Rainbow bright tales and anecdotes here with frizzy-haired
Crystal and her grey
grinning dog Alistair. Crystal and Alistair
are the best of friends. Together they
hatch spectacular peacocks, throw custard pies
at one another, poke each
other with extended tickling sticks and float
high in the sky in giant bubbles.
Crystal even has her own big-propellered biplane.
In Crystal and Alistair's world
life is big, bright, splashy fun with ne'er a grown-up
in sight, and every day is
a big-hair day...
"Crystal Tipps and Alistair" was
created by Hilary Hayton and produced by Q3
of London, who also brought us Fingerbobs.
Fifty 5min episodes were made
as well as an additional 20min special called "Crystal's
in which she and Alistair escape the snows of winter
for sunnier climes,
where they encounter Santa Claus off on his
"Crystal Tipps and Alistair" is rightfully
famous for its incredible sense of design.
This Pop-Art world is very much a product of its
time, sitting alongside such
such contemporaries as Yellow
Submarine and encouraging other artists, like
Terry Gilliam to take up the creativve baton
and run with it. There's a freewheeling
combination of materials here, with backgrounds
incorporating artwork, photographs
and material swatches. Anything goes. The characters
are cut-outs and they
teeter-totter along in exaggerated poses and actions,
and the story takes us
where ever it wishes to go. It's told without
words and accompanied by an
expressive score from composer Paul Reade.
Many "trendy" theorists attempt
to apply 70's drug-enhanced suggestiveness to
the proceedings but, clearly, these films
are simply about having fun - not
only for the characters in the films, but
for the filmmakers too, who seem to
be revelling in the thrill of animation-for-animation's
sake. How very different
to today's animation world, with its over-reliance
on "brand development" and
"target audiences" and "demographics".
And how ironic that Crystal Tipps has
become such an iconic figure now, with a plethora
of T-shirts and apparel
proving so popular of late. "Crystal
Tipps and Alistair" isn't for kids, or tweens,
or adults, it's for everyone!
Hilary Hayton also created some freewheeling
adventures for young Doris and
a series of Puppydog
Tales. "Doris" is particularly special, with lots of
media design and dreamscapes to savour...
Tipps on DVD
Complete Crystal Tipps and Alistair
2 / fifty episodes / Contender / June 2004
by Hilary Hayton
designed and written by
Graham McCallum and Hilary
Double:Take have clip rights to
Crystal Tipps, Doris and
those Puppydog Tales...