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        November - 2001

Kings, Keepers, Builders and Misters this month....

     A Beard In The Hand...
   The King's Beard - a new Tony Collingwood film for Xmas...
   Ello, It's Mr. Cheeky...
   a brand-new Mr Man is here....

Don't forget:
Mr Sweet Tooth
a Q&A with Fleetway
comics artist
Trevor Metcalfe!

  Izzy-Wizzy, Here Comes Miki...
  a new pal for Sooty!...
   A Gladiator Appeared...
   a new Mr Benn book too!
  Scheduling Hell...
  Mr Hell gets a cruel TV slot...
   Sites For Sore Eyes
   all the Q's, all the A's
   Bob's Not Building...
   No Xmas record after all...



     Christmas is a-coming and we'll be growing fat - fat, I tell you
     - on the sumptuous delights of two new all-British animated
     features. If you're a regular visitor you should already know
     about Jimmy Murakami's 'Christmas Carol: The Movie', in
     cinemas late November. Now there's an exciting film landing
     in the midst of the Christmas schedules on ITV. It's a
     whimsical yarn called 'The King's Beard' and it comes from
     the many-faceted, multi-talented heads and hands of
     Collingwood O'Hare.

     Tony Collingwood and his production partner Chris O'Hare
     have previously brought us 'Dennis And Gnasher', 'Oscar's
     Orchestra', 'Captain Zed And The Zee Zone' and the BAFTA
      -winning, flamigo-stuffed brilliance of 'Rarg'...

      'The King's Beard' follows the adventures of young Rufus
      who takes up the post of Barber in the magical Mirrored
      Kingdom - a redundant role now, because the poor King is
      under the hair-raising spell of his evil brother Jasper and
      everybody in the kingdom wants to look just like their full-follicled
      ruler. So Rufus pays the King a visit to see if he can reverse
      the trend, and finds himself up to his neck in beards, fairies,
      bats, mice, machines, machinations, upside-down kingdoms
      and quite enough wickedness to wilt several magic wands.

      This 73-minute treat is stuffed with ideas, cooky characters,
      silly songs and action. The strong voice cast features Jim
      Broadbent, Maureen Lipman, Allan Corduner and Peter Egan
      and there's a boisterous score to enjoy from composer
      Philip Appleby. Look out for it in the Xmas schedules, possibly
      even Xmas Eve - I'll post the broadcast time here when it's

      'The King's Beard' isn't the only new production from
      Collingwood O'Hare this Xmas. Also in the schedules is
      a splendid half-hour adaptation of Jez Alborough's 'Bear'
      books entitles 'Eddy And The Bear'. This one's a treat,
      with Robert Lindsay voicing Bear and Frances De La
      Tour narrating the simply brilliant rhyming couplets.
      There'll be more on this one next time, and plenty more
      of Tony Collingwood in an imminent exclusive Toonhound
      Q&A. Yep, that's right, The Hound has scooped yet another
      top chat with a top toon cat. Tony gives us the lowdown
      on his beard, his bear and his previous exploits - better
      bookmark us now, eh?

      In the mean time, interested parties should surf on
      over to Collingwood O'Hare's official site:



     The Mr Men are 30 years old - who would have thought?

     I still have my first edition 'Mr Happy' and 'Mr Tickle', bought
     for me when I was 4 years old *sigh *. There are now 44
     different Mr Men titles in the range, which are drawn by
     Alan Hargreaves, son of the late great Roger Hargreaves.

     The Mr Men were a brilliantly simple concept, executed
     so perfectly in those little square books with their
     geometric stars and their solid blocks of happy felt-tip
     colour. Throw the Little Misses into the mix and you
     have 70 books to collect in all. It's great to see Egmont
     Books faithfully sticking with the original familiar book
     design with each 'Mr' figure and title on a plain white
     background, just as they were in the beginning....

     Number 44 is 'Mr Cheeky', who's perhaps the most special
     Mr Man of them all. That's because he was actually
     conceived by Gemma Almond, age 8, who won a Sunday
     Times competition to create a new Mr. Alan Hargreaves
     has created a very sweet tale for him which co-stars
     Mr Greedy, Mr Nosey, Little Miss Neat and Little Miss
     Bossy. This cheeky chappie's book is only available in
     branches of WH Smith as a limited edition, with a portion
     of the profits being donated to the Children With Leukaemia
     Charity - which gives you any number of reasons to get
     out and buy a copy - heck - several copies!
     Go on then, buy it online:


     Sooty's back on our screens for the umpteenth year - hooray,
     and all that! - More importantly, this time he's conjured up
     not only a brand new human co-presenter but a brand new
     puppet friend too...

     That's right, the new Sooty Show currently on C-ITV has
     introduced mischievous Miki the cat alongside Sweep, Soo
     and the others. You'll find every last-piece of minutiae about
     our feline friend and the rest over at 'Reaching Brand New
     Sooty Heights' the most informative Yahoo Group I think
     I've ever visited:

     Meanwhile, the gang's all present and correct at the official
     site from Gullane:



    As if by magic, master artist David McKee has answered the
    pleas of festive fans from around the country and written a
    brand new Mr Benn book for our delectation!

    'Mr Benn:Gladiator' was published last month by Andersen
    Press. It's the first new Benn book for - oh - over twenty years
    and comes hot on the heels of McKee's brand-spanking new
    King Rollo book 'King Rollo And The New Stockings'. Both are
    terrific additions to their respective series, beautifully illustrated
    in that familiar McKee fashion.

    Are there plans for more? - Let's hope so! Meanwhile, The Hound
    has heard that 'Mr Benn's Guide To Life', a co-written volume
    from McKee and Tess Read should be appearing in stores
    soon. It's kind of like 'The Tao Of Pooh' or the 'Magic Roundabout'
    books, taking themes from the series and applying it to
    our everyday lives - Like, cool, eh?

    Get more on Benn and Rollo here:


     What are the BBC up to? - Here's 'The Mr Hell Show' a
     topnotch, A-grade attempt to create a toon show specifically
     for adults, funded by the selfsame broadcaster, with a
     star turn from a standup stalwart as the lead voice. So what
     happens? - No trails. No publicity. No nuthin'. Mr Hell was
     slipped into the Sunday night schedules without a mention,
     almost apologetically...

     What a bloomin' disgrace! - 'The Mr Hell Show' is an abrupt,
     jolting concoction of devilish glee. It screams out for support
     and awareness for its scatterbrain structure. This kind of
     show has to be helped along whilst it finds its audience,
     supported throughout its initial run and steered towards a
     triumphant second series...

     But no. Not here. We can see it all now, can't we? The
     series will flounder, woefully unaided, upon the rocks and
     will be left to sputter and gasp to a predestined slow death.
     Why So? - I just don't understand. I mean, why invest in
     a show like this if you have no intention of promoting or
     nurturing it? It's not like the show's a flop - you only have
     to look to its Canadian success to see that, with the proper
     commitment it can hold its own (literally, methinks)...

     What the Beeb really need is someone in charge who
     understands animation - understands that there is an
     appreciative adult audience out there hungry for this kind
     of alternative entertainment. It's a genre that is left weeping
     in the corner, hand-in-hand, with the used-and-abused
     Sci-Fi shows the station have attempted to broadcast.
     The Beeb do 'Kids Cartoons' supremely well. You can't
     fault them. And BBC Worldwide know the tie-in and
     licensing game like the back of their hand. I applaud
     them - nay, I salute them for this. But as soon as that
     crossover point looms on the horizon they flinch, they
     falter, drop their rifles and run for cover...

     'Duck Man' was abandoned first. Then 'The Simpsons',
     who somehow clawed their way out of open ground into
     the rough unattended. 'The Big Knights' had a wee crutch
     for a while, but precious little aid for the video release
     and no licensing support whatsoever - what a crime, it
     did and does have 'classic' stamped all over it. Meanwhile,
     poor 'Rex The Runt' is being riddled with bullets as you read
     this. So what chance for our horny little friend? - *sigh*
     Check out all the links for all the info for this one on Toonhound's
     Mr Hell Show index page . And of course, there's that 
     oft-mentioned utterly exclusive Q&A with Mr Hell co-creator
     Alan Gilbey, still online here...



    Well there you go, another top story blown apart...

    The BBC press office has been hotly denying any plans
    to release a Xmas single from our favourite builder after all.
    If you recall, the talk was, Bob was going to be releasing
    a version of 'Crocodile Rock' in which he duets with
    Piano Queen Elton John. But it's now a nonstarter, and
    those caring folk at the Beeb are anxious to stop the
    chatter lest any fans throw their hard-earned cash away on
    a Xmas single flutter...

    Still, Bob and Elton do appear together in Bob's fab first
    feature-length special 'Bob The Builder - A Christmas To
    Remember'. It's funky frosty fun is this, and it's out on
    video to buy now.

    Check out Bob's world at the official site:



    Well now, it looks like being a busy old period at Toonhound
    in the run up to Christmas. Not only am I prepping that
    there Q&A with Mr Collingwood, I've also been having a
    natter with a second British comics artist, Joe McCaffrey,
    who brought us such Fleetway faves as Jack Pott, The Toffs
    And The Toughs and that many-monied mullah Mustapha Million.
    Joe's got a new toon creation online right now, in the form
    of Albert Duck, a toon he's been working on with the equally-
    talented Mark Povey. You'll find Albert here:
    So that's Tony and Joe and - oh, wait - there's someone
    else waiting in the wings. Someone big, VERY big in the
    animation world, but also quite small. Confused? - You won't
    be when you hear who it is. But you'll have to wait till next
    time before I reveal all...

   - Till next time, then!


- F2001