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    TheHound - an irregular round up of toon news and chatter from the uk                    February - 2003

    Pat delivers, Thunderbirds might deliver, Supercar returns,
    Roobarb returns and Marion, Yoko, and Abercromby are already here!...

  Thundering On...
Thunderbirds Movie ready
  for action...
  Roobarb, Roobarb...
  Our favourite wobbly dog
  Super stuff...
  Supercar flies in again...
  Cat Site...
  Official NBK site launches...
  Pat Pending....
  The postman returns, and Jess,
  and Sam...
  Watch these!...
  Bounty Hamster, Yoko! and
  Oi, Mister!...
  New Mr Men coming...
  Sites For Sore Eyes...
  Movie toons and toon movies...


  Thundering On...

    Well now, that there Thunderbirds Movie Rumour Mill has gone into hyperdrive
   over the last few weeks with a succession of Big Official Announcements
   from Working Title confirming plotting and scheduling for the so-often-delayed
   live-action adaptation. Here's what we now know:

     1) The budget is confirmed as being £50m, the biggest in Working Title
         history. Shooting commences this March in the Seychelles, with studio
        work at Pinewood to follow and digital effects work farmed out to London's

     2) The casting seems to have broken down like so:

        Geoff Tracy / Bill Paxton (Twister / Frailty / Titanic)
        The Hood / Ben Kingsley
        Scott Tracy / Philip Winchester (ThePatriot)
        John Tracy / Lex Shrapnel (K-19: The Widow-maker)
        Virgil Tracy / Dominic Colenso (The Lost Prince)
        Gordon Tracy / Ben Torgenson
        Lady Penelope / Sophia Myles
        Parker / Ron Cook

        No word yet on who is to play Alan Tracy, and there's been ne'er a
        mention of Brains or TinTin or Kyrano anywhere...

So that cast list now includes Ben Kingsley playing The Hood, but
        this is very much at odds with many other reports that still say a brand
        new character called Aristotle Spode will be in the film. That said,
        the BBC made no mention of this character in their latest report. Indeed,
        they made reference to The Hood once more and suggested the film
        will be shot at Shepperton, not Pinewood...

    4) The movie is now to be aimed squarely at the under-10s audience. Indeed
        it will be focusing on the younger members of the Tracy clan, namely a
       15-year-old Alan Tracy who must endeavour to defeat The Hood/Spode 
       and rescue his older brothers and father, stranded in orbit onboard
       Thunderbird 5...
    5) According to the producers, the ships will be the real 'stars' of this movie,
        and all have been rejigged and updated for the feature. Here's Working Title's
       Tim Bevan talking to The Guardian:

        "We have been faithful in the new designs to Gerry Anderson's original
         concepts in the way that the new Volkswagen Beetle or the new Mini
         are to their old ones."

    6) Gerry Anderson is taking no part in the production...

   So what does all this mean? - Well, who knows. Noises in the jungle suggest
   the script is still 'terrible', and 'unfaithful' to its source material. But without
   having seen a copy for ourselves, how can we comment. Both X-Men and Spiderman
   had a lot bad air about them when they went into production, but they turned out
   to be Fan-Boy dreams. Maybe Thunderbirds will pull a rabbit out of the hat?

   One thing is for sure, there is a very fine line between tweaking an established
   concept and mangling it altogether. Lord Of The Rings, Harry Potter, X-Men,
   and Spiderman have proven unequivocally that if you stick faithfully to the
   path of the original source material with only occasional sidesteps into the
   rough you will strike box office gold. The Avengers, Lost In Space, Judge Dredd,
   The Saint, Tank Girl and so many others have proven , absoloutely, that tinkering
   for tinkering's sake will send you stumbling into the briarpatch of Box Office despair.
   The Thunderbirds movie has no input from the series mentor, but that's not
   necessarily a bad thing. Star Trek survived without Gene Rodenberry - nay - it
   even improved. Rejigging those ships and some of the more outlandish concepts
   also makes sense for a modern audience. But boiling the contents down to a
   Spy Kids size concept - now that sounds a tad dangerous and it seems that
   the producers have veered away from some of the excesses being bandied
   about before Xmas. Thunderbirds was always about Big Ships, Big Rescues
   and a Big Band Of Brothers, not kiddy heroics. If you're going that far down the
   line of re-conception why bother using the material in the first place, why not
   simply come up with a wholly-new Spy Kids style film totally unconnected to

   Ah me, so much heated speculation. As always, The Hound prefers to keep
   things positive. Let's wait and see and hope for a cracking adventure. At the
   end of the day, regardless of the film, we will always have the original
   Supermarionation to savour - that can't be taken away from us, can it?
   And maybe, just maybe, we'll be served an equally satisfying dish of new
   Thunderbirds flavours to savour...

   ++++++++++++ STOP PRESS! - FEB 10th ++++++++++++++++++++

   Well, the old Thunderbird wagon really is on a roll now as more and more
   film details are leaked in the run up to production. The award for biggest
   scoop, though, must surely go to Coming Attractions who have got their
   paws on the first picture of the revised FAB-1 design from the film. Lady
   Penelope's pink Rolls Royce was an iconic creation, wasn't it? - Well now,
   the car has been restyled in the form of a pink Ford Thunderbird, as you
   will see. So what do you think? - Is it an exciting re-imagining of a favourite
   vehicle, or an ominous taste of things to come over the next year or so?
   And more than that, is this the final design? Personally, if this is the final
   design, I reckon they've missed the boat with this one. It looks too flash,
   too sporty. Lady P was a sporty lady, certainly, but she had class with it.
   She would sit back and sip her Martini in cosseted comfort whilst casually
   instructing Parker to dispatch the villains around them. By giving her such
   a nippy, manoeuverable sports car, the emphasis has been shifted. The lady
   owning this kind of vehicle would drive it herself. And she'd take great
   pleasure in the thrill of the chase. What need would she have for a chauffeur?
   Ah me, but here I am again, speculating on leaked information and chatter.
   Still we wouldn't have it any other way, would we?...

    Super Stuff...

    Of course, the Tracy brothers aren't the only Supermarionation stars making
    a comeback right now. And no, I'm not referring to Joe 90, either. Anderson
    fans have been making their way down to their local comic shop to pick up
    copies of Misc Mayhem's FAB new Supercar comics. That's right, Mike,
    Jimmy, Beaker and Popkiss - Team Supercar - are currently starring in a
    four-part comic adventure doing battle with evil Spiro Masters. The strips are
    fun, updating the original series without mashing the concept, and each
    issue has been enthusiastically previewed by the creatives over on the
    Misc! Mayhem Supercar site...
     Supercar Comic...  Die-Cast Supercar...

    ...But that's not all. Anderson collectors can start salivating now for the
   arrival of an incredible die-cast Supercar model, coming our way later this
   year from the talented folk at Product Enterprise Ltd. This 17cm long model
   was launched at London's ToyFair a week-or-so ago, and is due in the UK
   some time this October/November, along with other die-cast collectibles
   from Gerry Anderson's shows: the UFO Interceptor and Space:1999 Eagle
   Transporter. And as if that wasn't exciting enough, die-cast Fireball XL5 and
   Stingray models are set to follow in 2004. Rest assured, Supercar will be
   landing at ToonsToGo just as soon as we can get our eager paws on it!...

   Which leads us on to a shameless plug. If you're an Anderson fan (and let's
   face it, who isn't?) you might want to check out the latest arrival over at
   our store. We've just taken delivery of that fantastic Remote Control SPV
   from Captain Scarlet. It's a beast of a model, full-functional, with authentic
   phrases from the series and a firing mechanism and - oh - it simply oozes
   desirability. These were actually launched a wee while back, but not many
   places picked them up - fools! - We've now acquired the last few of these
   available in the UK. And darn it, we're keeping one for ourselves. That's
   how good they are!....


       Postman Pat - back in action!   Pat Pending...

     Hold the post! - Here's more first class news from Greendale concerning
     our favourite postie, Postman Pat. The Greendale franchise was snapped up
     by Entertainment Rights a wee while back when they acquired Woodland
     Animations. Last September they announced plans to give Pat's friend
     Jess The Cat his very own stop-motion series. Well now they've gone a
     step further with the very welcome news that Pat himself is returning in
     a new series, and what's more, he too will be in splendid stop-motion and
     animated by top toonsters Cosgrove Hall Films...

     According to PR released to C21-Media and others, 30 new episodes have
     been commissioned by CBBC - 26x15mins and 4x30mins, with production
     starting in March. Writer John Cunliffe is back on the Greendale round
     and there are new characters planned for the show, like Mr Bain the Indian
     Station Master. We can expect the first straight-to-video release this
     September with the series proper following in 2004...

     ...And that's not all, because we not only have a famous Postman returning
     to our screens, but an equally-famous fireman. Yep, it looks like Fireman
     Sam will be breaking the Welsh picket lines to take part in a new series
     too. Once more Entertainment Rights are in the driving seat, with those
     Cardiff-based stars at Siriol generating the animation for the new show.
     And that really is hot news to warm your winter cockles...

     Keep checking Entertainment Rights for all the news on their various


     Mr Greedy & Little Miss Bossy... Oi, Mister!

    Mr Men fans will be tickled to here that six brand new Mr Men books are
    to be published this year. Roger Hargreaves' enduring characters have been in
    print since 1971, and now his son Adam has written and illustrated Mr Cool,
    Mr Rude, Mr Good, Little Miss Bad, Little Miss Scary and Little Miss Whoops.
    You can see Mr Rude over on The BBC....

    The first four books are due to be published by Egmont Books this April,
    with the other two following in September. The Mr Men franchise is now
    said to be worth around £130m and has been kept alive by some very shrewd
    licensing and promotional deals - like the Mr Christmas offer at McDonald's,
    and the fan-created Mr Cheeky book which came out eighteen months ago.
    And at the end of the day, the Mr Men endure because they are such
    charmingly simple creations. Everyone knows someone who looks like
    a Mr Man, or a Little Miss. 100m copies of the books have been sold
    over the last thirty years, making the late Roger Hargreaves the second most
    successful author in the UK, after J K Rowling. Quite extraordinary...

    Keep up with the Mr Men at their official site:


     NBK R Here!  Cat Site...
    Uh-oh! - The Kittens are here!

    You remember Natural Born Kittens, right? - The Hound announced their
    imminent arrival back in October.
Born from the Manga mind of Larry Bundy Jr,
    the kittens are actually The Four Daughters Of The Catopalypse,  reborn as a
    raucous gang of Manga-style goddesses-come-school girls. Mr Bundy has teamed
    up with Absolutely Productions to unleash these felines stars on the web and
    on tv. And now, that first step towards world domination has been taken
    because the official site has launched:

    That's the URL above. Here you'll find info on the fearsome felines as well
    as regular comic strips and - oh - plenty more Manga mayhem too.
    You can sign up for updates as well, if these kitties tickle your cartoon palette.
    This certainly sounds like an intriguing concept. Something a bit different
    on the UK toon scene, and well worth a look....


    Roobarb's back!  Roobarb Roobarb...

    Here's some exciting, wobbly news. Grange Calveley's original Roobarb
    series is returning to terrestrial TV in the UK. Featuring Bob Godfrey's
    extraordinary felt pen animation and Richard Brier's breathless narration,
    Roobarb and his pink pal Custard remain the 70s' top nostalgia favourite for
    many thirty-something kids. Now Five has picked up broadcast rights to the
    series from Green Dog Films, with plans to air them from March 22nd as part of
    their Shake morning TV spot.

    Now that's news to get the birds twittering in anticipation, isn't it? - Five have
    proven rather savvy recently, having also just brought us the delights of the
    new CGI Dan Dare series. Just a pity us folks up here in the wilds of Scotland
    can't actually receive Five on their standard aerials - * sigh*....


    Watch These!...

    Now I've spent the entire time here rambling on about future toons, forthcoming
    shows and movies and collectibles. So how about shining the spotlight on a trio of
    hot shows that are already with us? - First up are two Toonhound faves which
    I've been raving about for the best part of a year now. Then there's a repeated
    puppet series which is equally brilliant:

      Marion - Bounty Hamster..
    Bounty Hamster - CITV Thursdays 4.15pm
    Surely you know all about this one by now? - The Hound rattled on about
    the pleasures of this Peafur series in both the March and September editions
    last year. If you're a Sci-Fi buff there are numerous guilty pleasures to
    enjoy here, lots of Fan-Boy references and quips. It's great to see an
    afternoon toon geared towards older kids for a change... 

       Yoko! - Looking for Jakamoko! and Toto!...

    Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto! - CITV Mon-Fri 3.40pm
    More guilty pleasures here, courtesy of Collingwood O'Hare. YJT is a
    visual and aural delight, with its textile backgrounds and day-glo stars,
    and infectious Latin American rhythms. It's also very funny, more so
    because the CITV presenters seem to find it impossible to pronounce
    the title properly!...

       Ahr! - T'is Captain Abercromby from Wark Clements!...
    Captain Abercromby - BBC2 - Thurs & Fri 7.45am
    Wark Clements' first foray into children's toon tv is an undiscovered gem,
    with terrific sets and puppets and lots of imagination from creator John
    Gorman. Set sail for night time piratical adventure with Abercromby
    and his crew. But you'll have to set your alarm early. This one airs
    at a godforsaken time in the morning on BBC2...


     Pooch again! Sites for sore eyes...

    What's the difference between a Movie Toon and a Toon Movie? - Well, you're
    about to find out as The Hound is currently putting the finishing touches to
    a brand new site section to replace that crumbling Movie Toon Archive page.
    Let's face it, the archive was always a redundant offering anyway: a hotch
    potch of British and American links left over from the Current Movie Toon site
    guide. Time to introduce something far more relevant to the site, methinks...

    The Great British Toon Movie Guide will be showcasing the variety of
    live-action features that have been based upon established British toons.
    So brace yourselves for the likes of Judge Dredd, Tomb Raider, Modesty
    Blaise and more. It makes for an - um - interesting ride. The toon-to-movie
    adaptation hasn't been the most successful of genres. Let's hope that
    new Thunderbirds movie can buck the trend...
    Stay tooned for the new guide later this month!

Pooch once more!    



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