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

    Gosh - Pigeons, Mice, Hamsters, Cats and Judges this month -
    all very 'snuggley'....

  Rebel Yell...
  Two Dredd films and more
from Rebellion...
Disney boards Valiant Film...

  Call him 'Great!'...

  Bounty Hamster is paradise
  for SF geeks...

 Sites For Sore Eyes...
  Eek! - It's The Demon Writer of
  Fleetway Street...

  Snuggley News...

  The return of Dr Snuggles...

  Just Jess!...
  Pat's Cat goes it alone...

  Bert's Back!...
  Briggs and Ahlberg star returns...


      Judge Dredd is the law!Rebel Yell - Rebellion plan 2 JD feature films...

   The big news this month comes courtesy of Rebellion, the computer games
   developers and owners of 2000ad and its characters. Rebellion, as you surely
   know already, took over ownership and publication of the 2000ad weekly
   last year with a view to exploiting the market one hell of a lot more successfully
   than the previous owners. And things are beginning to build a head of steam now...

   You know that Rebellion are bringing Judge Dredd back to the big screen, right?
   That's old news, touted for many-a-month. What you maybe didn't know is that our
   favourite Judge is actually returning in two live-action features, being co-produced
   with Shoreline Entertainment back-to-back. Judge Dredd: Dredd Reckoning and
   Judge Dredd: Possession are aiming to go into production as soon as the funds
   are in place. And that's where things become particularly interesting, because
   our Mr Dredd has been badly burnt by the Studio System in the past, hasn't he?
   That's why Rebellion are looking to fund both films using the UK's Enterprise
   Investment Scheme (IES)...

   So what's that when it's at home? - Well, it's a way of raising finance for a film
   using small investors. A very tough way of raising capitol, that can end in disaster
   if you're not very sure of what you're doing. You've got to get your face in the dirt
   and dig, dig, dig, until you hit financial gold. And what does all this mean for
   Mr Dredd? - I'll tell you. It means that if Rebellion/Shoreline get these two Judge
   films off the ground they'll be lean, mean, lower budget movies with raw production
   values and a steel bit between their teeth and Rebellion will control every last frame
   of film exposed during production. In other words, we could end up with a very
   exciting couple of movies - especially if they get the right director(s) onboard - and
   they'll be a whole radiation-ravaged world away from THAT Stallone movie. But
   first, like I say, they've got to raise the cold hard cash. There's more info for you
   to peruse via 2000adonline and the official Rebellion site. Are you tempted to

   Meanwhile, regardless of the features, Rebellion have continued developing
   projects in the field they know as well as anyone - computer games. And what
   better way to tie-in the games side with the film side than with the mouthwatering
   prospect of a Dredd Versus Death computer game? That's right, Mega-City One's top
   Judge, pitted against his most formidable foe! - A cracking game concept, and
   one that's fully-funded and counting down to release next year, hopefully to tie
   in with the release of the movie(s). Whichever way you look at it, he is the law,
   and he means business...
   For more on the games and the films:


    Not Valiant!  - This is Fleetway star Coo, from Bill & Coo... Mouse takes on Vanguard's Pigeon...

   Cor, now here's some interesting news about the CGI film Valiant. You probably
   recall Valiant is the new $40m production from Vanguard Films, the company run
   by Shrek producer John Williams. It's taking flight at Ealing Studios' new animation
   facility next year and is the story of a Homing Pigeon's heroic exploits during WW2.
   (See the June edition for more info).

   The Hound thinks this is an exciting project, oozing animation potential and so
   too, does Uncle Walt. That's right, the Mouse House itself, Disney have chipped
   some coins into the production fountain. They're said to have stumped up 25%
   of the budget in return for North American rights (Screen Daily). And that, friends, is
   big and interesting news indeed. With Bristol-based Aardman knee-deep in their
   splendid multi-picture deal with Dreamworks, it's most intriguing to see Disney
   nudging towards a British rival - and one with a sometime Dreamworks Animation
   producer to boot. Yes, yes, Vanguard is an American company - but remember,
   it's aligned to the Ealing facility now. Of course, these sorts of corporate games
   mean diddly to the majority. But this is potentially terrific news for British feature
   animation, with two UK-based facilities shaping up to produce a slate of features
   over the next few years. Rich-pickings for Brit animators now, methinks...

   A batch of fascinating development pictures have snuck onto the official Vanguard
   site now. There's a realism about our feathered friends here that has tremendous
   potential, steering it well away from the predictable 'cute critters' affair we might
   have expected. Take a look at that mock poster picture, with the mean-eyed German
   hawk swooping on our hero - Yoiks! - I wonder if there'll be sticking to this kind
   of conception in the finished film, or softening the tone? - Stay tooned for much
   more on this ever-developing project...

   ++++++ UPDATE SEPT. 16th ++++++

   Well now, the Valiant development wagon is truly up and running. Over the course
   of the last week that splendid page of development pictures was removed from
   Vanguard's site - a shame, but understandable given that the all-powerful Mouse
   House is onboard. Meanwhile the ever-reliable film news site CHUD scooped a
   look at the very first promo poster for the film and, just as The Hound predicted,
   the current look appears to be a world away from those previous designs. Still
   intriguing, still something to get excited about, just different. CHUD also includes
   some interesting speculation on the Disney/Pixar - Disney/Vanguard position.
   Meanwhile Olivier at Animated-Movies is digging up a few speculative rumours
   about a mooted Dreamworks project with pigeons in a war-time setting.
   Although nothing has been said officially the rumours don't seem to be going
   away. Gosh, you can chase this story around all month, can't you? - Stay
   tooned for a fuller update next month, when some of the dust has settled...


    Dr Snuggles, Dennis and The Dreamy Boom-Boom...

   Gosh, what's that up in the sky? - Why, I do declare it's the Dreamy Boom-Boom,
   that extraordinary rocket belonging to DR Snuggles. Snuggles, Dennis, Mrs Nettles,
   Quiffy Duck, Granny Toots and the rest look like they're returning to TV Land
   after a twenty year absence...

   You remember Dr. Snuggles? The Doctor was an eccentric Heath Robinson inventor
   with a heart of gold, a talking gold pocketwatch and a menagerie of fantastic,
   phantasmogorical devices, contraptions, creations and friends who helped him save
   the world in a series of extraordinary adventures. The good Doctor was created by
   Jeffrey O'Kelly and writers on that original tv series included the late great hitchhiker
   himself, Douglas Adams. Jeffrey's taking the helm again with the proposed new
   series of 26 x 26mins episodes. The series is being produced by new toon outfit
   Animatrix and animated by Teleimagination - that is, if it gets the greenlight via
   Cartoon Forum this Autumn...

The Hound certainly hopes it does. Dr. Snuggles was/is a splendid creation stuffed
   to the rafters with imagination. What's more top actor-come-Oscar-winner-bloke
   Jim Broadbent
has signed on as the voice of Snuggles, taking over where Sir
   Peter Ustinov left off. He's the perfect replacement, don't you agree?

   Of course, many would tell you that Dr. Snuggles never went away. There are a
   good number of fan sites still keeping the Snuggles flame burning bright out there
   on the Great WWW. You'll find several of them identified on Toonhound's Dr. Snuggles
   page. News travels fast on the rainbow from Snugglesland. If the series picks up
   a commission I'll post news here soonest. Alternatively, keep your eyes on Ed
   Waller's excellent animation news pages on C21 Media - always a top place for
   toon news...


   Marion - Bounty Hamster Bounty Hamster is great!

   I've tried my best, really I have. I've held my breathe for five months after having
   raved about this cracking new series back in March but - darn it - I just can't
   contain myself any longer. What am I blathering on about? - Bounty Hamster,
   that's what. It's bloody brilliant, is what it is!

   Bounty Hamster, as you may recall, comes from Peafur Productions and Silverfox
   Films and follows the adventures of young Cassie and her furry eye-patched
   companion Marion (don't call him 'cute'!), scouring the galaxy in the search for
   Cassie's abducted father. Way back in March I was lucky to catch up with a
   preview of the first episode which got me lathered up in a SF-geek frenzy. It was
   stuffed with terrific genre sideswipes, references, and darned-tootin-stoopidity.
   'It's a hit!' I declared. Well now I've seen more, a second episode 'Somewhere
   That's Green' which takes potshots at 2001, Silent Running, Little Shop Of Horrors
   and a thousand others. Good grief, it's even better. This is that very special kind
   of series that will probably creep into the CITV schedules with little attention, or
   a confused promo campaign made by broadcasters unsure as to how they should
   be pitching it, but seek it out - hunt it down and latch on to it with alien suckers,
   because The Hound reckons you'll find it a blast. I can see it now, Under
   graduates decked out in nifty Marion T-shirts and record bags, pillows and
   cushions around the country being modified into hamsters...

   The Hound can't wait to see the first series in its entirety. And neither should
   you. What's more, if there's even a whiff of a licensing deal announced
   anywhere you can be sure we'll stock stuff over at ToonsToGo. Now if all
   this raving sounds too sycophantic for you, just remember what happened to
   that other Peafur series The Mr Hell Show. Poor old Mr Hell was swallowed
   up by the Black Hole of Cult Scheduling ne'er to be seen in the UK again -
   although he was spewed out again for a while down in Australia. Don't let the
   same fate befall Marion and Cassie. Tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell
   your alien buddies there's a Bounty Hamster coming - but whatever you do,
   don't call him 'cute'!...

   For more on Marion and Mr Hell, warp-speed over to Peafur's official site:

   And okay, Mr Hell has been sucked into the intergalactic depths, but you'll
   soon be able to purchase original Mr Hell Show pencil sketches over at
   ToonsToGo: - Go on, be a devil!

     Postman Pat... And Jess!   Just Jess!

   Nope, it's no Will & Grace pun, Postman Pat's best buddy and friend Jess
   the black and white cat is to be given his very own tv series. Entertainment Rights
   apparently think he's paid his dues and deserves a little star treatment. And
   what's more, the series is to be animated using traditional stop-motion techniques
   instead of that there new-fangled CGI which is currently all the rage.

   And about time too, says The Hound. Indeed, it's a surprise this wasn't
   done earlier. Viewers are as familiar with Jess as they are his postman pal.
   What hasn't been mentioned in the PR splurge is whether Pat himself will
   feature, or put in a cameo appearance, or indeed if any of the other
   Greendale folk will take part. Neither is there any detail as to run-times
   or episode numbers. Stay tooned for further info nearer the launch,
   sometime next year...

   Entertainment Rights are currently riding high on the success of their
   new Basil Brush show which has already been re-commissioned even before
   its first broadcast. The company acquired rights to Postman Pat when it
   snapped up Woodland Animations last year...

   For more on Pat check out Toonhound's index page...
   You should also stop by Entertainment Rights, of course...


    Briggs & Ahlberg's Bert books... Bert's Back!...

      Ssh! - Don't celebrate too loudly, but our fine flushed friend Bert is all set
    to return in a second book from Toonhound's favourite illustrator Raymond
    Briggs, and author Allan Ahlberg. Bert, as you may recall, first appeared in
    last year's picture book The Adventures Of Bert. Witty illustrations with simple,
    silly text took Bert out of his house, into a truck and all the way to Scotland.
    So what's he up to this time? - We'll find out in October...

    A Bit More Bert features 32 illustrated pages, published in hardback by Viking
    Books, on or around October 2nd. But like I say - Sssh! - don't celebrate too
    loudly, you'll wake Baby Bert!...
    For more on the original Bert book check out Gentleman Briggs.
    And you can order both the old and new Bert from the likes of amazon...


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

    Phew! - A bigger barrel of Toon News for you this month, hopefully making up for
    the shorter news pages over Summer. Toonhound continues to enlarge and
    and enlighten, left right and center. Due any day now is the 5th fantastic
    Fleetway Interview in the ongoing series of discussions with the artists and
    writers of Whizzer & Chips, Whoopee! and the rest of those unforgettable
    weekly comics. Writer and artist Graham Exton has been talking about
    that enfant terrible Sweeny Toddler. Graham wrote the Sweeny strips during
    the Tom Patterson days, introducing the crazier notions of He-Toddler,
    Toddzilla, and the rest - Superb! - Stay tooned for his page soon....

    Always one step ahead, I'm already compiling news for next month's
    roundup. Let me say now, it's shaping into a cracker with news of an all-new,
    groundbreaking British series dipping its toe into the wild world of Manga
    animation. Pokemon and Card-Captors be damned, The Kittens are coming!
       Till next time!

Pooch again!    




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