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

    A trio of movie toons, a jolly gnome, four feisty kittens
    a bristling fox and a splash of toon-tabasco for you!....


  Magic News...
  CGI Dougal gets greenlight..

  Coo! - More Rumours...
Ewan boards Valiant Film?...

  Thunderbirds not FAB?...

  A rumble in the rumour mill..

  Gnome Run...
  Gordon snapped up by CBBC...

  Uh-Oh It's Yoko!..

  New COH series is 'Toto'-lly

  Bill &Ben creator passes away..

Dougal, Gordon,  The Kittens and Yoko! are all in the news this month!

  Don't Brush-Off Basil!...
  Basil Show isn't as bad as
  you think...

  Feline Frenzy!...
  Yeek - The Kittens are coming!...

  Sites For Sore Eyes...
  The trouble with Toonhound...


       The Magic Roundabout  Magic News!

    Well here's a magic bit of news indeed. Regular visitors may recall that,
    way-y-y back in June last year The Hound reported details of a proposed
    new CGI film of The Magic Roundabout in development at the bolexbrothers
    studio in Bristol. Now, after a year's gestation and adjustment distributors
    Pathe have given the project the greenlight...

   That's fabulous news for animation fans. Dave Borthwick and bolexbrothers
   created animation magic before with The Secret Adventures Of Tom Thumb,
   a twisted take on a classic tale, making Tom Thumb out to be the offspring
   of a madcap science project. It wasn't to everyone's taste but it was an utterly
   unique 3D project with moments of true animated beauty amongst the menagerie
   of sprites, outcasts and misfits. It will be fascinating to see what the studio
   brings to Dougal's Magic Garden...

   So what's the film going to be about? - Will Buxton the evil Blue Cat make an
   appearance? - Will there be political shenanigans hidden within the script?
   The Hound knows not, but he hopes to find out soon. And when he does, he'll
   make sure that you do too!...

   ++++++++++++++ STOP PRESS! - Oct 10th +++++++++++++++++++

    ...And here is that additional news for you. After a bit of on and offline trawling
   The Hound has learned that the $20m Roundabout movie has already started
   production in Bristol and Marseilles, and none other than Robbie Williams and
   Kylie Minogue have been approached to voice stars Dougal and Florence!

   Richard O'Brien, Jim Broadbent, Joanna Lumley and Ray Winstone are also said
   to feature. Best of all, Screen Daily now has a piccy of the new-look Dougal and
   Florence, and just as expected theiy are instantly familiar, but still different versions
   of our favourite friends. The Hound thinks they look great, very sweet, but purists may
   get a tad 'uppity' about the changes to Florence. And I'm sure some rants will be made
   about the casting of Williams and Minogue - but - hey, The Hound has no problems
   with that. Plus you can see the commercial reasoning behind the choice, given
   that there are bound to be songs in the film. And of course, Robbie previously
   lent his voice to animated special Roobie The Reindeer: Hooves Of Fire. Gosh,
   what a treat this Roundabout film could be!

   There's lots of offline chatter around at the moment, questioning whether Dave
   Borthwick and co. will aim to recapture the spirit of Eric Thompson in their
   film, or steer towards the Nigel Planer feel. To be honest, The Hound hopes
   - nay - expects the bolexbrothers to take this one in an entirely different
   direction. If anyone can pull it off, it's them...

   Gosh, how exciting it's all getting over here in Blighty. We've got Valiant, Thunderbirds,
   The Great Vegetable Plot, and possibly Captain Scarlet going in to production, plus
   one or two other Top Secret productions still in development. Cripes, it's like waiting
   for a London bus, isn't it? - You wait ages and then half a dozen turn up at once...

   Stay tooned for much more on all these projects over the coming months!


      Coo! - More rumours about Valiant..

   Cor, here's more movie news now, because the Valiant rumour
   machine seems to rumbling on in to October. The all-new CGI feature film
   Valiant follows the exploits of a daring wood pigeon-come-messenger
   pigeon during WWII and is being brought to the screen by Vanguard films,
   operating out of the newly-revamped Ealing Studios and backed by the mighty
   Mouse House, Disney. Last month rumours surfaced on a rival war-and-pigeons
   project in development at Dreamworks. Were these rumours true or false?
   Well, there's still no official confirmation or denial either way yet, but there is
   one 'ickle' bit of casting news to whet the appetite. According to the likes of
   Animated-Movies (a splendid site - go there now!) Ewan McGregor has been
   approached to voice the lead wood pigeon - let's hope he's not as 'wood'-en as
   his Obi Wan performances. Oh, sorry about that. Actually, The Hound
   reckons Mr McGregor would be perfectly cast. We're bound to know soon
   whether that particular rumour is true or false...

   Keep watching the likes of the official Vanguard Films site for more info:


     Thunderbirds movie not so FAB?

    The positive buzz around Valiant is most exciting. Sadly, the same can't be
    said for the recently announced live-action Thunderbirds movie. Long in gestation
    at Working Title with umpteen writers having dipped a finger in the production
    bowl, the project was finally greenlighted a couple of months ago when Star
    Trek's Number One himself, Jonathan Frakes was confirmed as director of the
    film adaptation. This month a reported new script has emerged courtesy of
    screenwriter Will Osborne and Aint-It-Cool-News have been sent a review of it.
    The signs aren't good. In between the expected, but frankly dreaded, Lady
    Penelope and Parker double-entendres we are introduced to Brains' new son (?),
    Jeff, Scott, Gordon and Virgil Tracy are left stranded in space and away from
    their Thunderbirds vehicles, there's no appearance from The Hood, and
    more importantly nobody appears to get rescued!

    Ouch. Sounds like someone's missed the plot here. But let's not jump to
    conclusions. This could very well be an 'old' draft, taken out of context. Indeed,
    that's generally the way, isn't it? - But if you add to the mix the fact that
    neither Gerry or Sylvia Anderson are involved with the project you do start
    to worry. Who, exactly, is in control of this? - Gosh if the producers
    aren't careful they'll end up on the rocks alongside the shattered remains of
    The Avengers movie. With those FAB ships and vehicles, the exotic locations,
    and daring rescues a Thunderbirds feature could be a Summer Hit if
    the right hands are on the tiller. But - oh - there are just so many 'ifs' to

    ++++++++++++ STOP PRESS! - Oct 8th ++++++++++++++++++++

    ...But here is some most exciting news, just in as The Hound was compiling
    this news page. Supermarionation supremo Gerry Anderson was a guest on
    ITV's Des & Mel Show this lunchtime, primarily to talk about the re-launch of
    Joe 90. But the talk opened with a chat about his series' being remade for
    modern audiences and indeed, turned into live-action productions. Whereupon
    Gerry revealed how the ever-red hero Captain Scarlet which was due to be
    transformed into a CGI series is now shaping up as - wait for it - a full-blooded
    fully-fledged LIVE-ACTION feature film. What's more, unlike that there
    Thunderbirds movie it would appear that Gerry's finger is well and truly in
    the production bowl!

    Golly, a Captain Scarlet movie? - The Hound will be there first night for that.
    Think about it, the current relevance of terrorist threats, 'aliens', bombs and
    infiltration. How very pertinent. Stay tooned for more on this one, folks!...


    Gordon Gnome!  Gnome run...

    Remember Gordon? - He's the jolly Garden Gnome, introduced to the world
    back in our July edition. The Gordon Gnome tv series is being animated by
    Collingwood O'Hare productions from an idea by cartoonist Alan 'Odd Squad'
    Plenderlieth and it stars an all-talking, all-singing Alan Titchmarsh as the voice
    of Gordon and his garden friends. Back when Gordon was first revealed there
    was talk of the pilot episode The Smelly Wellies being submitted to the recent
    Cartoon Forum in Wales in the hope of acquiring a series commission...

    Well, almost inevitably, Gordon got a big green thumbs-up from the BBC who've
    enabled Tony Collingwood and the gang to plow on with a full run of episodes
    for broadcast next year. The Hound here has now been given a special preview
    of The Smelly Wellies and I must say, it's a charming production. Very sweet
    with a very hummable theme. It's bound to be a hit and it's a perfect addition to
    the CBBC lineup. All together now: 'Gor-don Gnome! - La-La-La!...'


    Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!
 Uh-Oh it's Yoko!

    You know, Collingwood O'Hare are on something of a roll right now because,
    not only do they have Gordon trolling around on the BBC, but they are also
    about to unleash the cheekiest, most colourful, rhythmic menagerie of magic
    and monkey-business on C-ITV courtesy of their addictive new series Yoko!
    Jakamoko! Toto!

    The Hound first reported on Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto! back in February and it
    looked fab back then, with the most infectious, hummable theme tune perhaps
    ever to have graced a kids' tv series. Well what do you know, packaged with that
    little preview tape of Gordon Gnome came a double-plus-exciting bonus tape of six
    finished episodes of this new series. And my, what an absoloute treat they've
    been. Simple five minute tales told without dialogue, through interaction,
    movement and latin rhythms. They're cheeky, funny, sad and stupid and
    brilliant - like Pingu with a Samba beat. The design is beautiful, featuring simple
    swatches of colour overlayed with a textile/linen effect. The music is beguiling
    - haunting at times, infectiously tuneful at most others. And most importantly,
    these are just great fun. If this one doesn't scoop up a whole shelf-load of awards
    The Hound will blow raspberries of disgust at the panels concerned!

    Set your compasses for South America now. Yoko the Bird, Jakamoko the
    Armadillo and Toto the Monkey arrive on C-ITV early next year. They've
    had the great foresight to commission 52 episodes of this exciting series.
    The Hound can't wait to view the remaining 46. Meanwhile, make sure you
    keep abreast of developments with Gordon Gnome and Yoko! Jakamoko!
    Toto! at Collingwood O'Hare's official site....


    It's Basil Brush!  Don't brush off Basil!...

    Well, hell-lo....

   That bristle-brushed beastly bounder Basil Brush is causing one heck of a
   stir with his much-delayed new show, isn't he? - It seems that many supposed
   fans aren't at all happy with the series, its presentation or indeed its new-look star
   performer. Here's what The Sun said:

    'Bristling Basil Brush fans yesterday accused TV chiefs of turning their
    favourite fox into a camp fattie...'

   And that's one of the kinder articles. But you know, The Hound is going to
   step out before a saddle-load of fox-hungry Redcoats when he says that the
   new series really isn't quite as bad as it's being cranked up to be. The new
   Basil model is a splendid update of the Peter Firmin original. Built by Darryl
   Worbey Studios the puppet has much more expression and movement within its
   compact frame. Have you seen the old Brush puppet recently? - It really was a
   rather threadbare thing with twisted teeth and thinning fur patches making him
   look like Hartley from Pipkins. Then there's the voice. Everyone seems to be
   crowing for the loss of Ivan Owen and, yes, the loss of Ivan is a very big one
   that's difficult to overcome but the replacement voice is a darned-fine copy,
   as near as one is likely to get in my book. And Basil's still able to reel off
   some sassy one-liners:

     'Their school's so rough the teacher's parents have to pick THEM up...'

      'The last time I saw a face like that it had a hook in it!...'

   So that's Basil himself. Next up for knocking is the series concept. Basil
   is now playing fox-in-the-middle in a sitcom surrounding with two young
   kids and a young lad - Miss Molly, Mr Dave and Mr Steven - and scenes flit
   between their shared 'home' and a favoured local cafe bar. So it's not the
   familiar one-on-one studio scenario we remember from the original. Well,
   so what? - Quickfire kids sitcoms are all the rage right now, with My Parents
   Are Aliens, The Wild House, Sir Gadabout etc. all taking different approaches
   to the genre. So why can't Basil? - And let's not forget that above all else,
   Basil is for kids - always was and always should be - and the kids I know still
   think he's funny. That would suggest that those kicking up the biggest stink
   about the show are adults who are still wearing the rose-tinted spectacles
   of times past....

   Let's be fair, The Hound says the new Basil Brush Show isn't perhaps the greatest
   returning kids creation in the world - Bill & Ben have come back with true updated
   gusto. Likewise Andy Pandy. Pinky & Perky disappeared down the nostalgia
   chute before they could even set a trotter to the floor - but Basil is back
   and let's just be happy with that, eh? - What's more let's remind those
   nay-sayers and ne'erdowells of a real low point in Basil's career. Back in
   80s Basil was used to present a series of truly abysmal animated fairytales
   compiled under the auspices of Basil Brush's Cartoon Storybook. Now
   this was surely the brush's nadir,an almost unwatchable compilation of
   cheapskate jap-animation and Basil plonked in front of a cardboard set,
   twittering on to a lifeless camera. Next to that project, the new Basil
   positively sparkles...

   Basil's new web site is now online, and long may he BOOM-BOOM.
   Check out


   Stay tooned for The Natural Born Kittens!...  Feline Frenzy!

Yeek. Hold on to your coat tails and watch the fur fly as a little bit of Manga
    magic is about to be unleashed upon a very British animated series.
    Natural Born Kittens is an all-new production from comedy outfit Absolutely
    and writer/artist Larry Bundy Jr. Absolutely's last animated effort starred that
    retentive fellow Stressed Eric, but this new series is half a world away from
    Eric's London suburb - at least in spirit, anyway!..

    Natural Born Kittens is Manga-man Larry Bundy Jr's creation and stars a wild
    quartet who can only be described as The Four Daughters of the Catopalypse,
    re-born as a raucous gang of Manga-style goddesses-come-school girls
    bent on mayhem, anarchy and destruction... in North London.... in-between
    lessons at the local High School... in a situation comedy style...

    Um. Quite.

    By all accounts NBK as it shall henceforth be known, is very difficult to pigeon
    hole. The characters look like anime heroines stuffed in to sexy St Trinian's
    outfits and, judging by the first scripts, their world is lewd and loud and
    lascivious. Poor Eric would be gasping for air in seconds if he met this bunch!

    The wild scenario aside, NBK looks set to break brand new animation
    ground for a Brit. production, because the series is actually being animated
    out in Japan and given that very specific Manga/anime look and feel, as Larry
    Bundy Jr explains:

    '...Not only will this be the first British Anime/Manga show, but the first
    Western Manga/Anime TV show ever. Shows have been animated in Japan
    before, Dogtanian, Mysterious Cities of Gold, Spawn (Third Series) Etc. But
    they've always played down the Manga look in favour of more Western styles....'

    What this all means is that NBK is something brave and very different, which is
    exactly the sort of project The Hound likes to shout about. Will it all gel?
    Who knows right now. Production has only just begun on this one, so we'll
    have to wait to well into the next year before a verdict can be given, but it's
    surely one to keep your eye on. And even if you don't, The Hound will make
    he puts it your way again a later date!

    Check out the latest in Absolutely's world at their official site:


    The Flowerpot Men... Flobb-a-dobba Brabban...

   Some sad news to end with, regarding the passing on of that great green-fingered
   goddess Hilda Brabban. Hilda was the creator of that evergreen duo Bill & Ben,
   the Flowerpot Men first seen on the BBC's Watch With Mother and now
   romping across our screens again courtesy of the stylish new Cosgrove Hall
   update. Hilda originally wrote the Flowerpot stories for her younger brothers
   called - guess what? - William and Benjamin.
Apparently, 'flobbadob' was what
   the boys said when one of them broke wind in the bath. Blimey, that puts
   a new twist to the expression 'out of the mouth's of babes...'

   Hilda died last month aged 88, but she leaves behind Bill and Ben and Weed
   and a treasure-trove of childhood memories for both an older and young
   generation. Check out our Bill & Ben and Flowerpot Men index pages for more...

   And if it's not to crass, can I add a plug for our sister site ToonsToGo?
   You can purchase your very-own 'flobbadobing' duo at the store right now:


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

    And that, as ever, is that. But you know what, it's becoming more and more
    of a struggle to squeeze in all the pertinent toon news into just the one page.
    British toons are buzzing right now. Expanding the news section is certainly
    on the cards, but it would mean cutting back on the index page updates to
    accommodate the extra work. There's barely enough time in the month to get
    the current workload prepped and displayed on the site, let alone adding to
    the burden!...

    ...One of the aspects of The Hound's life that has been sidelined recently
    is the cartooning work. Between Toonhound and ToonsToGo there just never
    seems to be any time. But there is a little ray of sunshine on the horizon.
    New Wired World strips are coming. And that's no empty promise either,
    because the first batch are ready and waiting to be scanned. I've not touched
    those Wired World pages in - oh - eons, but they've remained popular,
    judging by the feedback I still receive. What's more those first toons have
    now been snapped up by Stephen Bayless at Stephen's
    presenting them in full colour too, adding his own bit of photopaint to my
    black and white originals. Hence another reason for my doodling new
    strips. Stay tooned for their arrival soon, eh?
       Till next time!

Pooch again!    



     Original Mr Hell Show artwork - now at ToonsToGo!

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