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"Curse of the Were-Rabbit" now indexed at Cracking Collectibles!


                                                               February 2006     
Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!
New Year, new look
Toonhound gets a redesign, ToonsToGo goes... More »

 Adventures in Exeter
 Animated Exeter is here...

 Secret success
 The Secret Show's a hit...

 Nominations for ewe
 BAA nominees...

 First flush
 A sneak peek at Flushed Away...

 Please look after
these discs 
FilmFair on DVD + yours to win!...

    10 carat Rabbit
    Were-Rabbit's Annie triumph...

    Dougal = Doogal
    The Roundabout turns again...

Those Oscar™ noms

    Rabbits and Badgers and Corpses...

      news archive »     interviews »      giveaways »

   Adventures in Exeter  (19.02.06)

    A whole host of animated individuals are currently swanning around Devon
    at this year's Animated Exeter. And amongst them is the Hound's pal, writer
    comedian, and all-round nice guy Alan Gilbey. Alan is running two animation
    writing workouts this year ( Feb 20 and 21 ) and tonight, he's presenting a
    brand new Toon Trivia Quiz in the bar of the Exeter Picture House, which is
    being duly sponsored by Toonhound. So if you're in the area, you can drop
    by to win a rather tasty selection of cartoon goodies, donated by Yours Truly.

    Of course, many folks won't be able to attend, but never fear because Alan's
    also running a little Giveaway on his web site. The question's not quite as
    simple as it sounds, though, so you might want to check by Toonhound's
    Trumpton page before answering!

    Alan is much in demand for his writing skills, and he's working on several
    exciting series which the Hound is desperate to shout about. But alas, it's all
    as secret as "The Secret Show" right now (Grr!). Still, his web site is an
    excellent little resource for animation writers everywhere.

    Meanwhile, theeres the main event in Exeter (13th - 25th Feb). This year's
    schedule includes a variety of useful workshops, a screening Yuri Norstein’s
    Russian classic "Tale of Tales", an excellent exhibition entitled "Illustration to
", a talk by artist/illustrator Alan Lee, and a fantastic screening of
    "The Snowman" accompanied by the Devon Youth Orchestra and Exeter
    Cathedral Choir which is guaranteed to leave fans walking on air...

  Animated Exeter   Alan Gilbey


   Secret success 

Tony Collingwood dropped us a line today. He wanted to pass on the latest
    good news regarding "The Secret Show". Victor Volt and Anita Knight are
    on a mission to take CBBC by storm when their 52 x 12min series
    launches this Autumn. And they're all set for international success too,
    because BBC Worldwide have now licensed 26 episodes to Nicktoons
    in the USA. The series will air over there some time in January 2007.
    And to celebrate the sale, Tony's sneaked a couple more top secret
    images out to the Hound...

     Ssh! - Secret pictures this way!

    The Hound has passed on secret news about this show a couple
    of times already, but in case you've been out of the loop, "The Secret
    Show" sets up a series of impossibly-difficult missions for Britain's
    very best, and very secret, secret agents. Each episode is stuffed with
    gadgets, gags and goofiness, in the best tradition of James Bond,
    Austen Powers and any number of ITC serials. And with Tom Cruise
    set to storm cinemas again this Summer with M:I3, it looks like
    Victor and Anita will be arriving with pinpoint timing. You could
    say, the spy's the limit...

 More:  Those Secret images   Collingwood O'Hare


   Nominations for ewe  (14.02.06)

    Phew-ee! - Awards Season continues unabated this week with the
    announcement of the 2006 BAA nominees. The British Animation Awards
    celebrate all things Great and British about the industry. Now this celebration
    is most distinctly British in that a) it encompasses animated creations in all
    their forms, including features, short films, animated graphics for film and
    television, television series and specials, music videos and commercials
    and b) folks don't just pick up shiny trophies. Instead, they collect fantastic
    pieces of shiny framed artwork created by their industry contemporaries.
    And this being the BAAs, that artwork usually incorporates sheep. It's a 
    fabulous notion, and every time the event comes around there's great 
    pleasure to be had in viewing the new art, and seeing who was
    responsible for each piece...

    But enough of this preamble. Here are some key categories for you:

    Best Animated Feature Film

    Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit
    The Corpse Bride
    Belleville Rendez Vous

    Best Children's Series

    King Arthur's Disasters: Circus Calamity
    Pingu’s Sledge Academy
    Those Scurvy Rascals: Pants Odyssey

     Best TV special

     The Little Reindeer
     Frank and Buster's Christmas in the Outback
     Angry Kid: Who do you think you are?

     Best Children's Pre-school Series

     Charlie and Lola: I Want To Play Music Too
     Meg and Mog: Meg’s Fancy Dress Director
     Peppa Pig: Mummy Pig at Work

     Best Comedy

     Bromwell High: Baby Boom
     Creature Comforts: Monarchy Business
     The Christies: Natural Disaster

     Writers Award

     Guy 101 - Ian Gouldstone
     Frank and Buster's Christmas in the Outback - Dave Ingham
     Peppa Pig: Mummy at Work - Neville Astley & Mark Baker

     Best Short Film

     Rabbit - directed by Run Wrake
     Film Noir - directed by Osbert Parker
     Careful - directed by Damian Gascoigne

     That latter category of "Short Film" is included in the BAA Public Choice
     Awards. Special screenings of mixed programmes can currently be seen
     in independent cinemas around the country until the end of the month.
     And folks can see and vote for Best Music Video, Best Commercial and
     and that Short Film trio. You'll find all the info on these screenings, and
     a complete list of nominees on the BAA web site.

     Now there are probably a few of few looking down that list and wondering
     how on earth "Belleville Rendez Vous" has snuck into the Feature category.
     But you should note that these awards are only given out biannually, which
     means they often encompass productions overlooked elsewhere, and pitch
     strange combinations together. It's all part of that quirky "Britishness".

     As for the awards night itself, that takes place Thursday 9th March at
     the Shaw Theatre, in London.

     And meanwhile, there will be a two-week exhibition of this year’s BAA
     art at the Animation Art Gallery on Great Castle Street in London W1
     from 23rd February...

British Animation Awards (BAA)  


   First flush 

    DreamWorks have posted the first sneak peek at "Flushed Away" on the
    official site. Most folks probably know that this is set to be Aardman's third
    feature-length outing as part of their ongoing deal with the Hollywood studio.
    It's also Aardman's first foray into CGI feature territory.

    "Flushed Away" is being directed in the USA by Sam Fell and David Bowers,
    from a script by Dick Clement and Ian LeFrenais. The story follows the adventures
    of Roddy, a pampered pet rat who accidentally gets flushed from his posh
    penthouse flat into the London sewer system. The Big Name voices on the
    project include Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis.

    So how's it shaping up? - Well it's Aardman still, but not quite as we've 
    known it. Roddy and friends sport those famous Aardman overbites, googling
    eyes and waving hands. Only here in CGI form, we've lost that handmade feel.
    There are no fingerprints, anyway. The backgrounds too, have lost the "arts
    and crafts" feel of those stop-motion sets, crammed with hand-made miniatures.
    It means that specific Aardman uniqueness has gone, and Roddy, Rita and
    company are now competing alongside the bar-raising efforts of Pixar
    and company. It'll take some getting used to!

    And it also might take a while to accept that hollywood voiceover on the
    preview, proudly announcing this next DeamWorks production, with ne'er
    an Aardman reference in sight. There's even a big fat DreamWorks tag on
    the film's logo!

    But right now, fingerprints and logos aside, all the other Aardman boxes
    seem to have been ticked apprproately. That "work in progress" has plenty
    of wild chases, flailing hands, deadpan deliveries and some distinctly
    British quips to quote.

    The flushing commences in November.

    Meanwhile, we Brits have been getting a taster of Aardman's first CGI
    television series. "Planet Sketch" is currently airing on CiTV, and as reported
    here last March the show features a series of quickfire sketches and gags
    for kids. It's interesting to note that this particular show has deliberately
    avoided that defined Aardman "look" with its depiction of school kids and
    crazy animals. Look out for it daily this week, on Citv at 3.40pm.

Flushed Away


   Please look after these discs  (06.02.06)

    FilmFair fans will be rejoicing this morning, as Abbey Home Media are
    releasing the first of a long line of Tempo TV Classics DVDs here in the UK!

    First up is Paddington Bear in Paddington: Please Look After This Bear,
    which features 12 episodes of the original, award-winning series. And you
    know, even three decades on, it's lost absoloutely none of its charm. That
    old bear has a beautifully dry repartee with Mr Curry and friends, and
    Sir Michael Hordern still sounds like your very favourite Grandfather,
    recounting a yarn...

    Over the coming weeks we'll be raiding our piggy banks to pay for a host
    of teatime tv treats. Here's the rest of the current line-up:

    27th February
    The Adventures of Parsley: Cowboys and Indians
    The Herbs: Parsley’s Tail
    The Perishers: Magic Mirror

    6th March
The Dreamstone
    The Wombles: Orinoco and the Big Black Umbrella

    13th March
    The Gingerbread Man: The Arrival  
    Moschops: The First Flower

     20th March
     Hattytown Tales: Mr Wimpole’s Breakfast Rolls
     Huxley Pig: The Circus
     The Adventures of Portland Bill: Changeable Weather
     27th March
Nellie the Elephant: Nellie and the Ghost

     Mouthwatering stuff, eh? - "Dreamstone" fans will be celebrating, for sure.
     And many folks have been waiting for "Portland Bill" to appear.

     Some of these series have escaped before, of course, in various forms,
     but - oh my - it's grand to see them all coming together at last, under one label.
     The latter release of "Nellie the Elephant" also reminds us that Abbey Home
     Media own the rights to other series, outside of the FilmFair realm. Which
     means we can look forward to a few more gems here, for sure.

     Abbey Home Media's  Herbidacious Giveaway!

     So what's your favourite? - It's so very hard to choose. But Abbey Home
     Media has made it all just a little bit easier for us, because they're giving
     away 3 complete sets of these DVDs - gratis - via Toonhound.

     You can find out more about this Herbidacious Giveaway here!


   10 carat Rabbit 

     Last night the 33rd Annual Annie Awards ceremony was held in Glendale, CA.
     and with 16 nominations already under its belt, it was a safe bet that "Curse of
     the Were-Rabbit" might be the big winner.

     But hoo-boy did it win big. Wallace and Gromit walked off with 10 glorious
     awards, winning Best Animated Feature, Animated Effects, Character Animation,
     Character Design (Feature), Direction (Feature), Music (Feature), Production
     Design (Feature), Storyboarding (Feature), Voice Acting (Feature), and
     Writing (Feature).

     What a fabulous reward for a fabulous movie. The awards and recognition
     have been simply flooding in recently. At last week's Evening Standard
     Film Awards Nick Park was honoured for his contribution to UK film.
     And there's a rather nice BAFTA Nomination still on the table, for
     Best British Film.

     But topping everything is that shimmering Academy Award Nomination.
     And this 10 carat Rabbit looks odd-on right now.

     Meanwhile, let's put our hands together one more time, to celebrate
     another British Annie win. This time, it was the secial Ub Iwerks award
     for - quote - "a technical advancement that has made a significant impact
     on the art or industry of animation". This year's recipients were the
     fabulous pairing of Mackinnon and Saunders. They're the hugely-skilled
     folks who make so very many stop-motion puppets and models for film
     and television, like those used in Bob the Builder and The Koala Brothers.
     They picked up their award for their groundreaking work on "Corpse Bride",
     for which they constructed some extraordinarily beautiful puppets, with
     some equally extraordinary mechanisms built in to the heads and bodies.
     These guys just keep raising the bar of brilliance...
                                                                       More: Annie Winners


   Dougal = Doogal  (03.02.06)

    What? What? What? - Man the lifeboats! - Dougal's had a name change.
    That tightly sprung movie of The Magic Roundabout is winding up for
    its belated American launch this month. But as the poster campaign
    reveals, there have been some significant changes made mid-Atlantic:


    That's right. "The Magic Roundabout" is no more. It's not even "Sprung:
    The Magic Roundabout", as was mooted during the film's initial UK launch.
    Instead we have to contend with this twisted, Americanized misspelling
    of a movie title, courtesy of the Weinstein Co.

    There have been a whole garden's worth of voice changes too. Chevy Chase, 
    Jimmy Fallon, Whoopi Goldberg, William H Macy, Kevin Smith and Jon Stewart
    have somehow muscled their way on to the microphone, ahead of Robbie,
    Kylie, Jim Broadbent, Joanna Lumley et al. Ian McKellen's still there, though.
    And Judi Dench has wandered in too.

    How apt that a French series, which was re-cut and shaped by us Brits,
    should now be recut and reshaped by those pesky Americans. Why, the
    Roundabout's turned full circle - what? what?
    "Doogal/Dougal/The Magic Roundabout" opens on February 24th.

Official site


   Those Oscar
noms  (02.02.06)

     What can you add to the reams already written regarding the recent
     Academy Award nominations?

     On Tuseday it was announced that "Curse of the Were-Rabbit" will be vying
     against "Howl's Moving Castle" and "The Corpse Bride" for the Animated Film
     award, and being unashamedly Brit-centric, The Hound has his money on
     the rabbit snatching the prize. Nick Park and friends have produced a gem of
     a movie that delights and excites at every turn. And that's what most of the
     UK press and media have seized upon too. But you know, what seems to
     have been overlooked here is the fact that "The Corpse Bride" is almost as
     British as "Were-Rabbit". Tim Burton's spooky tale was filmed in London,
     at Three Mills Studio, using predominantly British talent, and the folks who
     were employed there must surely be just as chuffed as the Aardman team
     down in Bristol. But they must also be just a wee bit miffed at the lack of
     media attention in their home country - and yes, that include this site,
     which has barely given the film a mention, thus far. So let's remember to
     cheer both films on come Oscar™ night...

     And let's also applaud Sharon Colman. She's a new name on the animation
     circuit, but her short film "Badgered" is a beauty, and it's been nominated for
     Best Animated Short. Sharon's another NFTS graduate, like Nick Park,
     Mark Baker, Alison Snowden, David Fine and Tony Collingwood before her,
     and she's surely destined for great things. "Badgered" follows the exploits of a
     badger in a most unfortunate position. All he wants is a forty-winks, but
     all he's getting is a missile silo, slap-bang in the heart of his hill. There are
     two clips to view online, one at the NFTS and the other at Tandem Films.
     It's a simple funny film, with some delicious moments, and the Academy
     often have a soft spot for this kind of thing. But that badger is up against
     stiff opposition in the form of Pixar, Shane Acker, John Canemaker and
     the mysterious Jasper Morello. Even so, Sharon's a winner, regardless
     of the outcome...

     Roll on the awards night!


   New Year, new look  

     Okay, so if you're a Toonhound regular, you'll no doubt be wondering
     where all the updates have gone. Christmas has come and gone, but
     things have remained pretty stagnant round these parts. So what's been
     going on?

     Well, how about a site-wide redesign? That's right, Yours Truly has been
     stupidly busy behind the scenes, redesigning the main indexes for a
     New Year Springclean. It had to happen sooner or later. Toonhound is
     getting bloated with old links and dollops of HTML which serve no
     purpose, other than to slow the loading times of all those site pages.
     So now there's a leaner, slimmer design on the way. It's still HTML.
     I've no time for, or knowledge of, CSS and its ilk. But it's going to be
     trim and fit for 2006 and beyond.

     So what's in it for the average visitor? Well, beyond those speedier
     pages, not too much. Just clearer presentation. But more importantly,
     MORE presentation because there's a sidebar to this news story
     and that's the fact that ToonsToGo is, alas, soon to be no more.
     ToonsToGo was great fun, and popular too. We had a blast selling those
     Talking Basil Brush Toys, and Koala Brothers Beanies, but the hassles of
     running your own web store are all encompassing. We had a nightmarish
     time sourcing stock, maintaining stock levels, and negotiating with a
     licensing and manufacturing industry which, frankly, doesn't have a clue
     about the collector's market. The lack of awareness is shocking. Lines
     are released and dropped on a whim, with little information ever passed
     on to sellers. Most of the sales staff have no knowledge of the lines
     they've just licensed, who to target, or how to sell 'em. That's why you
     get 100 heroes in different forms, with ne'er a villain in sight. Product
     launches never seem to correspond to broadcasts, in any shape or form.
     And time and again, folks steer lines towards the preschool market,
     when they should be aiming squarely for folks in the nostalgia bracket.
     Oh, if only The Hound ran a licensing firm...

     And don't get me started on the bureaucracy of it all. We've been
     squeezed by Red Tape, by the banks, et al. Though we've kept ourselves
     in credit throughout our time, the Suits remain determined to bring us down.
     Really, for the effort involved, the profits just ain't worth it. Unless you're
     already a millionaire, with the clout to fight your way through the mire....

     So that, my friends, is that. There'll be no more ToonsToGo. But the
     upside is that now there'll be far more time to devote to these pages.
     Which means lots more news and information for you. And our foreign
     friends will hopefully be pleased to see new links being added sitewide,
     to Amazon's Region 1 DVDs. It's something many, many folks have
     asked for, and it makes complete sense, given this site's mission to
     "spread the word" around the globe, and the popularity of those
     existing sales links .

     But all good things take time. Methinks it will take a fair few weeks
     to bring all site areas into line, given that each page is updated by
     hand (yes, I know it's foolish and unnecessary in today's templated
     world) . Stay tooned for the all-new Movietoons index first. And do
     please let us know what you think of the new look. There's still time
     to tweak stuff if it ain't working for you...
     Till next time!    

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

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