Not content with taking on the Magic
Garden, Sir Ian McKellen's name now sits
at the top of a Dreamworks press
release detailing the initial voice-cast for
For those not familiar with this one, "Flushed Away"
is set to be an all-new
stop-motion film announced as part of Aardman Animation's on-going
deal with Dreamworks, back in July 2002. The story
comes from the pen of veteran
writers Dick Clement and Ian LeFrenais, and it follows
the adventures of a pampered
pet rat who accidentally gets flushed from his posh penthouse
flat into the London
sewer system. As various sewer-bound hijinks occur, our
Mr Rat finds himself
falling for the charms of sewer-life and its colourful
...And now we know a little more about those inhabitants.
is a villainous frog, whose right-hand rat - or hench-rat,
indeed - is a character called
Spike. Spike will be voiced by "Lord of
the Rings" star Andy Serkis.One final
dangling carrot comes in the form of the star character.
Word is, the flushed rat
will be voiced by old Wolverine himself, Mr Hugh Jackman.
"Flushed Away" will follow Aardman's much-anticipated
Wallace & Gromit movie
into the production pool and already, us animation
fans are salivating...
Lord of the Roundabout (17.08.04)
Some "magic" casting news today, with the announcement
that Sir Ian McKellen
is to voice Zebadee in the new bolexbrothers "Magic
Rounabout" movie. That's a
rather splendid surprise, given that Richard "Rocky
Horror" O'Brien was formerly
touted in the role, with Tom Baker as the voice of his duel self, ZeeBadee...
McKellen joins stars Robbie Williams (Dougal), Kylie Minogue
Broadbent (Brian), Joanna Lumley (Ermintrude), Bill Nighty
(Dylan) and Ray Winstone
(Soldier Sam) on the role call of fame, and the film itself
launches February 2005.
As was mentioned earlier this month, the first teaser trailer
for this much-anticipated
feature is now online for your viewing pleasure...
Wanna know a secret? - Not content with their efforts animating "Gordon
Gnome" and "Harry and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs",
Tony Collingwood and
his multitalented team have been working on an impossibly
secret new series.
"The Secret Show" and, true to its title,
it's been worked up into a pilot episode, below the
radar of animation scanners thus far. How sneaky
is that? - Well, The Hound met with Tony at a
suitably secret location, whereupon he revealed
some exclusive info on the show:
"After making Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto! we began
work, in secret, on The Secret Show, using the
same Celaction technology, but this time creating
a spy show for the older age group....
The Secret Show is the most sophisticated series
on Celaction. We're
right in the middle
of making an entire 13 minute pilot episode, ready
for the Cartoon Forum in Spain..."
Tony tells us the show is a cross between "The
Man From Uncle" and "Monty
Python", and stars secret agents Victor Volt and Anita
Knight, and that the pilot
episode has a guest villain voiced by Stephen Fry,
called Lucky Leo. He also tells
us that he's working with the same team who made Yoko!
and that, apparently, they
have a theme tune and title sequence that
will rival Yoko!'s for its compulsive
infectiousness (Good grief, one wonders if that's possible...)
Well, yours truly has tried to make Tony talk
further, but like a true Secret Agent,
he's being teasingly tightlipped about further
"I can tell you no more about the premise
right now, other than
it is a very fast, high action, funny series
about secret agents
saving the world, or large chunks thereof. The
kind of show that
rarely comes out of this country...
The series has a surreal edge to it. For example,
the villain in the
pilot episode, "Lucky Leo", is a man actually
born with the "lucky
gene" and has therefore managed to evade capture
his entire life
through sheer luck. Until now...
Stephen Fry was fantastic in the role - and already
are getting depressed that they'll have finished
animating it in
three weeks. Everyone's having so much fun on
And with those words, Agent C melted in
to the shadows once more. Though
not before slipping me an intriguing envelope.
Therein were four fabulous photos of
the stars in action. But you'd best view them quick, lest they
Here's some news to set your tail - um - tongue
wagging. That lovable muttering
muse, Fred Bassett is set to return to our tv
screens in 2005.
Fred was created by Alex Graham, way back in 1963,
and the hound became a
household name through his strips in "The Daily
Mail". Indeed, he still features there
today. And what's more, syndication has brought
Fred and his pals Jock and FiFi
into millions of homes around the globe. In the
1970's Bill Melendez brought Fred
to life in an animated series that's still fondly-recalled.
And now Fred's coming back. Or at least, he's
well on the way to coming back.
Alex Graham's daughter Arran is acting as consultant to
the proposed new series,
being put together by producer and distributor
VGI Entertainment. Pre-production on
the pilot is already on the way, with plans for
it to be screened down at Mipcom Jnr,
the tv sales market in France, this coming October.
All going well, the production
team hope to them embark on some 52 animated episodes.
By the way, there's been no word as yet on the
casting for Fred 's voice, so The
Hound will throw his hat in the ring and suggest
that Richard Wilson might do
rather well with the character. It'll be interesting
to see who they've actually
Remember "Charlie & Lola"? This
animated pilot was presented to the world
at last year's
Cartoon Forum by the team at Tiger Aspect. It's based on
the popular picture books by Lauren Child and
focuses on the day-to-day
exploits of Charlie and his perculiar sister. Lauren's
books stand out from the
shelf with their unique scrapbook design, mixing fabric
patterns, textures and
pictures to great effect, and the Tiger Aspect
team stuck faithfully to Lauren's
designs with their adaptation. By all acounts, the
pilot proved very popular
with those who saw it last year...
Well, now C21media
and others report that the BBC have given the greenlight
to a fully-fledged "Charlie & Lola" series
and 26 x 11mins episodes will initially be
produced by Tiger's head of animation/kids Claudia
Lloyd, with directorial chores
taken on by Kitty Taylor. The commission is another
fine feather in the cap of this
blossoming production outfit, who have previously brought
us Mr Bean and those
Look for "Charlie & Lola" appearing
on CBeebies some time next year!
Have you dropped by Skwigly
yet? This UK animation news site is shaping up
very well indeed. This week they've scooped some handsome
pics of upcoming
movie toons from Dreamworks and Disney, being promoted
In particular, though, webmaster David Smith is cultivating
a rather useful
animation forum where industry bods can communicate
their views and opinions
on the state of play here in the UK. It's still
a young forum, and could do with
some new threads from those in the know. So why
not drop by and partake
in some animated discussion...?
Well, it looks like those "Thunderbirds"
certainly weren't go at the international
box office this week, with the film nose-diving rather
spectacularly in American
cinemas. Launched on 2057 screens, the $57m production
took just $2,776,810
and landed outside of the top ten, at number eleven.
Ouch. Build in an additional
$20m print and advertising spend and you've got
one heck of a shortfall to
Here in Blighty, too, the film is clinging on
to the charts after a so-so opening
at #3 in the chart, behind "Spiderman 2"
and "Shrek 2". It's currently taken around
$5.4m, but a 44% second week decline isn't particularly
Meanwhile, regardless of the box office receipts,
the publicity bandwagon has rolled
on unabated. Pop brats Busted
have taken their theme song to #1 in the singles
charts, and them there cross-promotions still
fill our tv screens day and night. The
best is surely this fantastic Sugar Puffs ad starring
our big yellow friend Honey
Monster. In the ad, Honey's cereal bowl parts, just
like the Tracey Island swimming
pool, and Thunderbird 1 zooms skyward - fantastic!
Of course, if the Powers That Be get their way,
Honey Monster, Tony the Tiger,
Snap Crackle & Pop and so many other classic advertising stars
will all be removed
from our screens quite soon. An act which seems
to make little sense. After all,
generations of Brits have grown up with these
characters without any problems.
Perhaps we ought to be more concerned with the
parents who seem to
succumb too easily to their kids' Pester Power...
Hmm. And on that controversial note I think I'll
return to subject
matter I know more about!
Time for a trailer (03.08.04)
Spring on over to
this here site and you'll find the first teaser trailer for Dave
Borthwick's "Magic Roundabout" movie, now
online for your viewing pleasure.
But is it just me, or have the distributors missed
a trick? Here's a beautiful-looking
film with a classic pedigree behind its past
and present, only it's being presented
as some sort of crass kiddie adventure film. The
Magic Roundabout is surely
more subtle than this? Granted, it's going to be a
hard sell. The movie has to be
sold to a worldwide audience, unaware of the original.
But still, one hoped for
more - what am I looking for? - oh yes - sophistication...
Oh well. If it helps gets bums on seats next year,
who cares? This here animation
buff has absoloute faith in the bolexbrothers. "The
Magic Roundabout" is going to
be a fascinating ride...
I tempted fate, I really did. You may recall,
The Hound went positively giddy
news of "Cloppa Castle"s soon-to-be DVD release.
July 19th was the date posted
across the web and orders were duly placed.
But July 19th came and went with ne'er a sight
of Ethelbruda, Que-ee-dee and friends.
Then Amazon and Play.com told us it was July 26th.
Then August 2nd, and each time
these dates came and went without any sign of a shiny
round release. Currently
August 9th has been posted as the new launch date for
series one of the show.
But frankly, this is beginning to smell as rotten
as one of Jest-a-minit's jokes.
This one looks like running a while yet...
I say, I say. Jest-a-minit. This one actually
ran to Monday 9th, when "Cloppa Castle"
finally appeared in stores. Now we can all
sit back and wallow in 26 episodes of
Phew-ee! - Looks like the first
major site update went okay after all (see
last month's editorial).
The Hound managed to update every single TvToons page over
the last weekend with ne'er a glitch. As I said
previously, the new design tweaks
are small, mainly because folks seem to like things
the way they are. But the
little nips and tucks have speeded up load times
by a second-or-two, which
is always happy news for those still using dial-up
The most notable change has come to the front
page of this site. That home
page has always proven to be a handful. One has
to think of image sizes, load
times, search engine positioning, image copyright
and more, so coming up
with an acceptable compromise is a true blue headache.
The main casualty of
the latest re-design has been the selection of
cartoon images which used to
grace the top of the page. These looked pretty,
but they bloated the load time
and some browsers had problems negotiating the
hyperlinks that were built in
to the pictures. So that's it, they've been extracted,
removed, erased, in the
name of progress. Instead, the front page can do what
it does best: promote
the latest site updates and headlines and identify
the various indexes for
So what's next? - Well, like I also said last
month, the Movietoons section
gets a whupping over the next week or so, and
alongside that you should see
far more regular updates and comments here on
these news pages. The Hound
is hungry for news, so if you're a cartoon exec
with some top british news,
my ears are always open!
Stay tooned too for at least two all-new Toonhound
Q&As, coming online
very soon. The first is with the rather
BIG creators of Channel 5 hit "Peppa Pig".
Plus, The Hound has had a natter with yet
another former Fleetway star.