Pooch says 'Welcome to Toonhound!'TheHound - an irregular round up of toon news and chatter from the uk

  ...cartoon news interviews and views from the UK!  Union Jack


  british toon
  news & chatter
  animated films
  & shorts

  animated series

  animation studios

  & people

  string, hand
  & finger puppets

  characters, strips
  & comic books

  British animators
  & illustrators



  Click here for Frankie Stein... Click here for Fungus...
   Click here for Bunty...  Click here for Wallace...





Mr Bean -  find him at ToonsToGo!




                                                                                June 2003
Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!

Double the news, double the chatter!

More news arriving in the Forthcoming
Features page....

   FAB-1 takes flight
    No, really, FAB-1 flies!...

    An Eggshell-ent Series

    Shelltown is coming...

    Pat's PO KO'd

    Postman Pat mourns PO closure...

    Five True Tracys

    Boy band or rescue team?...

    Valiant aloft

    Vanguard move in to Ealing...

    Thunder over London

    FAB filming at Tower Bridge

     Indiana The Builder

     Harrison Ford to take on Bob?

     Albie darned!...

     Albie awarded at Annecy...

     Tracy brothers are GO

     News from the Thunderbirds set...

     Basil - Fit and ready

     Mr Brush has a Fitness Instructor?

     Bean's back...

     Mr Bean on ITV again...

     Lucky 13

     Lucky Bag Comic celebrates...

     Here Come The Coles! - A new Toonhound Q&A now online... Here Come The Coles   
Lo and Alison Cole talk 
about BOD and friends 
in our exclusive Q&A


    FAB-1 takes flight

     Look up in the sky! - It's a big pink bird! - Or rather, it's Lady Penelope's
     FAB-1car. That's right, it appears that the new-look vehicle in the forthcoming
     live-action Thunderbirds movie can also now fly, as the story and video at
     Sci-Fi online confirms...

     That's a move bound to raise the hackles of fans. In the original tv series,
     FAB-1 was a 'normal' road-bound pink Rolls Royce with a few nifty hi-tech
     additions. As revealed a few months back, the new film version is a pink
     Ford Thunderbird. The addition of a flying capability will surely set many folks'
     teeth on edge. After all, this ain't 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'...

     Interesting to note the comments from Working Title's Tim Bevan who's
     producing the new film. The film makers have decided that, conceptually,
     in their eyes the original series doesn't exist. He says they are reinventing
     the concept specifically for a US market that is unfamiliar with the show.
     That gives them liberty to do as they please, which is exactly what they're

     One could complain about all this, but what's the point? The film maker's
     have their vision  which they'll pursue to completion and release. And good
     luck to 'em. Teaser trailer's for the film have launched on the big screen this
     week, as previously mooted, and they cleverly mock the film with which they
     are previewing (The Hulk). So the mould has been cast, the plaster is being
     poured, we'll just have to wait and see if the thing sets right...      
                                                                           More:  Sci-fi Online


    An Eggshell-ENT Series

 We've had garden peas, we've had shoes, we've even had hats. Now ladies
     and gentleman, boys and girls, start 'scrambling' for the latest animated
     series aiming to bring inanimate objects into jolly animated life...

      'Shelltown' - new from Shelltown Productions

     The series is called 'Shelltown', and it's also the name of the town that's
     home to Splat, Cracker and Exactly, otherwise known as The Good Egg
     Gang. These bright young yolks have a swell time around town. They're
     always getting under the feet of PC Boiler, or eggs-sperimenting with
     Exactly's latest invention, or causing chaos for glamorous Shelly in
     The Eggcup Cafe. More importantly, the trio are forever pitting themselves
     against their arch rival Stinker and The Bad Egg Gang. But there's one place
     neither gang dare visit; Poacher's Way. This is a place away over Egg Shell
     Hills that's home to Rotten Ron. No egg can escape his clutches!

     This CGI pre-school series comes from Shelltown Productions of Ulster
     and has been developed from various bedtime stories created by Patricia
     Parson-Sparkes, wife of Shelltown's producer and managing director, Bernard
     Sparkes. 26 x 10min episodes are planned initially, with Cosgrove Hall Digital
     all set to design and animate the show and its characters. That man with
     a thousand and one animation credits Jimmy Hibbert is hopefully to write
     the series, and the likes of Johnny Vegas, Kenneth Branagh and Julian
     Fellowes are being lined up to supply the voice talent...

      Splat,  Cracker and Exactly - image courtesy Shelltown Productions

     Judging by the promo art and info The Hound has seen this one looks like
     a winner. There are plans for lots of colourful characters, like eccentric Lord
     Eggy'ot, laid-back Sloppy Egg, Chuck Cluck of The Shelltown Gazette, and
     let's not forget Sgt Crumb and his 'crack' troop of Toasties Soldiers.

     Shelltown itself is composed of suitably 'eggified' buildings (eggs in colourful
     egg cups etc.) and the all-round, egg-shaped design extends to the trees
     and even the clouds.

     It's still early days with this one, but series sales are beginning to fall into
     place as you read this, and of course, a clutch of potential licensing deals
     are being explored. All in all this looks like cracking stuff. Rest assured
     The Hound will keep you posted with developments.

     Here's a series that really could run and run!

                                                                     More:  Shelltown Productions


    Pat's PO KO'd

     What's this? - Why, Postman Pat looks like he might have to move
     Postal Districts, and poor Mrs Goggins could be turfed out on her ear.
     Don't get too worked up, though, Pat's Greendale round isn't going anywhere
     and Mrs G. won't be put in a home for the elderly quite yet. This story
     focuses on the real-life Post Office which inspired author John Cunliffe to
     create the Postman Pat stories back in 1981.

       Postman Pat

     The branch concerned is at Beast Banks, near Kendal in the Lake District.
     Apparently Mr Cunliffe was a teacher living very near to this particular PO
     when he first conjured forth Pat, Jess, Mrs Goggins and the rest of the Greendale
     community. Beast Banks gave John much inspiration for the series and
     he'd drop by when he wanted to get details about the life of a rural postman.
     (Greendale itself was inspired by the infinitely more rural locale of Longsleddale)
     But now, alas, Beast Banks is set to close. It's current Postmaster
     blames the sizeable downturn in business which has seen a whopping
     345 Post Office closures this year alone. In all a further 3,000 of the UK's
     9000 PO's are also earmarked for closure in the near future. The rural
     Post Office lies at the heart of many a country community. It's all very
     bleak indeed...

     ...But back in Greendale, things couldn't be brighter. Postman Pat is
     something of a national treasure, isn't he? He's been with us for more than
     twenty years and spearheaded lots of Post Office promotions up and down
     the country. As The Hound reported back in February both Pat and his
     cat Jess are set to return our screens later this year in not one, but
     two new series from Entertainment Rights with all-new stop-motion animation
     from Cosgrove Hall. It looks like they'll be much knocking, and ringing, and
     letters through those Greendale doors for many years to come...

                                     More:   BT Openworld  The Gaurdian   Ent. Rights

    Indiana The Builder

     Now here's a little whisper from the Rumour Well of Souls concerning no
     less a star than Harrison Ford and true blue Brit fixer Bob The Builder.
     Apparently there are plans afoot to have Han Solo himself supply the voice
     of Bob in a new animated feature! (So speaks Variety anyway...)

       Bob The Builder: The knight Of Can-A-Lot - out now on  UK DVD/video

     So what's afoot? - Is the film already in production? - Is there a title to
     whet our appetites with, at least? Well, The hound hasn't unearthed anything
     further so far. Bob has of course already starred in two splendid video-features
     (See: A Christmas To Remember and The Knights Of Can-A-Lot), and certainly,
     the idea of Mr Ford voicing Big Screen Bob makes absoloute sense when one
     recalls the actor's love of carpentry and construction. Expect more news on
     this one when The Hound can 'nail' it down...

     'You throw me the screw gun... I'll throw you the whip!'

                                                   More:  Bob The Builder   HIT Entertainment

    Five True Tracys

     Move over One True Voice because the latest manufactured Pop Stars
     are here. Or rather, that's what you'd be forgiven for thinking when you
     drop by this article. What it actually is a report on the new Thunderbirds
     movie for The Sun's web site, but the main photo accompanying the piece is
     a desperately unflattering image of the actors playing four of the Tracy brothers,
     together  with their 'father' Jeff Tracy. With their camp silver jumpsuits and all
     that 'prettiness' the leads are simply a whole world away from the original
     conception of the characters - * sigh*.

     But let's face it. It's the Thunderbirds vehicles we all want to see, isn't it?
     If they're up to scratch, all those Boy Band nightmares can be put to rest,
     I'm sure. Unless that's actually Thunderbird 1 in Scott's pocket...

     Here's hoping, anyway!

                                                                          More:  The Sun


    Valiant aloft

     Coo. News from Ealing Studios now regarding Vanguard Films and their hot
     CGI feature Valiant. Apparently the company have now exchanged contracts
     with the studios and will be moving into their production space this August.
     That means they've taken the first big step towards their goal of creating
     Europe's first full-scale digital animation studio...

     'Valiant' is set for completion some time in 2005, and there are high hopes
     that this CGI tale about WWII carrier pigeons will take to the box office
     heights for Vanguard and Disney, who have snapped up North American
     rights as part of a four-picture pact with the company...

                                                          More:  C21 Media    Ealing Studios


    Albie darned!...

     The animation extravaganza that is the International Festival of Animated Film
     at Annecy came to a close over the weekend (7th/8th) and, what do you know,
     the boys and girls at Cosgrove Hall Films returned from their little safari with a
     Special Award for a TV Series. That series was 'Albie', and the submitted
     episode was titled 'Quick On The Draw', directed by Francis Vose...

     'Albie' was screened on C-ITV here in the UK earlier this year. It's all about
     a young chap adrift in the weird and wild world of his youthful imagination.
     In Albie's world there are zebras in the garden, hippos in his paddling
     pool, and water buffalo always ready for a good old sing-song. The series was
     created, scripted and designed by Andy Cutbill and Cosgrove Hall's animation
     cleverly blends the CGI wildlife into its more traditional, watercolour-styled
     environments.  26 x 10min episodes of 'Albie' have been produced so far, and
     prior to Annecy this wild series had already accrued a Best Animated Series
     award at the British Animation Awards, 2002 as well as a Pulcinella from Italy's
     Cartoons on the Bay Festival. This beastly series looks like it will run and
     run across the cartoon savannah....

     And that's quite enough of the 'wildlife' jokes.

     This year's Annecy festival was the 27th, and the 2003 Grand Prix was picked
     up by Koji Yamamura's film 'Atama Yama (Mt. Head)'. Adam Elliot' s claymation
     film 'Harvie Krump' collected three trophies, the Jury's Special Award, the
     Audience Award and the FIPRESCI Award. Best Feature went to the Chinese
     film 'My Life as McDull' directed by Toe Yuen...

C21 Media   CH Films   Ripping Gags: Andy Cutbill


   Thunder over London

    Now here's some 'thundering' news from one of my ever-ready London
    Media Buddies. It appears that the area around London's Tower Bridge was
    sealed off today (Sunday 8th June) to accommodate location filming on that
    much-discussed live-action Thunderbirds movie.

    In the sequence being shot this morning, Lady Penelope's FAB-1 car was
    filmed racing over Tower Bridge. The car was filmed by helicopter, and at least
    two passes were made, one swoop taking in FAB-1 from overhead, whilst the
    other sweep picked her up from under the olde bridge. Meanwhile the bridge
    itself was booked in to raise and lower four times for the film makers so they 
    could get the shots they needed for the scene.

    FAB-1 has famously been restyled in the form of a pink Ford Thunderbird
    now, differing from the original Rolls Royce concept which starred in the
    tv series. Appropriately, the other cars on the bridge were all retooled Ford
    designs and The Hound is told there was also a good old London Taxi Cab in
    shot. Needless to say, the folks on the bridge during filming were all portrayed
    by 'extras'...

    There was no word on any 'star' appearances, so the implication is this
    was all second unit stuff...

Forthcoming Features


   Basil - Fit and ready

    Actually, whilst we're talking about him, that Media Buddy of mine spied
    an interesting detail the other day. He and I have been watching the BBC's
    recent Sunday repeats of 'Foxed' starring our favourite foxy friend Basil Brush.
    Now the new-look Basil has been roundly vilified by fans and press alike: they
    call him 'fat', and they hate the sitcom-style series. But The Hound here still
    disagrees. Basil is a handsome chappie, and an agile fellow too. And although
    the new sitcom series is aimed squarely at a very young audience there are still
    nuggets of comedy gold to be unearthed....

    Anyway, what's important here is that my Media Buddy and I now know why
    Basil looks so darned trim and frisky: He has a Fitness Instructor!

     'Basil's Fitness Instructor - Michael Winsor'

    Don't believe us? - Take a look at the end credits of 'Foxed'. There for all to see
    is the name of the fellow who's helped get Mr Brush back in to shape and back
    on our screens. Basil's Fitness Instructor is, apparently, Mr Michael Winsor.
    And what a splendid job he's done, because Mr Brush is all over the BBC, isn't he?
    From 'Foxed' to 'Blue Peter' and on, Basil Brush a very busy boy. And a fit one
    too, it seems...

                         More:   Basil Brush   Darryl Worbey Studios   ToonsToGo


   Tracy brothers are GO

    More Thunderbirds movie news is beginning to leak to the press this month.
    On Friday June 6th The Daily Mail published a set report from Pinewood
    Studios accompanied by the first picture of the Tracy brothers and father
    in their restyled International Rescue uniforms:

       The Tracy Brothers - from The Daily Mail

    A few extra film details emerged in Baz Bamigboye's piece. We now know
    for example, that more favourite vehicles will appear on screen. Says Baz:

   'The mammoth hulk of Thunderbird 2, the green transporter, rests on hydraulic
    legs in a Pinewood sound stage. Close by are life-size replicas of the Mole,
    the Firefly and the laser-firing Thunderiser...'

    And Baz goes on to confirm a little more plot detail:

    'In the film, some of the action takes place on Thunderbird 5; John Tracy's
    in big trouble when meteors batter his craft. Then there are problems on the
    Tracy family's south sea island when it is infiltrated by vengeful villain The
    Hood, who has wicked plans for the thunderbirds machines...'

    This is stuff we'd heard already, of course, but hearing if from the set does
    help cement things. And actually, seeing that picture of the Tracy clan
    cements another notion in many an onlooker: that of concern.

    The concern is how the famous blue outfits of the original series have
    been replaced with these naïf silver/white designs, with their chunky 'Terrahawks'
    T design epaulets. Let's hope these are simply space suits of some kind,
    rather than everyday IR clothing because many folks are questioning the film
    makers' determination to tweak and retool almost every aspect of the original
    Supermarionation production. It really does look like tinkering simply for tinkering's
    sake. One wonders if this film is shaping up into another 'Lost In Space' - a film
    that looked terrific, had some super space design and interstellar interaction, but
    had been redesigned to such a degree that it lost all connection with the
    original concept...

    As always, only time will tell...     

Forthcoming Features


Bean's back!    (02.06.03)  

    Finally, just over a year since his first brief broadcast and disappearance it
    looks like Animated Mr Bean is at last returning to our TV screens. That will
    be welcome news to many folks who've been in touch with The Hound over the
    last twelve months enquiring about his status...

     Mr bean - back on our screens!

    When it launched last year Mr Bean: The Animated Series broke new toon
    ground in the UK as the first ever primetime animated commission for ITV.
    What's more, ITV execs ordered 52 x 12mins episodes of the toon to be doubled
    up and broadcast in 26 half-hour packages. Now The Hound here isn't up to speed
    with the show's ratings or returns, but it certainly found a niche with visitors
    to this site, and with Yours Truly. It's fun. Nothing uproarious or outrageous, but
    the design is appealing, storylines are clever and there's lots of little background
    details to keep you watching. If there's a problem here, it's more one of timing
    rather than a problem with the production itself. You can't just dip into this one.
    Animated Mr Bean takes time to win you over, and it certainly isn't the kind of
    loud and lewd Saturday Evening show that the ITV schedules are used to.
    Maybe that's why the series slipped from the schedules just a few short weeks
    after its launch. Some folks thought he might at least come back for Autumn
    repeats or better yet, more new episodes, maybe in a different time-slot. But
    alas, there's been nowt-so-much as a mumble or a mutter since he departed...

    But now - hurrah! - a quick skim down the current ITV schedules will show
    you that Mr Bean: The Animated series is finally being broadcast again from
    Saturday 7th June at 5.45pm. But you'd best tune in quickly, because how
    long he'll hang around is anyone's business, given that past performance....

                                               More:   Mr Bean    Mr Bean at ToonsToGo


Lucky 13    (02.06.03)  

     Well what do you know? - Lucky Bag Comic, that sweets-and-comic combo
     which set sail for Fleetway waters last year has made it beyond its first
     anniversary. Indeed, issue thirteen is in stores as you read this. When we
     chatted last year, Lucky Bag artist and writer Mark Bennington expressed a
     lot of good will for the new comic. Lucky Bag was and is very much a corporate
     confection, but the hope was that it might capture something of the old Buster or
     Whizzer & Chips spirit for a new  generation of readers. So what's the current

       Mark Bennington's Captain Krook from Lucky Bag Comic  Comic

     Well certainly, Toontastic publishing deserves an A-grade for effort. Lucky
     Bag Comic is bright and busy, and yes some strips have that old Fleetway
     twinkle (Jungle Jane, The Thor Losers, Captain Krook, Fission Chips and DNA
     Couriers are all rather fun), but there's no disguising that the title is still let down 
     by the lack of a dynamic lead character. Lucky Bag continues to devote far
     too much space to a terrible terrapin called Dick Turtle. He's a wet-eared Ninja
     Turtle-type who holds star-billing solely because he featured on the original
     Lucky Bag sweet selections when they first launched a few years back, sans
     comic. But he was and never will be a strip star and is there for what can only be
     corporate reasons. Similarly, the whole Lucky Bag Land notion that's been
     woven through the strips is a corporate concept and not a comics concept.
     The newer characters - Captain Krook, Jungle Jane, Fission Chips, The Thor
     Losers - nudge at that corporate clingfilm wrapped around the title, but they
     haven't yet broken through...

     Lucky Bag Comic is fighting bravely against the tide of TV tie-ins, and manages
     to stand apart from The Beano and The Dandy, but it still hasn't quite filled its
     niche. Indeed, folks will notice that a secondary character in the Horror Bags
     strip line-up is a nut-and-bolt munster called Frankie. But alas, this isn't
     our beloved Frankie Stein back from the dead, just as Lucky Bag isn't yet
     the Whoopee! reincarnation we all dream of. LBC is improving all the while,
     though, so let's wish Toontastic good luck with the title...

                                                              More:  Luckybags   Lucky Chap


Forthcoming features...      (06.06.03)

    Well, the upgrades and additions are continuing at a pace this month with
    (fanfare please) the arrival of Toonhound's second news page. That's right,
    there's another page of chatter and speculation to whet your toon buds with
    because the Forthcoming Features page is now online...

    This new page replaces the ailing Current Movies page with a round-up of
    news concerning all the latest UK animated and toon-related feature films
    currently on production slates around the globe. It's a kind of supplement
    to The Hound, compiling the best movie toon gossip into one manageable
    bite-size scrolling page. Currently you'll find info on the new Wallace And
    Gromit film, The Magic Roundabout, Thunderbirds, Judge Dredd, Gnomeo
    & Juliet and more besides - plenty of tempting toon titbits to get you talking.
    And as and when projects get a fair way down the production schedule
    they'll be granted their own index page in either the Movie Toon Guide or
    the Toon Movie Guide.

    Woah, woah. Wait up. What's this 'Toon Movie Guide' thingy now? Well,
    that's another new Movie Toon section that's on its way very soon. It's
    very similar to the Movie Toon Guide, only this one concentrates on all
    of those Brit-toons that have been turned into live-action movies, with varying
    degrees of success. Look out for pages on Tank Girl, Modesty Blaise,
    Wombling Free and other 'classic' productions when it launches later
    this month...

    Between them, the Features page and the two guides should give you a
    seamless marriage of movie toon news and information. And as if a news
    page and new toon section wasn't enough, the Mini Movie Toons section
    is also about to expand, bringing the currently meagre list of indexed shorts
    and specials comfortably into double figures...

    All in all, with a fair wind and your continued and much-appreciated
    patience, the entire Movie Toons revamp should be completed by the
    end of the month. The very last TV Toons revisions should also be in
    place by then, and that means The Hound's attentions can finaly be
    turned upon those overlooked Comics and Puppet pages....

    As always, stay tooned!

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

  all characters coypright to their respective estates/creatorst / F2000-2004