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           April - 2001

Better late than never, eh?

Got any gossip?

Tell it to
The Hound!

  Humbug To Summer...
News on the new Christmas Carol film...
From Hell To Hamsters 
Stay tooned for
Bounty Hamster!
  Desperate Dundee...
Dan & Minnie are coming to play....
Benn And Gone
as if by magic, a movie
  Num's The Word...
Beezer strip heads for TV...
Sites For Sore Eyes
and to finish, a
nostalgia sites update



'Humbug!' indeed. You see, July will mark the completion
   of  a brand new $15m animated feature adaptation of Charles
   Dickens' Yuletide classic, 'A Christmas Carol'. You may recall
   I mentioned it last year, when production started...


   'Christmas Carol: The Movie' comes to you courtesy of director
   Jimmy Murakami ('When The Wind Blows') and producer Iain
   Harvey. Voice artistes include Kate Winslet (Belle), Michael
   Gambon (Christmas Present), Jane Horrocks (Christmas Past),
   Rhys Ifans (Cratchit) and - would you believe it? - Nicolas 'Put
   down the bunny' Cage as Marley's Ghost!

   Top billing, however, goes to colourful thespian Simon Callow who
   provides the voice for Scrooge and, in a twist on ye olde familiar
   tale, features in a live-action wraparound story as the author himself -
   Charles D. - recounting the story to an audience at the Boston
   Theatre. Apparently he also 'invents' two new mice characters who
   'weave in and out of the action, ensuring appeal to all age groups'
   ( Hmm. Shades of 'Muppet Christmas Carol' there, methinks...)

   Anyway, dodgy mice aside, it's that rarer-than-rare things, a British
   animated feature, and one to add to my expanding Movie Toon Guide
   in time. The press notes promise us an interesting blend of digital
   paintshop effects and traditional 2D animation. Oh, and keep an ear
   open for the musical score. It's by Julian Knott, who provided the
   'cracking' soundtrack to 'Wallace And Gromit'...

   UIP release 'Christmas Carol: The Movie' on the 30th Nov.

   There's plenty more at the official site:
   And you should try Winchester Films too:


   As if by magic, the proposed feature film version of Mr Benn
   appears to have floundered - or should I say, has been floundering
   for 4 protracted years. Anyway, the news is that the project has
   been put on ice for the forseeable future...

   The Mr Benn movie was supoosed to have starred John Hannah
   as our bowler-hatted chum, with Ben Kingsley as The Shopkeeper
   and Jane Horrocks in there somewhere. According to The Guardian,
   producer Jevon O'Neill has failed to get the $6m he needs to get the
   film beyond the development stage - unless, of course, this little press
   release wins some 'surprise' backing...

   Anyways, I'm not altogether surprised at the news. As soon as you
   start adding 'back-story' and 'love interest' and 'story beats' to such
   a whimsical premise you destroy the very essence which made the
   original a success in the first place. And if you don't change the
   formula, then frankly, you don't have a film. Oh, and then there's
   the american market to consider. They've never even heard of
   the show...

   Talk about a rock and a hard place. Still, it'll get a greenlight and
   become a worldwide smash and I'll just have to eat my own
   words, won't I...?



   Well, alright, Dundee isn't 'desperate'. But it is the hometown
   for DC Thomson, world famous publishers of 'The Beano'
   and 'Dandy' and now the Dundee Partnership has coughed
   up £45,000 to fund these here 8ft high bronze statues of two
   its biggest stars - Desperate Dan and Minnie The Minx.

   They'll be erected in Dundee City Centre later this year, with
   Minnie aiming her catapult at the long-striding Pie Man...

   And speaking of DC Thomson:



   Following in the hot footsteps of Dennis & Gnasher, perennial
   Beezer comic faves The Numskulls are to star in their own T V

   The $4.5m series alters the established format just an inch or
   two for modern viewing, and now stars a 10-year-old schoolboy
   called Ed and the Numskulls who live in Ed's head. Says the
   press blurb: 'Often at odds, Ed tries to do one thing and the
   Numskulls another, rendering him quite. . . awkward.'

   Numskulls is being animated by Hibbert Ralph and distributor
   HIT Entertainment is currently selling the first season package
   of 26 x 15minute shows which should be ready for broadcast
   sometime in 2002... 


   That there is a close-up of the first publicity pic I've found
   promoting 'Bounty Hamster' - the newest creation from Dave
   Freedman and Alan Gilbey, otherwise known as Peafur Productions,
   whose most recent offering 'It's The Mr Hell Show' is due to
   descend upon the BBC any moment soon..

   'Bounty Hamster' is actually a co-production between Peafur and
   Silver-Fox Films, and Winchester TV are out there as you read this,
   preselling 'Bounty's first series of 26 x 11 minute shows. Dave and
   Alan promise us 'True Grit in space' and I reckon our eye-patched
   hero there looks suitably grizzled, don't you? - Here's the full pic
   from whence it came, with the furry one presiding over what appears
   to be a brigade of Ribena Berries...


   'Bounty Hamster' is primarily a kids show, for an afternoon slot, but
   if it turns out anything like Peafur's other work there should be plenty
   to keep us older kids equally entertained. But we'll have to be
   patient, 'cos this one is another show which isn't due on our screens
   until next year...

   Peafur's Alan Gilbey talked about 'Bounty Hamster' in my Q&A
   with him, back in January. It's still viewable here...

   Oh, and there's always Peafur's fab new website:



    Some good news this month. I Remember That, the British tv
    theme tune and video file library has been 'saved from the brink',
    so to speak. They had threatened closure due to excess running
    costs, but that's all been sorted now. Hurrah, and all that...

    Sausagenet , the grandaddy of nostalgia sites, is still undergoing
    a major revamp. Some aspects of the 'new look' are sneaking in,
    like those there DVD/video reviews, with a promise of much
    more to follow - Looking forward to it...     
    Meanwhile, 80snostalgia has just shaken out the bedcovers
    and given themselves a fresh Spring look. The 'classic tv' section
    now features a handy a-thru-z index of titles for speedier
    navigation - most useful...

    Finally for now, a plug for yours truly. That there Movie Toon
    Guide of mine is proving so popular I'm planning a sequel. That's
    right, Toonhound's Mini Movie Toon Guide will be launching soon,
    providing online info on a wealth of British animated half-hour films
    and shorts. Plus, there'll be more of those 'expanded' toon indexes
    coming your way, in the style of my Truckers pages - exciting, eh?

    Well, even better than that, there'll be all sorts of celebrations from
    yours truly when I index the 100th strip at Fleetway St. later this
    month - 100 strips! - That means I'm, oh, maybe a fifth of the way
    through the indexing now. Shheeesh....
     - Till next time!


- F2001