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    TheHound - an irregular round up of toon news and chatter from the uk                    July - 2002

    Garden gnomes, Dan Dare and Lucky Bags Comic
    all get 'flushed away' this month...

  Gnome Sweet Gnome!

  Here comes Gordon...

  Tortoise Flushed Away...

  Aardman get ratty, but
  Tortoise is dropped..

  Desperate For Dan...
  Cgi-Dare is headed
  for Channel 5...

  Mixed Bag...
  Lucky Bags Comic
  is an interesting mix...

 Sites For Sore Eyes...
  Signing off with another apology...

The Fleetway Interviews
The Fleetway Interviews


      Gordon Gnome!   Gnome sweet gnome!

     Step aside Bill & Ben, because a brand-new star is making his way down
     the garden path to success. His name is Gordon Gnome (Garden Gnome
      - geddit?) and he's the latest animated creation from the hit factory that is
     Collingwood O'Hare. Gordon, it seems, is a very special kind of gnome with
     a heart of gold who dwells in an upturned wheelbarrow-come-shed at the
     bottom of the garden with his pal Andrew The Worm. As the press blurb says:

          'Gordon is sentimental - not just ornamental - and takes great
           pleasure in keeping his garden tidy and the animals happy...

     That means telling the plants jokes and stories to keep them happy,
     and even wrapping them in hats and scarves to fend off the Winter chill!

     Gardening entrepreneur, writer and green-fingered celebrity Alan Titchmarsh
     has put his voice to Gordon. He also voices Andrew and the rest of Gordon's
     garden friends - Daphne Squirrel and Morris Mole amongst them. But it's not
     just Alan's talking voice that's been employed on the new show, he also sings
     the title song, and there's some jolly speculation that it might even make
     'Gnomeber One' in the charts - like a certain Builder-chappie before him...

      Gordon & Alan again!

Gordon Gnome is planned as being
a 26 x 10min series. The pilot episode,
entitled 'The Smelly Wellies' has already
been completed and has been chosen
for Cartoon Forum in September.
Gordon himself is being officially launched
in August, as an interactive guide and
narrator for a major new exhibition entitled
'Our Global Garden' based at Eureka!
The Museum for Children in Halifax.

Interesting to note that Gordon has
actually been developed from an original
idea by cartoonist Alan Plenderleith - he
of Odd Squad greeting card and comic
strip fame...

     Collingwood O'Hare are, of course, a multi-award winning British animation
     company. The Hound interviewed Tony Collingwood back at Xmas, during
     the launch of their hair-raising feature The King's Beard. Their film special,
     Eddy And The Bear has recently spawned an equally-successful hit
     series, and they are currently up to their eyes in samba rythmns and
     rainbow colours, working on their fab new pre-school series Yoko!
     Jakamoko! Toto!, due for transmission on CITV next year. Yoko! is
     shaping up into a huge pre-school hit, complete with the most infectiously
     daft title music you've ever heard...

     For more on Gordon, Yoko!, Eddy and the gang check out Collingwood
     O'Hare's official site:

     And don't forget the Toonhound Q&A with Mr Collingwood himself:
     Of Beards And Bears


      Tortoise 'flushed away'...

      Now there was I just one month ago, speculating on the change in
      Aaardman Animation's feature-film schedule. The Wallace & Gromit
      feature had leapfrogged director Richard Goleszowski's Tortoise Vs Hare
      film, I said...

      ...Well things have changed again. And with even more drama. Poor old
      Tortoise has now been put on indefinite suspension, his chasis just not
      being up to the job it seems. Such a shame. But that's just the luck of the
      draw when developing a feature film nowadays, and especially an animated
      one. The Dreamworks/Disney battle is firing on all cylinders. Aardman are
      only one film in to their coverted Dreamworks deal and so very much is riding
      on the back of each and every decision. Maybe even, our Tortoise friend will
      return one day, now that the pressure of delivery has been removed from its
      shell. Time will tell...

      Meanwhile, let's sound the Aardman trumpets again because they've now
      announced acquisition of a brand-new feature project called Flushed Away.
      This claymation comedy will come from the pen of veteran writers Dick
      Clement and Ian LeFrenais and will follow the adventures of a pampered
      pet rat who accidentally gets flushed from his posh penthouse flat into
      the London sewer system. As various sewer-bound hijinxs occurr,
      our Mr Rat finds himself falling for the charms of sewer-life and its colourful

      A most interesting purchase then, packed with comic and animated
      potential, but more importantly, a very safe one. Clement Le Frenais have
      been producing film and tv comedy scripts and hits for a lifetime - their
      hits include Porridge, The Commitments, The Likely Lads, Vice Versa,
      Hannibal Brooks and lord-knows-what else. This duo are bound to be able
      to steer the Aardman ship safely through the production process to release.
      Some touch decisions made there at Aardman then, but necessary ones
      methinks. It's great to see the Aardman/Dreamworks film deal back on track
      again and equally-great to see the animated feature industry in such a
      busy buzzing good shape right now: I mean, Flushed Away joins Wallace
      & Gromit, the cgi feature Valiant (detailed last month), and other still
      hush-hush film projects on a very busy British slate...

      Stay tooned to all things Aardman-esque at their official site:

       All-new Dan Dare  Desperate for Dan...

      At last! - The new cgi-version of Dan Dare is finally flying into a solar
      system near you, courtesy of a deal with Channel 5 here in the Uk.
      Certainly, it's something to celebrate. There's a crowd of fans out there
      eager to see this new series, and keen for it to outshine the problems
      it encountered during production. And by all accounts, the UK press
      have leaped on the acquisition, trumpeting Dan's return in glossy,
      digital 3D...

      But there is just one sneaky problem with the deal. And it's something that's
      been overlooked by the press, it seems. The Hound here lives in North-East
      Scotland and whilst Elgin is a small city-come-market town and not exactly
      the most suburban area of the UK, it's not excatly the Highland Wilds either.
      And yet, for some inexplicable rason you can't pick up a Channel 5 signal in
      much of Moray unless you've a satelite system hooked up to your tv. That
      means a whole bunch of folk like us still can't get to see the flippin' series!

      Still, let's hope the series is a hit. Then even us Morayshire folk can run
      out and purchase the DVD. Better still, let's see some tie-in merchandise
      in our shops. Certainly, we'd be delighted to stock DD figures and ships
      over at ToonsToGo - if you know of any licensed paraphenalia out there
      for this series get in touch - we want to stock it!

      Ordinarily, I'd now direct you to the official Dan Dare Corporation site,
      but strangely, it's out of commission till Autumn, pending a revamp.
      So try the try the other Dare links on Toonhound's index page instead...


     Lucky Bags Comic - #1     Mixed bag...

     Well, here it is folks, the very first issue of Lucky Bags Comic is launched
     this month. LBC as it shall hence be called, is published via Toontastic
     and features strips from our current Fleewway Q&A'er Mark Bennington,
     as well as the great Lew Stringer, Joe Matthews, Ian Rimmer and Nigel Kitching.
     The all-colour comic comes packaged up inside a Lucky Bags goodie bag
     of sweets and trinkets and retails for £1.99. LBC stars include Dick Turtle,
     Jungle Jane, DNA Couriers, The Horror Bags, The Cheeky Monkeys,
     B.E.M - Bug-Eyed Monsters, Granpa Cosmo, Captain Krook and Wiz!

     Now it's not usually my 'bag' to plug this kind of publication here at Toonhound,
     but LBC is supposed to be an attempt at something a little bit braver than most.
     It's a 'corporate' publication with a big bug eye on the olde worlde comics
     market of yore - all but abandoned since the demise of the Fleetway
     weeklies and now only inhabited by DC Thompson...

     So what does The Hound make of it all? - Is this the first fleeting return
     of those comic goodtimes, or merely another shot across the bough of
     those sinking strips? - Well, it's a rather mixed-bag. First and foremost let's
     get things straight from the out-set. This is a younger kids' comic, aimed
     squarely at the same age range as Nipper and their ilk of old, rather than the
     slightly more mature readership of Buster and co. It also still feels a tad
     too 'corporate' with Lucky Bags' 'stars' Dick Turtle and friends too prominent
     for my liking. Dick was Lucky Bags' very first character created back in
     1990 at the height of Eastman Laird's Ninja Turtle fad. He was nothing more
     than a commercial product character - like Tony Tiger, or the Tetley Tea-Folk
     grinning on the front of a product, enticing us to purchase - and he feels
     very dated. Obviously, he's there for corporate/sentimental reasons, but
     he really doesn't have that much star strip potential. He's just too bland.
     Funnily enough, another 'corporate' icon, The Horror Bags munsters succeed
     exactly where Mr Turtle fails. Indeed, even the Harry Potter-like Wiz! achieves

     ...But, some of the other strips are rather fun. The Bug-Eyed Monsters
     sneak in a 'Life Of Brian' reference, and Mark Bennington's Jungle Jane
     certainly picks up 'Brownie Points' for its poop joke and more.

     LBC has achieved rather splendid distribution through the likes of
     Woolworth's and WH Smiths, succeeding already where Fleetway was
     failing in those last few years. What's more Mr Bennington tells us the
     Toontastic team is already hard at work creating their fourth issue, a
     Halloween Special. So will it have staying power beyond that? - I can't
     decide. Right now, LBC reads like a comic of two halves. If LBC readers
     can persuade the publishers to allow the strips to develop naturally from
     their corporate roots then it just might covince True Blue comic fans
     to start buying it. But a decision still has to be made here: Is this a
     comic that comes free with sweets and candies, or do the sweets and
     candies come free with the comic...?

     Lucky Bags Comic is on sale in High Streets up and down the UK,
     and you can visit the official Lucky Bags sweets site here:


    Toonhound's Pooch... Sites for sore eyes...

    Crikey, so here we are, one month on and I'm still eating a hearty slice of
    humble pie. I keep making promises I can't keep, don't I? - I never got
    round to those Wallace & Gromit pages, and those so-often promised
    artist Q&A's are still woefully absent...

    Still, let's be postive here. The Q&A with Fleetway's Mark Bennington
    is sitting loud and proud on the site now, and there's been a fair bit of
    Fleetway page re-jigging to accompany its arrival. And I can confirm
    unequivocably, that the oft-promised interview with Mr Lazy Bones
    himself - artist Colin Whittock - is now in my grubby paws, being prepped
    to add to the site. But you know, keeping Toonhound on the tracks just
    seems to take up more and more of my unpaid time - it's still a pleasure
    creating these pages, but it doesn't half bog me down once in a while!...

    Stay tooned for many more tempting arrivals soon. Just don't ask me
    to tie them down yet. I'm not going to promise things I can't deliver
    any more. But I can tell you, whatever appears will be worth returning for.
    Heck, you knew that already though, didn't you?

    Till next time!

Pooch again!    




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