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                                                                September 2003
Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!
Two steps forward...
Toonhound is getting SoBig....  More...

   Willo, willo
    Willo The Wisp wafts in...

    Comforting news

    Aardman toon on TV this week...

    Snowden do fine at FORUM

    New toons for the top duo...

    Four more from FORUM

    More top toon deals...

    Have you seen this Snowman?
    TVC theft gets a Crimewatch appeal...

    Nutwood comes home

    Northern & Shell buy up Rupert...

    Meg and Mog swoop in

   Pienkowski gets animated...

    Striker Comic wants you!

   Premierleague artists sought...
    Steve Maher - The Wizard of Oz! THE WIZARD OF OZ
The Hound talks to Sci-Fi artist
and former   NEW
Fleetway cartoonist Steve Maher!...


   Willo, willo

    Some news to put you in a good 'Moog' this week; Willo The Wisp
    is inching ever closer to our screens again!

Willo The Wisp - coming soon!

    Many of you will know that Bobbie Spargo and Tim Hollier have been
    endeavouring to get an all-new series of films off the ground for a wee
    while now (See: Willo The Wisp). Well, this week C21-media and others
    report that Target Entertainment have come onboard the 52x5min series,
    and that means the new show will now get the full razzle-dazzle promotion
    down at MIPCOM. And that, in turn, means that some healthy presales
    should be made, which - fingers crossed - will allow the series proper
    to get into production. Exciting, eh?

    The new Willo show is being written by Jamie Rix and produced by
    Sarah Muller and Tim Hollier of Elephant Productions. James Dreyfus
    from 'Gimme Gimme Gimme' has been perfectly cast as the new
    narrator on the series.

    Target have been making some interesting waves in the toon world
    of late, you know. 'Meg And Mog' is distributed by them too...

   Willo The Wisp   Target


   Comforting news

    Great to see Aardman's all-new 'Creature Comforts' series getting
    the full promo treatment on ITV1 over the last week-or-so. As the
    world and his wife must surely know by now, a brand-new bunch
    of animated animals have been filmed for this high-profile commission
    And better yet, it's launching in a peak-time slot here in the UK...

     'Creature Comforts' - on ITV1 , Wednesday 8.00pm

    Back in August Yours Truly mentioned it was launching in a Sunday
    slot, but as all those promos and ads have been telling us, the show is
    actually premiering this Wednesday 1st October at 8.00pm. A second
    episode is screened later that same night at 9.45pm, before the show
    commences a regular run at 7.20pm on Sunday evening. So set your
    videos now and tune in to a fab selection of seals, pooches, rats, slugs,
    cows, octopi, plankton, aliens, and more as they enthuse about life,
    the universe and everything inbetween!

Creature Comforts


   Snowden do fine at FORUM

    Plenty of news from Cartoon FORUM this week. For folks out there who
    don't know, FORUM is an annual get-together for toon production
    houses, animators, distributors and broadcasters from around the globe.
    These fellows showcase new series, shorts, projects and basically talk
    toons for a week and many-a-deal is signed and sealed...

    First to be congratulated here at Toonhound are Alison Snowden and
    David Fine.The Oscar-winning duo behind 'Bob & Margaret' have had the
    pilot for their new toon 'Ricky Sprocket Showbiz Boy' picked up for
    broadcast by Cartoon Network US (C21-Media) and things are looking
    healthy for their second new toon 'Simon Stimple'.

     Bob & Margaret - a springboard to two new toons for Snowden Fine

    Ricky Sprocket is mega-succesful Hollywood teen star trying to cope
    with adolescence and normality in the very frantic world of show business.
    It's the duo's first attempt at a 'tween' driven toon. Simon Stimple, meanwhile,
    is all about the life of a 22 year old guy living above his parent's apartment.
    The 26x22min proposal is to be brought to MIPCOM in the hunt for financiers.
    This one is is being packaged by Studio B in Vancouver and the channel
    Teletoon, on which the show will premiere in 2004. It's an adult skewed
     toon, after the fashion of 'Bob And Margaret'.

     Ricky and Simon look like very interesting characters. Stay tooned for
     more on these two soon!...

                                                                          More:  Snowden Fine


   Four more from Forum

    Lots more news pouring out of this year's FORUM, as one would
    expect. Like what, says you? Well....

    Aardman Animation have been showcasing their first all-CGI series
    'Chop Socky Chooks'. This 52 x11min show focuses on a band of
    Kung-Fu fighting chickens, and already the likes of Cartoon Network
    Europe are on board. The series will take 18 months to produce,
    with toon duties shared between the UK and a selection of international
    partners. The budget is coming in at around £385k per episode.
    Yes, yes, so it's Aardman and chickens again. But hey, any Aardman
    news is good news for us toon fans, right?

    Those canny Scots' folk at Red Kite Productions have scared up
    Canadian interest in their 3D series called 'The Frightened Family'.
    This 26 x 30min series focuses on a lad called Helmut and his neurotic
    Mother and Father. This one's budgeted at around £285k per episode.
    Sounds like a smart concept and definitely one to sniff out info on.
    Next up are Hat Trick Productions. Everyone knows Hat Trick, of course,
    from their numerous light entertainment and sitcom credits. Well now
    they're moving in to animated circles with 'Streatham Hill'. This one's
    been on the development slate a wee while and it focuses on a
    trio of inner-city schoolgirls getting up to mayhem and mischief in
    and around their school and its environs ('South Park' meets 'St.
    Trinian's' anyone?). The hip 13-part series is in development with
    Channel 4. Teletoon and Decode will be co-producing the show
    which is being written by Sharat Sardana and Richard Pinto of
    'Goodness Gracious Me' fame, together with Richard Osman.

    Finally in this ickle round-up, Tiger Aspect have been receiving lots of
    jolly interest in 'Charlie & Lola'. The series is based on the children's
    books by Lauren Child which feature Charlie and his peculiar sister
    Lola. The animation jumbles up 2D imagery with fabrics and pictures
    to make a scrapbook look to the production. The series is sponsored
    by BBC Worldwide and the project has proven most popular.
    Tiger Aspect's first toon outing, 'Mr Bean: The Animated Series',
    broke new ground in the UK when it was given a peaktime weekend
    slot by ITV1. 'Charlie & Lola' is a world away in tone and design from
    that one and suggest that Tiger are shaping up into a rather dynamic
    production house...

    There's more from FORUM soon, including details of the biggest,
    FAB-est news of the week, month and year even...

    Stay tooned!


   Have you seen this Snowman?

    Just a brief follow-up here regarding the theft of those TVC Snowman
    cels, as reported
 at the end of August. Apparently the theft is to be
    highlighted on this week's 'Crimewatch' programme on BBC1 this
    wednesday 24th Sept, although to be frank, The Hound can't see
    what good such a report will do. Indeed, there's an argument that
    it may draw even more unwelcome attention to the 'collectability'
    of such material amongst the criminal fraternity, thus putting other
    studio archives at risk...

    Still, it's interesting to see that the art theft will be presented to the
    public on the same show that will be highlighting the theft of that
    Leonardo da Vinci painting from Dumfries - Crikey, Leonardo and
    The Snowman on the same billing, who'd have thunk it? - Let's hope
    someone watching can give the crime squad a lead on both of
    these depressing cases...

   Nutwood comes home

    Back in April The Hound reported on a rights wrangle that had brewed up over
    Rupert The Bear (See: Everyone wants his name). If you recall, the owner of
    The Daily Express, Richard Desmond was seeking commercial rights to
    Rupert from Canada's Nelvana, citing mismanagement of the brand. Well,
    five months on, it seems that Mr Desmond has won the fight because
    UK publisher Northern & Shell - who own The Daily Express - this week
    announced that they have now won all image rights and copyrights to the
    chap, with Nelvana now retaining rights to only the 65 x 5mins episodes
    produced during their ownership period...

      Rupert The Bear - copyright Express Newspapers/Northern & Shell

    So what does this mean for Rupet fans? - Well, plenty. A new Rupert tv
    series is being mooted, alongside designs for a plethora of associated
    merchandise for us to get our paws on. Press reports direct us to the
    success of Chorion with their revitalised Noddy franchise, and Ent Rights
    ongoing success with Basil Brush, etc. Which all sounds just fine and
    dandy. But when the dust settles on the contracts and the money-
    spinning relaunch plans are all in place, please, please can someone
    at Northern & Shell take a moment to look back down the years of
    Rupert's stardom. Can we have some 'classic' Rupert wares to
    compliment the 'new' franchise. Better yet, can someone wake up
    and begin to exploit Mary Turner's still-fabulous 'Adventures Of Rupert'
    tv series, with its extraordinarily popular theme and beautiful puppets?
    Yes, I know, I've hounded folks about this before, but it really would be
    a crying shame to see that show sidelined yet again...

                                                                           More:  C21-media


   Meg and Mog swoop in

    Hold on to your broomsticks, 'cos Meg and Mog have swooped on to
    CITV this month. Meg is a cheery witch, and Mog her feline muse.
    They've been featuring in the popular picture books by Helen Nicoll
    and Jan Pienkowski since the mid-1970's, and indeed, more than
    3million 'Meg And Mog' books have been sold over the years.
    Pienkowski's creations are always big and bright and instantly
    recognisable - perfect for an animated adaptation...

        'Meg And Mog' - Meg, Mog and Owl

    The duo have been brought into life by animator-turned-director
    Roger Mainwood. His extensive CV includes credits on numerous TVC
    productions like 'The Snowman', 'The Bear', 'Granpa', 'Father Christmas',
    and several of their Beatrix Potter adaptations. He also animated on
    Illuminated Films' 'War Game', produced key character layouts on 'Faeries'
    and the forthcoming Telemagination series 'Metalheads' (more on that
    one soon).

    The animated 'Meg And Mog' consists of 52 x 5min episodes and features
    the voice talents of Fay Ripley, Alan Bennett, and Phil Cornwell. The series
    is a co-production between Absolutely Productions in London, Happy Life
    Studio in Stockholm, and Varga Studio in Budapest. Target Distribution
    has worldwide broadcast and merchandising rights. Absoloutely Productions
    is of course the same production outfit who brought us 'Stressed Eric'.
    and who have a finger in the animated meringue that is 'Natural Born
    Kittens' (See the February edition). But 'Meg And Mog' is a big bright
    world away from those particular productions...

    Check out 'Meg And Mog' ever Wednesday, 3.20pm on CITV.

 Meg And Mog   Roger Mainwood


   Striker Comic wants you!

    Well, 'Striker Comic' is here and already swaggering on to its second issue.
    And you know what? - It's a very sassy publication. The main 3D story is
    smart, balances humour and hijinx very well, and is most handsome
    to look at. The follow-up articles and 'Big Match' strip maintain the myth of
    Warbury FC and - heck - you get a lot of kicking content for your £1.00.
    What's more you don't even have to be a full-on footy fan to get a
    kick out of the comic. If there's any griping to be had it's only that
    Striker Comic isn't really a 'comic' as such, more of a footy fanzine.
    It's a topflight one, regardless...

      Striker Comic - kickin' for success!

But if you flip to the back of this week's issue and you'll find a full-page
   plea from the editorial team on this top-scoring title. They need 3D graphics
   artists, and they need 'em fast. They've got a content-hungry 'comic' to produce
   and are looking for experienced Maya and Photoshop artists, as well as retouch
   artists and storyboard artists. The Striker 3D team has dared to dream, and
   have hit the ground running. It would be a crying shame to see them relegated
   from premierleague comics so early in to their run, so if you're a talented
   and experienced artist get in touch with them now. You can email
   them via jobs@striker3d.net, or you can write to them, enclosing work
   samples. Here's their address:
   Striker 3D, 37 Avebury Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1TL.

   'Striker Comic' is out every Thursday in newsagents up and down the UK,
   and it muddy well deserves your support, especially when facing off against
   some seemingly underhand tactics by 'The Sun' - the paper in which the
   strip was formerly published. The folks there launched a copycat 3D strip this
   week to try and paper over the loss of Warbury FC - a rather flaccid exercise
   which looked and smelt like nothing more than sour grapes. You'll find more
   news about that, and more importantly, all the latest gossip concerning
   Warbury FC and Striker 3D over on their official site...

                                                                             More:  Striker 3D    


Two steps forward...      (15.09.03)

    Ah yes, that old adage about moving forward and backwards at the same
. It's definitely applicable to this here site. As Toonhound grows in size
    and visitor numbers, so the hassles of operating and maintaing the place
    grow too. In the last month my mailbox, like countless others around
    the globe, has been straining under a barrage of SoBig viruses - 500+
    per day at its peak. Filtering 'em out, even with the aid of software like
    Mailwasher, has proven to be a true blue headache. And it's a head
    that was already hung over from the hassles of maintaing an XP-based
    machine which has been downloading a never-ending stream of
    security patches and critical updates from microsoft throughout
    the summer - *sigh*

    In the end, last week, it all got too much for me. TheHound attempted to
    upgrade certain drivers on his PC, got the system in an awful muddle and left
    himself little option but to reformat the hard drive. And that, dearest visitor,
    is why there hasn't been much going on here at the site for a wee while.
    Funnily enough, since I repaired the system all those viruses have
    melted back into cyberspace from whence they came. But they'll be
    back again soon, of that I have no doubt...

    But - hey - TheHound is back on track again this week and keen to
    make amends. Stay tooned for more upgraded 'puppets' pages this
    month, as well as some wholly new additions to the indexes. That
    promised interview with artist Steve Maher has finally arrived, plus
    there are a few surprises, as and when they can be sheduled
    into the updates and revisions. Yes, it's a hassle maintaing this site.
    But hey, what else is a Hound to do...?

    Till next time!

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

  all characters coypright to their respective estates/creators     'Pooch' copyright / site copyright - F2000-2003