the dubious pleasures of London's ToyFair. This annual event
showcases all the latest toys and games for
traders and - wouldn't you know - The Hound
here now qualifies
as a fully-fleshed head-to-toe trader, courtesy of ToonsToGo.
I can't honestly say the visit was enjoyable.
But not much fun - as you'll hear later...
Still ToyFair's all about new products, and
pictured here are some
of the mighty-fine Brit-toon items coming your way
over the next few
months. And you heard it here first, the 'hot' new
toons to be
revamped appear to be DangerMouse, Mr Benn and
Stingray. Plus we're due a whole lot more of Bagpuss,
more Thunderbirds, more Captain Scarlet, more Itsy
& Bitsy and
even more Rainbow...
Here's what we saw:
Golden Bear have had huge success with their
ranges of late. At ToyFair they were promoting
Bagpuss range, now including a beautiful, large soft
on a purple cushion and brand new singing Organ Mice
Their Rainbow range was also shining brightly,
lined up brand new Itsy & Bitsy spider toys
- including the
twosome on pull-strings, so that they 'garble'
and 'chatter' as
they climb their webs..
Better still was GB's fab selection of DangerMouse
keychains, and - wonderful - talking soft toys. Penfold,
was an instant star. In addition, we found a fantastic
Mr Benn beanies, including bowler-hatted Benn,
plus Mr Benn as a Wizard and an Astronaut -
Although not British, it must be said that Golden
star attractions were based on Hanna-Barbera
Kong Phooey and The Banana Splits have all been
all-plushed, all-talking treatment too. Start
raiding your piggy-
A relative new-name on the toy scene are Impact
the folks behind the venture are old-hands at
the biz. You
may already have spotted their big fantastic
SPV vehicle fom Cap'n Scarlet. Well now they're
a big radio-controlled Thunderbird 2, Lady
Penelope's FAB 1,
a small Thunderbird 4, and a nippy little Scarlet
SCC - very
nice! - The bigger vehicles feature sounds and
Elsewhere, Vivid Imaginations are continuing
to expand their
mega-succesful Anderson ranges. What caught
our eye, though,
was their first FAB Stingray vehicle. Is there
more to come? -
We think so...
Now a name you may not know is that of the Stamp-Centre.
This blossoming company has mined a niche producing
from SmallFilms and Anderson shows, including
paperweights, coasters, and First-Day Covers.
They took great
pleasure in revealing a new range of Stingray
including a very handsome paperweight - and
better yet, brand
new pewter bottle-stoppers for The Clangers,
Thunderbirds. These were real 'little gems'
and we'll definitely
be stocking them over on ToonsToGo...
Oh there was more, of course, lots more around
the fair. But
to be honest, very little caught our eye as
innovative or original. We were also mightily
surprised to find
no new toons being promoted, like 'Don't Eat
'Engie Benjy', 'Rubbadubbers' and the rest -
I guess it was just
a tad too early for these...
Toy Fair was a tad repressed, actually - everywhere
there were 'suits'. Certainly, it was a trade-only
event, but no one
seemed to operating on our level - a small eager
business, striking out
into the Big Bad Business World. It was all
'units' and 'forecasts'.
There was also precious-little real promotion
on offer. Tie-in
trailers and clips were presented almost shame-facedly,
tiny monitors and no one seemed to hold any
or knowledge of a licence. All they could do
was spout off the
year of release and how 'popular' it was or
still is. The worst culprits
were the vendors offering 'Ice Age', 'Spirit'
and 'Jimmy Neutron'
goodies. Salesfolk barely even knew the release
dates, let alone
the actual content of the films, and indeed,
the main 'Spirit'
toystand didn't even bear one mention of the
from which the toys were spawned - not good,
If ToyFair left us glum, however, the trip home
The Wife and I operate out of Elgin, way-y-y
north of London,
in Morayshire, Scotland. You may recall, that
last Monday was
a ferocious day of high winds and falling trees
across the uk.
Our trip back took nigh-on 17hrs, including
a 3hr delay outside
Edinbrurgh Waverely Station and 5hrs squashed
in a People-
Carrier up to Inverness - an honest-to-goodness
pain in the
behind, I can tell you!....
Tch! - The traumas we go through to keep people
Well that's just smashing, isn't it? - Nick
Park and Aardman
have at last revealed the title for the
Wallace & Gromit movie. It's to be
called 'The Great
Er, and that's about it. No plot synopsis has
no new characters, no nuthin'. But what
the heck, at last we
have a title and confirmation that this
is actually on the table, waiting to be
made in the future,
after 'Tortoise And The Hare' is wrapped
But, but, but - don't go all miserable
on us yet - there is some
more immediate Wallace & Gromit news
to excite. Mr
also just finished producing a series
of 12 one-minute W&G movies
for the internet - Horrah, and suchlike!
It's the first film outing for the pair
in - oh - six years, and
you'll be able to start downloading these
in the Autumn. Apparently,
the mini-films focus on long-suffering
Gromit, demonstrating his master's inventions.
stemmed from a photo commission given to Park
by a U.S.
magazine. He was asked to come up with some
in Wallace's Workshop, looking at the glorious
up by Mr W. Items revealed in the films include
cricket ball bowling gun and a toaster-cum-TV...
Superb idea, eh? - Re-heating the franchise
prior to the
feature film - I'll be there first day,
ready to download, I'm tellin'
you. Stay tooned to the likes of the official
Aardman site for news
of when and where they go live. Of course,
Aardman has been
something of a pioneer for Internet animation
in recent years.
Witness the on-going success of
grief, Penfold, The Hound's all-hearing ears have picked
up signals from Cosgrove Hall Digital regarding the
Apparently the team are actively prepping
and planning for a retrurn of the Greatest Secret
Agent In The
World - in 3D!
That's right, DM may well be returning to our
screens as a
CGI star. Plans to develop the project have
leapt to the fore
after CHD's successes with 'Fetch The Vet' and
forthcoming 'Engie Benjy' series...
A new DangerMouse series in 3D would surely
a toon fan's dark desires. It'll be interesting too,
who fills the late Terry Scott's shoes voicing Penfold...
Gosh, with those Golden Bear toys in the offing
and now this,
2002 is shaping up to be DM's year, methinks...
So who the hell is Yoko? Yoko's a bright flighty
spirit bird, and
he's got two equally vibrant friends, an armadillo called
and a monkey called Toto. This electric trio are
the stars of
an innovative new animated series from Collingwood
- the studio who 've brought us 'The
King's Beard', 'Rarg',
and 'Dennis & Gnasher', and who recently
aquired a Children's
BAFTA for their 'Animal
This latest creation is called 'Yoko! Jakamoto!
Toto!' and the
central idea is to tell simple, humorous
animated tales solely
through music and action, with a look and sound inspired
traditional Spanish, Latin American and African art
and music -
hence the choice of those three excitable spirits...
Says the press release:
' Writer/director Tony Collingwood took his
original idea and
developed the series in 2-D CelAction computer
He worked closely with Italian designer/animator
to create the show's unusual look and with
Jackson, to achieve its distinctive soundtrack....'
Sounds intriguing, eh? - A team of 20 are now
hard at work
preparing and animating the 52 x 5min episodes commissioned
by CITV. That's right, there are a massive 52 tales
finished and ready for broadcast in 2003 - Yikes!
- That sounds
like a sleepless year is ahead for the Collingwood
Had an email from Peafur's Alan Gilbey
this week. Apparently,
he and partner-in-crime Dave Freedman
are staging a special
Mr Hell evening at the Exeter Animation
Festival this month.
- It's The Mr Hell Show' has just finished a haphazard
run late-nights on BBC2, where it was
left to flounder in the
stinking pit that the Beeb execs call
'a cult slot' - in other words,
they abandoned the thing. That was a crying
shame 'cos the
series got better and better as it progressed
and the boys
found their feet. In fact, the show seems
to have been a mini
hit everywhere it's been broadcast so
far, excepting the UK...
Down in Exeter, Alan and Dave will be
talking about the
development of Mr Hell, and showing several
- quote - 'unseen
gems', plus the original pilot and the now
The Seal plane hijack sketch! They'll
also be running a two day
workshop on animation screen writing - perfect
for True Blue
Toon fans like myself to brush up on their
Here's the detail:
ANIMATED EXETER 2201
'A HELL OF A SHOW' - Tues 19th February – 8pm
Exeter Phoenix, Bradninch Place, Gandy Street,
Tickets £4.50 ( 3.50) Tel – 01392 667080.
As Alan himself says:
'It’s a really good, wide ranging festival
with lots of home
grown and Anime stuff...'
know, it's been a busy month for emails. Selina dropped
me a line recently too. See, she's started up
an online petition
she wants me to tell the world about...
Selina is a fan of the original felt Moomin
Series from Film Polski
and she's screamingly-eager to see the thing get
a DVD release.
You remember the series, don't you? - The first adaptation
of the late Tove Jansson's classic works, with
Snorkmaiden and those Hattifatteners and more.
It was on tv in
the mid-80s and has since been lost in a sea of rights
which have seen a new, very flat, very American 'toon'
the void. Now I'm not quite as negative about that
new show as
others out there - as far as American toons
go, it goes a long
way to capturing some of the flavour of those
fab books - but
it pails utterly next to the brilliance of the
Yes, yes, so the late great Tove was Finish and the
had no English connection what so ever, but as Selina
'This series was both slightly melancholy and
And I'll say 'amen' to that. It perfectly captured
the spirit of
the original and is screaming for recognition,
British, Polish or
Tibetan, or whatever. It really would be
a fitting tribute to construct
a thorough DVD release of this series, with accompanying
on Ms Jansson and her haunting creations. Heck, it
a bucketload in Finland, at least - so sign this
Well now, with all that news and chatter
going on there's no
room for any site chatter this month. Suffice
it to say there's
always lots planned here and, with ToonsToGo
first faltering steps into the Big Bad World
you can bet things are going to get even busier from