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                                                                     March 2006
Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!
Rats, Mirrors and Mills
More magic, less management...    More »

 The Mill turns
 Summerton Mill is back...

 Jess says hello
 Pat's pal speaks!...

 Just a spider?
 Spider on Nick Jnr...

 Winners for ewe

 And the BAA goes to...

    Horrid news

    Horrid Henry is coming...

    Cracking Oscar™, Gromit!

    Anti-pesto is the besto!..

      news archive »     interviews »      giveaways »

   The Mill turns  (23.03.06)

    Francoise is grazing, the Millfreaks are lazing and The Hound can't
    think of anything quite so amazing as the latest news regarding
    "Summerton Mill".

      Summerton Mill

    You remember Summerton Mill? - Pete Bryden and Ed Cookson saw
    their little series about a magical mill included in episodes of "TikkabIlla"
    on CBBC last Autumn (see Mules and Mills). Well Pete's been in touch
    again this week to pass on the fabulous news that the first series of films
    are to be screened again as a stand-alone show on CBeebies. You'll be
    able to catch it every Saturday and Sunday at 8.10am and repeated
    at 2.10pm, between April 1st and May 14th.

    How terrific is that? - Summerton Mill is a unique little show. Right now
    it feels like a secret series, to keep under your pillow and treasure.
    But this re-airing could lead to even bigger and brighter things, like
    a super second series to savour. Tell your naybhurs, tell your
    friends, the Mill is magic!...

                                                              More: Summerton Mill


   Jess says hello  (22.03.06)

    Everyone knows the post can be slow, but here's a package from
    Greendale that's already three and a half years late!

     Jess the cat

    Back in September 2002, Entertainment Rights announced plans for 
    a Postman Pat spin-off starring Jess the cat. The series was trumpeted
    alongside Pat's shiny new show, which had just entered into production.
    But alas, the Greendale Rocket chuffed on to our screens with ne'er
    a spin-off to be seen... Until this week, when ER finally unveiled their
    new show for the public at large. The series is called "Guess with Jess"
    and Pat's pal will be getting a thoroughly-modern CG makeover for it.
    The biggest news of all, though, is that Jess is going to be given a voice.
    That's right, folks, he's now a speaking cat!

    That news might take some getting used to. But we've still got plenty
    of time to get our heads around the change, because  "Guess with Jess"
    won't be on our screens until 2008, when it hits BBC One, BBC Two
    and CBeebies. And Jess will have his very own range of tie-in
    toys too - talking ones included, one suspects...

                                               More: Entertainment Rights


   Just a spider?  (12.03.06)

     Silver Fox Films have been in touch this week with an itsy bitsy bit of
     news about their very hairy, but not at all scary, pal Spider.


     As you may already know, this spindly star has been a big hit on DVD,
     and he's all set to return to our screens in a brand new show, after a
     fourteen year absence. But as a precursor to his return, Nick Jnr UK,
     have just acquired the rights to broadcast the original series again.
     Fans of "Spider!" young and old, can catch him on Nick Jnr. everyday
     at 12:40pm. And to celebrate, Silver Fox have passed on a jolly
     Spider piccie to make us smile...

Silver Fox Films


   Winners for ewe  (10.03.06)

    Thursday 9th March was the date for this year's British Animation Awards,
    and as is the way of things with this event, there were some big surprises
    on the night. The biggest was the fact that "The Corpse Bride" beat Wallace
    and Gromit to the award for Best Animated Feature, something it has failed
    to do at the Oscars and the Annies. And then there was the fact that
    Aardman's Angry kid shouted down competition from BAFTA-winner
    "The Little Reindeer" to secure the Best TV Special award. Here are
    the key prize-winners (in red):

    Best Animated Feature Film

    Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
    The Corpse Bride
    Belleville Rendez Vous

    Best Children's Series

    King Arthur's Disasters: Circus Calamity
    Pingu’s Sledge Academy
    Those Scurvy Rascals: Pants Odyssey

     Best TV special

     The Little Reindeer
     Frank and Buster's Christmas in the Outback
     Angry Kid: Who do you think you are?

     Best Children's Pre-school Series

     Charlie and Lola: I Want To Play Music Too
     Meg and Mog: Meg’s Fancy Dress Director
     Peppa Pig: Mummy Pig at Work

     Best Comedy

     Bromwell High: Baby Boom
     Creature Comforts: Monarchy Business
     The Christies: Natural Disaster

     Writers Award

     Guy 101 - Ian Gouldstone
     Frank and Buster's Christmas in the Outback - Dave Ingham
     Peppa Pig: Mummy at Work - Neville Astley & Mark Baker

     Best Short Film

     Rabbit - directed by Run Wrake
     Film Noir - directed by Osbert Parker
     Careful - directed by Damian Gascoigne
     Lovely to see Frank and Buster collecting the writing award. Their Outback
     Special is a charming film, as is the series. Peppa Pig has snorted off with
     yet another prize for Astley Baker Davies' groaning sideboard. And then
     there's Bromwell High snatching the comedy award. That winning episode,
     "Baby Boom" is particularly funny. And so too are "Those Scurvy Rascals".
     Blue Zoo's series about a gang of marauding, pant-stealing pirates has
     snuck under many animarted radars. In addition to their series win, those
     pirates also sailed away with the Children's Choice award - tarnation!

     Yopu'll find the full list of nominees and winners on the BAA web site.

British Animation Awards (BAA)


   Horrid news  (10.03.06)

    If you've got young kids, you're probably know all about Horrid Henry.
    He's starred in a stream of hugely popular storybooks written by Francesca
    Simon and illustrated by Tony Ross (Towser). As his name suggests, young
    Henry can be truly horrid to everyone around him, and he's particularly
    miffed at the arrival of his baby brother Perfect Peter. His books have
    sold - literally - in the millions, so it's no surprise o find that CiTV have
    recently commissioned an animated series based on his exploits.

     Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon

    "Horrid Henry" will be coming to us via the folks from Novel Entertainment
    ("Fimbles", "Roly Mo") and it's the first animated commission for the new
    CiTV digital channel. 52 x 11mins episodes are now in production, with
    the first set to air some time this Autumn. Which is horrible news indeed...

Francesca Simon  Horrid Henry at Amazon


   Cracking Oscar, Gromit!  (07.03.06)

    Were we ever in doubt? - In the midst of an uninspiring Hollywood awards
    night, Wallace and Gromit and Aardman Animation lifted our spirits by picking
    up the Academy Award for Best Animated Picture. That's the duo's third golden
    statue and Nick Park's fourth to add to those already collected for "Creature
    Comforts", "The Wrong Trousers" and A Close Shave.

    Curse of the Were-Rabbit was one of the rare Oscar shoo-ins this year.
    Of the competition, "Howl's Moving Castle" was very much an outsider.
    Miyazaki has previously won for "Spirited Away" and "Howl, though great,
    is not considered to be in the same league as his previous winner or his
    earlier phenomenal films. As for "Corpse Bride", well, in any normal year
    your money would have been safe on this stop-motion gem. But this wasn't
    a normal year, and with two such films in competition it was obvious that
    the Academy would favour the broader delights of a rampaging rabbit
    over the thrills and chills of an underground wedding.

    The best news of all, however, was the fact that all three films were made
    using so-called "traditional" skills, with a modern twist. This year, good old
    fashioned craftsmanship triumphed over that there newfangled CGI.

    But back to the awards night, and commiseration must go to Sharon
    Colman whose film Badgered lost out to John Canemaker in the Best
    Animated Short category. Still, she must be absoloutely thrilled just at
    being nominated. That's one heck of an achievement in itself, and bodes
    very well indeed for the future...    


   Rats, Mirrors and Mills  

    As you probably know, The Hound is currently mid-way through an extensive
    overhaul of the site, cleaning up the design, removing dead links and expanding
    the indexes. That means I'm catching up with a whole heap of productions
    old and new like those fabulous early films from Cosgrove Hall. "Cinderella"
    and "The Pied Piper" are extraordinary creations, from an extraordinary
    team - so meticulous, and crafted for art's sake, rather than for any
    over-riding commerciality. If you haven't seen these before, or have
    forgotten their brilliance, Clear Vision's DVDs will reawaken your
    imagination. The Pied Piper, particularly, is still as potent and as
    haunting as the day it first aired, over twenty-five years ago...

    But what do we have like this nowadays? - There's lots of very fine
    commercial fare, but it doesn't feel so spontaneous. Every film and
    series seems to exist for a reason. They're packaged and presented
    on a plate for the market to consume. That's not to say today's films
    and series are poorer quality - goodness, no - there are any number of
    animated marvels out there to drool over. But sometimes you find
    yourself yearning for something that truly stands apart.

    ...Which is probably why I've been so susceptible to the delights of
    Mirrormask, the new film from David McKean and Neil Gaiman that mixes
    its live-action stars with some very odd animated puppets and CG additions,
    courtesy of Jim Henson. The folks at Tartan Films sent me a preview disc
    the other day, and I'm jolly glad they did, because it's a very brave production.
    The film unspools like an arthouse Muppet movie, and whilst it doesn't
    always work - the line between Helena's dream-life and her real-life is perhaps
    too blurred - there are a great many pleasures to be had from its acute
    otherworldliness. "Mirrormask" stands out like a sore thumb from the
    current buffet of spin-off specials, extended episodes and classic
    adaptations. Mind you, I don't really know how to class it for Toonhound.
    Is it live-action with animated segemnts, or animated with live-action
    inserts? - The dilemma's a pleasant one, regardless...

    Summerton Mill is utterely unique too. The BBC's decision to give it a
    repeat run as a stand-alone show is very exciting news indeed. Here
    is that rarest gem; a series that was born outside of the boardroom,
    in a sunny, suit-free world. Dan, Fluffa and their happy valley are just
    waiting to be discovered by the masses. Indeed, this is just the kind
    of series that Nostalgia Heads will be reminiscing over, twenty years
    from now...
    Till next time!    

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

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