microsoft. And coincidentally,
    Symantec advised me that my Norton subscription was about to expire.
    Would I like to upgrade to Norton 2007?

    Unfortunately, I said "yes" to both and the result sent my PC spiralling
    into microchip oblivion. Thus, I was offline for the better part of two weeks,
    and this here web site was devoid of updates until my all-singing, all-dancing
    New Machine showed up. But alas, just as I'd safely transferred a whole
    heap of files and software to this shiny new machine, its right-click
    function decided to pack in.

    That was the cue for another week of frustration as I firstly attempted
    to resolve the problem before latterly reverted to a complete reformatting
    of what was obviously a not-so-super new computer after all. And in
    between the two PCs a stack of contacts, info, downloads and details
    were lost to that great microchip in the sky. Plus, of course, this here
    site was set adrift, alone and neglected over the Holiday period.

    So please don't ask me about Christmas or New Year. Ask me about
    the future. What does 2007 have in store for Toonhound? Well, plenty.
    Lots more indexed series and films, for starters, and lots more news
    and some big surprises are on their way...

    Till next time!

        Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'

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