The Hound says "Welcome to Toonhound!" TheHound - an irregular round up of toon news and chatter from the uk...cartoon news interviews and views from the UK!  Union Jack


  british toon
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  & shorts

  animated series

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Toonhound presents...






Peppa Pig art for sale at The Animation Art Gallery!

      April/May 2009
 Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!

 Still Hungry

   40 years of The Very Hungry

 Two top toons

   Timmy Time and Little Kingdom
   are here...

    Dangerous prints
Some fab new DangerMouse etchings...

  Toy Tales
A TV Toon exhibition...

Movies a-go-go
 Three big film announcements...

    A perky disc

   Pinky & Perky on DVD...

    2000AD gets animated

   Characters to get their own series...

    Here's to The DFC
   Let's celebrate an inspiring comic... more »

   news archive »     interviews »      giveaways »

   Dangerous prints  

    Crumbs, chief. Star Editions have just unveiled a rather smart selection
    of affordably collectable DangerMouse etchings for folks to sneak off

    DangerMouse prints from Star Editions!

    There are 13 different images available. Each print measures either
    28x35cm, or 35x28cm, depending on its orientation, and they're restricted
    to just 500 editions. Best of all, they're retailing at pocket money prices,
    which means you won't have to break the bank to buy 'em!

    Star Editions list a bunch of retailers in their links section,
    but The Hound says you can't go wrong if you drop by our friends
    at Lollipop Animation...

Star Editions  Lollipop Animation


    Toy Tales   (17.05.09)

    If you're Durham-bound this Summer, you might want to take a detour to
    Barnard Castle, and the famous Bowes Museum. That's because they're
    currently showcasing a fabulous Toy Tales exhibition. It's a celebration
    of 60 years of BBC tv for kids, and amongst the goodies on display are
    Peter Firmin's original Bagpuss, Clangers and Ivor the Engine props and
    artwork. Former Bagpuss artist Linda Birch has her storyboards for the
    series on display, and Alan Rogers' has his original Pigeon Street and
    BOD artwork on view, alongside his newly-rediscovered and unmissable
    original Flumps puppets... Oh, and there are Paddington goodies, and
    Watch With Mother bits and clips, and workshops and... well...
    This all sounds great, doesn't it?

    The Toy Tales Exhibition launched 9th May, and it runs through Summer
    and Autumn, to 1st November at The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle,
    County Durham...

The Bowes Museum


    Movies a-go-go  (28.04.09)

     This is insane. You wait ages for the next big UK animated film
     announcement, only to find not one, not two, but three movie projects
     getting fanfared in the very same week!

     The Pirates! in an Adventures With Scientists by Gideon Defoe - available from

     In the red corner, we have Aardman Animation who, earlier this week,
     announced that they have two animated features in development as part
     of their production deal with Sony Pictures. The first is a stop-motion
     adaptation of Gideon Defoe's "Pirates!" book series. Now these are fab
     books. Great rollicking fun, in a Terry Pratchett-y kind of way. They're
     hugely eccentric, and would make for a terrific and quirky adaptation.
     Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt will co-direct the film, which will be
     based upon The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists in which
     our jolly band of ne'erdowells travel to London, encounter Charles
     Darwin and a talking chimp, dress up as women and general bring
     chaos and disorder to the order of species...

     Aardman's second feature project is titled "Arthur Christmas".
     It takes on that most curious of questions: How on earth does
     Father Christmas get to deliver all of those presents in just one night?
     Sarah Smith and Barry Cook will direct this one, which will apparently
     be filmed using computer animation (see Flushed Away).

       Toonhound's very own, limited edition Flanimal - a Puddloflaj

     And on we now go to today's big news announcement, which involves
     Ricky Gervais and those wibbling, wobbling Flanimals. Remember them?
     They were a book, at first, written by Gervais and illustrated by Rob
     Steen. Then they became limited edition figurines - that's The Hound's
     very own Puddloflaj, above - and we had news of a proposed tv series,
     which was going to be brought to life by the talents behind The Trapdoor.
     And now, three more books later, we're apparently getting a feature-length
     adaptation. Illumination Entertainment, who are based with Universal,
     will be bringing those outrageous creatures to life using 3D animation.
     The film's producer is Chris Meledandri who has "The Simpsons Movie"
     and "Ice Age" on his credits. So this one's not strictly Brit-news, but
     there is that Gervais/Steen connection. It could be an interesting
     adaptation, this one. There's no word if they're going for a straight
     narrative/drama, or whether they'll opt to do a mockumentary, like
     some alternative Attenborough film, which could be a hoot as well
     as being topical. After all Earth is currently raking in some tidy
     box-office dollars, Stateside...


    A perky disc   (22.04.09)

    Better get ready - let's go! - here's "The Pinky & Perky Show"...
    er.. on DVD...

    "The Pinky and Perky Show: License To Swill" out now on DVD!

    This really shouldn't work, you know. The Pinky & P
erky Show
    is a computer generated updating of a teatime puppet classic that
    has no right to be as good as it is. But it's a funny show, with lots of
    giggles to be found left, right and center and at the heart of it are
    those two piggies we know and love from the past, bickering and
    bantering and as brilliant as ever. Sure, a lot of it has changed.
    The strings are gone. The live-action has gone. But the spirit of
    the Dalibors is still right there. Gawd bless those piggies.
    They love to hate each other as they run rings around the folks at
    at PPTV. The design's spot-on too. It's retro-modern, and this viewer
    is inexplicably reminded of  those TV Comics of the 60s and
    early 70s - which is probably the idea...

    Okay, we can all scoff at the trend for remaking classic toons and
    reimagining tv characters from days gone by, and let's face it,
    The Hound has had his own tuppence to add to the debate over
    the years. But it is indisputable that a number of these upgrades
    have been very successful indeed. Bill & Ben were flobbadob-tastic.
    Basil Brush has divided folks, although this viewer thinks he's
    terrific. And Captain Scarlet had a CGI makeover that seemed to
    go down very well indeed with most Anderson fans. Now we
    can add Messrs Pinky and Perky to that list.

    Well, that's The Hound's view. But you can judge the show for
    yourself by watching their new DVD. License To Swill was
    released by ITV Worldwide on Monday (20th April) and features
    eight oinking tails... er.. tales...

                                           More: The Pinky and Perky Show


    2000AD gets animated    (09.04.09)

    Well, Tharg be darned, it looks like a whole bunch of 2000AD's finest
    strip stars are about to get the animated treatment. That's because
    Impossible Pictures have just struck a deal with the comic's owners,
    Rebellion. Now, Impossible have an animation subsidiary called Firestep,
    and it's these guys and gals who will be producing an exciting toon
    series for television, and developing a full-on cross-media assault for
    the 2000AD characters.

    According to C21Media, the proposed tv series will feature a range
    of contrasting animation styles, both 2D and CGI, to maintain the
    feel of the original strips. After all, a whole shed-load of artists have
    brought their own unique flavour to the weekly proceedings, over
    the years.

    The production deal apparently covers all of 2000AD's star strips,
    with the exception of a certain Judge, who's been ring-fenced for film
    development. But who is on the production slate exactly? 

    ABC Warriors: The Volgan War Part 1 by Pat Mills - published this July

    Well, Steve Maher, the director/producer at Firestep has teased
    C21 with the news that they're definitely developing an animated
    adaptation of the ABC Warriors. Oh, and the first footage should
    be ready to unspool at this year's Comic-Con, in San Diego this

    Talks are now underway with broadcasters, with news of any
    deals to follow in due course...

                                                        More: Firestep  2000AD

    Still Hungry    (08.04.09)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is forty years old this year. That's quite
    old, for a caterpillar, is it not? - Eric Carle's ever-popular picture book was
    first published in 1969, and his creation is still munching its way to
    nostalgic affection in the hearts of schoolchildren, up and down the

    Now, The Hound knows what you're thinking. Eric Carle is based in
    New York, he grew up in Germany, there's no British connection here.
    But there is. You see, in 1993 Iain Harvey and Illuminated Films
    produced a short animated version of Mr Carle's most popular book,
    via Animation City. It was part of a series of Carle adaptations, as it
    happens, and was Illuminated's very first series commission. And
    now, in timely fashion, the film, and its companion pieces, have been
    rereleased as a 40th Anniversary DVD from VDI, in appealing

     peephole packaging.

     The Very Hungry Caterpillar DVD from VDI

    Apparently, the author isn't too keen on the film (see this Guardian
    interview). But having now caught up with a review copy, The Hound
    wants to say that it does exactly what it says on the cover. And rather
    well, too. In other words, the titular film retells the story of The Very
    Hungry Caterpillar, as a 5min animated short. And frankly, what more 
    does the author want? Director Andrew Goff and the Illuminated/Animation
    City team have certainly captured the spirit of the original. Carle is what's
    known as a collagist, mixing media to produce those distinct, vibrant images.
    And those same textures and colours are present and correct in the film.
    It's very understated. But that's part of the appeal.

     The Mixed Up Chameleon   I See A Song

    There are four more Carle stories on VDI's DVD. This viewer wasn't so
    familiar with the tales of "Papa, Please Get Me The Moon", "The Very
    Quiet Cricket", "The Mixed Up Chameleon" and "I See A Song", but if
    anything this helped, because they came free of any preconceptional
    baggage . The colours and shapes were new to the eye. The latter tale
    has a particularly attractive abstract quality. A musician makes music,
    and as he does so, swatches of colour and pattern take shape and dance
    around, above and behind him. We see his song come to life.
    It's all quite trippy, actually...
                                               More: Illuminated Films  Eric Carle


    Two top toons    

    Two top new toons are coming to UK TV next week: Aardman Animation's
    woolly spin-off "Timmy Time" arrives on CBeebies, whilst over on Nick Jr we
    have "Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom" from the celebrated triumverate that
    is Astley Baker Davies.

     Timmy time from Aardman Animation

    Of the two, "Timmy Time" has probably had the most exposure.
    The series follows the nursery school adventures of Timmy the little sheep,
    who hails from the same farm as that fellow Shaun. The BBC have been
    previewing this little lambkin all over their various channels and web sites
    of late, which is hardly a surprise. You'll recall that Shaun the Sheep has
    picked up a barn's worth of industry awards of late and Wallace & Gromit
    cooked up some delicious ratings over Christmas. What is surprising
    is the fact that "Timmy Time" is actually Aardman's very first pre-school
    production. Yep. They've not produced a show for this kind of broadcasting
    slot before. But we shouldn't get too hung up on that kind of pigeonholing
    because, as you probably expect, there's just as much fun for adult
    viewers to enoy too. The series launches on CBeebies on Monday 6th April
    and will be showing every weekday at 9:00am, 12:30pm and 3:30pm.

     Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom from Astley Baker Davies

    Meanwhile, over on Nick Jr, Ben and Holly want to play. You might recall
    The Hound getting over-excited about this forthcoming toon, way back.
    Deep within the thorny brambles, you'll find Princess Holly and her
    best friend, Ben Elf, who reside in their very own little kingdom, and
    have to contend with all sort of not-so-little day-to-day shenanigans,
    encounters and adventures in their miniature realm. This one's got
    that distinctly brilliant Astley-Baker "look" to it, and oozes storybook
    appeal, just like Peppa Pig before it. You can catch up with the twosome
    on Nick Jr UK from Monday 6th April at 7:30am and 4:30pm
    every day...    

   Here's to The DFC  

    How sad it is to witness the demise of The DFC - in its current guise,
    at least. It appears to have been a victim of these uncertain times,
    more than anything else. But undoubtedly, it's been a huge jolt in
    the arm for the UK comics scene, and it's brought a wealth of cartoon
    talent out of the small press woodwork and into the mainsteam.
    Which is something to celebrate. Why, even The Hound has been
    inspired enough to dust down his old drawing board. And if The Hound's
    been inspired, well, you can bet a whole bunch of those DFC subscribers
    have also got themselves worked up enough to pick up a pen...

    If you think back to the giddy heydays of DC Thomson and IPC/Fleetway,
    those top weeklys stuck quite religiously to a house "style" throughout
    their strips. But The DFC has bravely presented an array of styles and
    tones to its readership. Each strip has had its own voice. That's been
    so exciting for this reader to see. And inspiring, because it encourages
    folks to think outside the box, as it were... Look at this... Look what you
    can do... The possibilities are endless...

    Who knows, maybe a whole new generation of cartoonists
    will look back upon those 43 issues of The DFC as being the  
    birth-point of their career...

    How exciting is that?
    Till next time!

        Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'

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