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


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  animated films
  & shorts

  animated series

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  & people

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  & finger puppets

  characters, strips
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  & illustrators



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





Mr Hell -  find him at ToonsToGo!



                                                                  October 2003
Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!
Slow, but sure...
New updates and a new secret project....  More...

   Bountfiul BAFTAs!
    Children's nominations announced...

    Here 'were' go

    Wererabbit film begins!...

    Kittens go wild

    NBK on the march...

    The Cat's come back!

    Beano favourite returns...

    Frightening stuff

    Red Kite's 'scary' new series...

    Welcome to Bobtown

    Bob to build a whole town...

    A comfortable hit

    Creatures get great viewing figures... 
    BOD's new book

    Lo & Alison Cole's new book...   
    JEO's got it licked

    And Colin Whittock's a Sweetie...

   Roger Mainwood - The Main Man! THE MAIN MAN
The Hound talks to
Roger Mainwood!...
    Steve Maher - The Wizard of Oz! THE WIZARD OF OZ
The Hound talks to artist
Steve Maher!...   


    Bountiful BAFTAs!

     Gosh how time flies. Would you believe awards season is upon us already?
     On Sunday 26th October BAFTA took to the stand to announce the nominations
     for this year's Children's BAFTAs and the two animation sections look
     like being almost too close to call. Here are the toon shortlists:

       Best Animation:

         Francis Vose / Cosgrove Hall Films / Granada International / CiTV

         Jackie Cockle, Sarah Ball / HOT Animation for HIT Entertainment / BBC

         Helen Cohen, Graham Ralph / Silver Fox Films / Peafur Prods / CiTV

          Marion Edwards, Alan Simpson / Telemagination / CiTV

       Pre-School Animation:

         Will Brenton, Iain Lauchlan, Mark Taylor / Tell-Tale Prods / BBC2

         Patrick Eveno, Robin Lyons / Siriol Productions / CiTV

          Richard Morss, Alistair Mcllwain, Paul Michael / Pepper's Ghost Prods / CiTV

          Chris O'Hare, Tony Collingwood, Andrea Tran / Collingwood O'Hare Ent /HIT Ent / CiTV

     It's very mainstream this year, don't you think?

     The Hound is more than a little biased and thrilled to see that 'Bounty
     Hamster' has snuck on to the shortlist for Best Animation. Let's hope the
     exposure persuades folks to invest in a second series. But Marion and
     Cassie may be left in freefall come awards night because they'll be up
     against 'Bob The Builder', who incredibly, has yet to pick up one of
     these prestigious awards in spite of several nominations. Interesting to
     see that Bob's been shifted in to this category from out of his usual
     Pre-School Animation section, reflecting the wider appeal of his fun
     Christmas special. Telemagination must also be chuffed at the success
     of jolly 'Pongwiffy', but The Hound's money is on 'Albie' to win. In the
     last year-or-so young 'Albie' must have acquired every festival award
     going. He truly is an industry favourite...
     As for the Preschool category, well, you heard it here first folks. Exactly
     twelve months ago, The Hound predicted that 'Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!' would
     get award nominations by the shelf-load. But, oh, what stiff competition again.
     'Hilltop Hospital' is very sweet, and 'Boo!' too. And then there's Bing and Bong,
     heroes of the universe, from 'Tiny Planets' who must surely be in with a good
     chance of snatching this one. Which way will the board go; will they favour
     the cute CGI of 'Planets', or maybe award 'Yoko!'s individualism? - Hmm...

     Still with 'Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!', glasses must surely be raised to the skills
     of Tony Collingwood, who has received an additional nomination in the Writers
     category. This for a show which features no real dialogue, relying on rythmn
     and action to tell its colourful tales. Tony's been nominated alongside the
     writers of three live-action series ('Girls In Love', 'Tracy Beaker', 'Sir Gadabout').
     The Hound is keeping his paws crossed for Mr Collingwood, who is a BAFTA
     favourite, of course, having already won awards for 'Animal Stories' and
     'Eddy & The Bear' with his production partner Chris O'Hare...

     BAFTA will be announcing the winnners on 30th November, and one thing
     is for certain: The Hound doesn't know diddly when it comes to speculating
     on winners. My choices last year were wrong by a mile!


    Here 'were' go

     Sound the trumpets and unfurl the banners, because filming of the
     much-anticipated Wallace & Gromit feature has now officially begun!

     'Curse Of The Wererabbit' involves Wallace, Gromit, a grand vegetable
     competition and yon rabbit with pointy teeth. The film is shooting at
     Aardman's Bristol studios and production is expected to last around
     18 months.

     Now a sliver of new information has accompanied the fanfare  today, and
     that comes in the form of two character names to sit with the star voices
     announced back in August. Helena Bonham-Carter is to voice a character
     called Lady Tottington, whilst Joseph Fiennes lends his vocal talent to
     Lord Victor Quartermaine. And of course, Peter Sallis is back as the
     voice of Wallace.

     Of course, Wallace & Gromit are in the news this month for other reasons
     too. Firstly, they are starring in a high-profile competition from Jacob's - the
     UK's big brand cracker manufacturers. As well as appearing on cracker packs
     the duo also feature in a fully-fledged tv ad campaign to accompany the
     promotion. The W&G/Jacob's connection spans back a few years now,
     doesn't it? Previous tie-ins have included offers for a fab set of W&G
     cheese plates and knives, and a fun magnet set...

     Elsewhere, games fans can now get their paws on a top new W&G
     PS2/Xbox/GameCube game entitled 'Project Zoo'. The game involves our
     duo having to liberate the occupants of their local zoo after dastardly
     Feathers McGraw has forced the critters to mine for diamonds - Boo!

Aardman Animation


    Kittens go wild

     Some manga-tastic news this week concerning those 'Natural Born
     Kittens'. NBK as it's known, is a half hour teenage comedy anime series
     about four ancient Egyptian Cat Goddesses posing as teenage schoolgirls
     The Hound first reported on NBK a year ago when Larry Bundy Jr's
     mad mouthful of Western Manga mayhem was snapped up by
     Absolutely Productions.

       NBK - kittens at play!
     Well, twelve months on and those kittens are 'meowing' in celebration
     of a big new deal and a fab future with two top production houses.
     Larry tells us this week that new Brit outfit Corsham Entertainment
     now have their paws on the production, together with America's
     finest, Wildbrain Inc.

     So who are Corsham, exactly? Well, here's the official spiel:

     'Corsham Entertainment was recently set up by Oscar-winning
     Gary Kurtz, whose long list of producer credits includes Star Wars
     and Empire Strikes Back, British animator Richard Bazley (Hercules,
     Pocahontas) and writer/producer Alastair Swinnerton, who co-created
     Lego's multi-platform hit, Bionicle....'

     Pretty impressive, eh? By the way, Corsham's other projects include
     all-out action toon 'Terranoids', a mega-munster project called 'Atomic
     Monsters' and the Christmas special 'Jack Frost' detailed here at
     Toonhound back in December.
     As for Wildbrain, they've produced toons for Universal, Twentieth
     Century Fox, Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Bros, Nickelodeon, Cartoon
     Network and Oxygen. They put together promos for 'Animax' and they
     produced 'Spawn'. The company's original series include 'Poochini'
     and the forthcoming 'Vanilla Pudding'. They're a hot toon company,
     that's for sure....

     With two keen companies driving this one forward now it's safe to
     say that NBK is a project to keep your eye on. Or one that will take
     your eye out, certainly. My, those kittens are feisty!


    The Cat's come back!

     Beano readers have been celebrating a welcome return this week,
     because that catsuited favourite Billy The Cat has sprung back in to
     the comic in an all new adventure...

       'Billy The Cat' - back in The Beano this week!

     Billy was a 70's Beano favourite, fighting crime in his all-black catsuit
     and helmet together with his cousin Kathleen. The Beano's new six-part
     serial sees Billy caught up in a plot to wreck a blockbuster film studio
     and this week's cliffhanger left our hero out of his costume and unable
     to assist as a radio-controlled robot runs amock!

     Billy's not only back in the weekly Beano editions, he's also put in an
     appearance in the 2004 Beano Annual. It's great to see him back,
     but after reading the first of the weekly installments there's still one
     abiding question on many fans' lips: Where's Katie? Is she set to
     return in this week's episode, springing to the defence of our
     helpless hero....?

     We'll find out in episode two!



    Frightening stuff

     As promised in last month's FORUM roundup, here's some more info
     now on Red Kite's CGI series 'The Frightened Family'. This is 'a twisted
     comic 3D CGI series for ages 8-12' and it follows the trials and tribulations
     of Helmut and his oh-so-nervous family as they tiptoe through the hazards
     and frights of everyday life. Here are two promo piccies for you:

       The Frightened Family - from Red Kite    The Frightened Family - from Mhairri Corr's rotund sculptures

     What makes this one stand out is the design. The characters are based
     on the rotund creations of Scottish sculptor Mhairi Corr, and they've been
     brought to life by CGI artists Campbell McAllister and Garry Marshall.
     They're very distinct, don't you think? - And that's a nifty premise too,
     with plenty of room to explore those day-to-day neuroses we all have.
     This one looks like being an interesting alternative to the normal 'toon' fare.

     Red Kite are a daring production outfit, actually. They champion independent
     artists and animators and have built up a very broad and distinct animation
     portfolio. Kite's Ken and Katja Anderson are now at MIPCOM promoting
'The Frightened Family' together with a 2D toon called 'The Secret World
     of Benjamin Bear', 'Wilf The Witch's Dog' (based on Frank Rodgers'
     popular picture books) and 'Katie Morag', and you can find out plenty
     more about all of these shows at the company's web site...

Red Kite


   Welcome to Bobtown

     Good grief. Not content with building a mini-industry of hit records,
     licensed products, two films and a library of 130 animated episodes,
     Bob The Builder is about to embark on his biggest project yet: the
     construction of an entire town!

     Apparently, Bob's owners HIT Entertainment are looking to
     're-energise' their star performer for a 1995 return, with 10 brand
     new series of adventures in which Bob does indeed build a small
     town, with the help of his twin brother Tom, Skip, Muck, Dizzy,
     Wendy and the gang, plus a few new characters. Also being lined
     up are a whole new 'gang' of licensees. At least 100 new products
     are in the pipeline.

     This reinvigoration follows a peak in Bob's popularity. In the
     year to July Bob accounted for a 'mere' £50m of revenue for HIT,
     down from £60m last year (!). Yes, we're talking telephone numbers
     here. HIT is a multi-million pound industry giant and Bob is HIT's star
     performer accounting for some 30% of their revenue, according
     to TheGuardian. How the world has moved on from those gentle
     days when folks like Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin tinkered
     away for a few pounds in their old Canterbury cow shed...

     But number-crunching and nostalgia aside, Bob's continued
     success is a pleasure to see. Okay, so it's not a spontaneous
     success, everything has been meticulously planned and analyzed
     in advance, but you have to admit the films and series showcase
     some quality animation, bright design, and the 'star guests' and
     appearances make them always fun to watch. Mind you, sitting
     through all 260 episodes in one go would be a little

                                         More:  Bob The Builder   HIT Entertainment

   A comfortable hit

    Those Aardman creatures came, talked, and captured a healthy slice
    of the ratings judging by the viewing figures for the first two episodes
    of 'Creature Comforts'.

    The new Comforts series premiered on ITV1, Wednesday evening,
    straight after 'Coronation Street' and it picked up 8.4million viewers
    - a 37% audience share - according to unofficial figures. What's more,
    even the later episode accrued 5million viewers, and that one wasn't
    broadcast until 9.45pm. That first episode was easily the most-viewed
    show for its time-slot. Just to put things in perspective, BBC1's
    offering 'Auction Man' playing opposite only tallied up a  3.8million
    audience, which means Comforts had more than double the viewers!

    So will those viewers stick around for the rest of the series when
    it shifts to its regular Sunday slot? - TheHound reckons so. The
    'bwainy' hamster was a star, and Matilda cow on the trapeze, and the
    rats outside their potting shed, and the gurning Seal, and - well -
    I guess there were enough favourites there to satisfy all. Yes, the
    format has become very familiar over the last decade, but when the
    marrying of voice to animal works - like say, the bloodhound in the
    surgery - then it really does still have the power to beguile. And
    this being Aardman there was some splendid detail, like the way
    the interviewer's mike was trembling when ever the leopard was
    on screen. Can't wait for Sunday!

    By the way, if you haven't stopped by the official site yet you're
    missing a treat. The Matilda cow screensaver is a fab freebie
    and has pride of place on TheHound's PC at the moment...     
TheGuardian   Creature Comforts


   BOD's new book

    Lo Cole has been in touch with The Hound today to let me have
    a sneaky-peek at his and Alison's brand-new BOD book.

       'Bod's New Leaf' - by Lo & Alison Cole

    'BOD's New Leaf' is available from October 9th courtesy of Contender
    Books. The drawings are by Lo and the text by Alison, and at a splendidly
    affordable £4.99 this one is already a - um - 'contender' for The Hound's
    Award For Best Stocking-Filler of 2003.

    This is a very cute book. It's about making a fresh start. BOD, Barleymow,
    Flo and the gang are all present and correct, and even Alberto Frog gets
    a look-in. Alison incorporates some silly BOD-lified wordplay and an 
    appealing left-right rhythm to proceedings, whilst Lo's illustrations are
    very easy on the eye: nice clean lines and designs, drawing you across
    the pages. It's a big kid's book in a little kid's disguise, in fact...
    This is the second 'new' BOD book, of course, following on from
    the success of 'BOD's Way'. Lo and Alison talked about that one, and
    about their parent's legacy back in our Toonhound Q&A. BOD himself
    remains an enigma wrapped in a riddle - a most appealing chap.
    I'm sure he still has more words of wisdom to impart to us!...
Contender Books


    JEO's got it licked

     Whilst we're talking about friends of this site, can The Hound add
     a plug for cartoonist J Edward Oliver, he of Fleetway comics
     and Fresco dinosaur fame?

     JEO is currently contributing toons for Phil's Stamp Covers, which
     is rather jolly site selling First Day Covers and such-like. As a fun
     twist on an old favourite, Phil's place is offering folks special
     personalised first day covers for Christmas featuring caricatures
     by the great man - a top idea. Check out the Christmassy link
     on their front page for more info...

       The Hound talks to JEO   The Hound talks to Colin Whittock

     Actually, JEO's not the only Fleetway friend branching out on the web.
     Colin 'Lazy Bones' Whittock has been busy this summer. He's been
     contributing toons to a yummy online sweet shop called A Quarter Of
     Just the ticket for Sweet Tooths everywhere...

     Oh alright, that was two plugs, wasn't it?

                                       More:  Phil's Stamp Covers   A Quarter Of

Slow, but sure...      (07.10.03)

    Yes, alright, I'll admit it. Things have been moving very slowly here of late.
    The site still requires an extraordinary amount of upgrading and additions to
    the indexes. But hey, I'm working just as fast as I can. I mean, you try
    maintaining 550+ pages on your own, whilst handling the day-to-day
    business of an online store. It's bloomin' hard work. Mind you, the results
    are well worth the effort. So many visitors have written to thank me for my
    efforts, why, it makes a hound blush. But I must make an extra confession.
    I've also been side-tracked of late by a creative calling separate altogether
    from this here web-site:

    My own project!

    That's right. Yours Truly has been engaged in his own top-secret toon
    project over the last month-or-so, which is just about ready to start pitching.
    Toonhound is splendid fun, but as I've said many-a-time before, the need for
    a commission of my own still burns bright. I've spent the last three years
    writing about other folks' creations. Now it's payback time, I reckon.
    My new project is wholly different from anything I've coughed up before
    and I'm itching to reveal some of its content here - but alas, I must save
    it for another time. I'll post more info in due course, I promise...

    Meanwhile, Toonhound rolls ever on. The Hound's little chat with animator
    Roger Mainwood is finally online this month. Roger is the director of that
    splendid new animated 'Meg and Mog' series currently screening on C-ITV,
    plus he produced a slew of character designs for 'Metalheads', the medieval
    toon that's just started on C-BBC. Roger's past credits include many of
    those TVC classics for producer John Coates, like 'The Snowman', and
    'The Bear' and - oh - many more besides. Also, as you may have noticed,
    I've slipped in the first updated Comic Strips pages this month. With a fair
    wind and no more distractions, there should be a few more upgraded
    pages from this section sneaking on to the site over the following weeks...

    Till next time!

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

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