the Iceworld (1977) producers:
Cosgrove Hall Productions Ltd
Thames Television. animation: stop-motion animation run time: 30mins
don't want any of your weakening, second-rate,
everyday spells. I want a Doomsday Special,
I want it now!"
It's Christmas in Wheelieworld, and there's
much anticipation in the air, because
the Wheelies are getting ready for their Annual
Yuletide Latin American Fancy
Dress Ball. Pablo Perdito the World Champion Latin
American Dancing Duck
has dropped by to help with the dance practice
and all the Wheelies are in
their fancy costumes, dancing the Paso Doble. Chorlton,
too, is trying his
very best to keep up. But he's not very good.
"Chorlton wasn't a very good dancer, and he wasn't
clever at differential calculus, or thermal
tying his own shoelaces..."
Bless 'im. At least he still spreads his happiness
But that happiness gets right up the spout of the
Kettle Witch, Fenella. In a
fit of pique she urges her talking spell book,
ClapTrap Von SpilldaBeans to
conjure forth a sinister Doomsday spell. And
before you can blink, a crystal
orb appears amidst the Wheelies. This shimmering,
swathes them in a cosseting fog and draws every
last Wheelie, duck and
dragon away to an icy world...
Wheelies gazed around them in wonder because,
although they hadn't walked far in the fog,
seem to be in Wheelieworld at all..."
"Chorlton and the Wheelies" was
already a hit series for thames Television
when this Christmas Special was commissioned.
The half-hour film takes
us to the caverns of the Snow King and his sinister
Snowmen. And as
Chorlton plays Hide'n'Seek with the orb, Fenella
finds herself doomed by
her own spell. The poor witch is frozen solid,
all alone in Wheelieworld!
But the gloom is only temporary, for Chorlton
is a Happiness Dragon after
all. When in doubt, he tells a joke or two.
And Snow King's are confounded
by such simple pleasures. Chorlton's japes melt
the King's evil down - literally.
The icy chap simply shrinks before their eyes,
the Doomsday Spell is undone
and before you can say "Ecky
thump!" everyone is back in Wheelieworld
dancing the Paso Doble again, in time for
Chorlton and his Wheelie friends come from
the land before "Pre-school", when
series were made simply because they could
be. There's no message here,
and no educational context, apart from the
implication that happiness is
best and that we should all keep chortling. Because
that's what Chorlton
makes us do. From his big grinning face comes
a neverending stream
of idiocy. Here in this extended episode,
he refers to the crystal orb as
being a Blackpool Illumination. To the Snow
king, he asks: "Do
Working Men's Clubs?" And come
the climax, he's dancing around
Wheelieworld in a pink tutu. The plot is wafer-thin,
but the pleasures
are as thick and fulsome as that spotty
dragon. "Wheelie" great, in fact...
Have we heard Fenella's
full-name before? Well it's repeated here,
as our friendly narrator
talks about "Fenella Fellorick", the Kettle Witch
of Spout Hall just over the border
between Wheelieworld and the Sadlands.
one-eyed telescope Riley was stolen from the
end of Doomlaira pier
The Snow King, we're told, has a voice like the North Wind, cold and
terrible. So terrible
in fact, that Chorlton sees the fear in the eyes of his
pals which begins to give
him doubts of his own. His own tail starts
to freeze... until
the chortles come back and the King is confounded.
You're supposed to have a Witch's Dilpoma
to cast Doomsday Spells. And you're
supposed to be a Queen Witch. Fenella hasn't
the former and isn't the latter, but
she presses on undeterred, even though the
sky crackles with thunder and
lightning at the very mention of these spells.
On Fenella's command, Claptrapp flips through to
the very secret pages at the
the back of his book. Everything goes very
still and very dark, as if the sun
itself is afraid of what might happen. Then that
old Kettle Witch takes a deep
breathe and begins:
of weasel, ear of frog
Let there be a Dead Man's Fog
Freeze the Wheelies to the spot
they all their friends forgot
Then let the Crystal Blob appear
Lure the Dragon far from here
Lead him to a frozen place
And nevermore we'll see his face!"
Cosgrove, Mark Hall director: Chris
Griffiths animators: Jackie
Cockle, Joe Dembinski camera: Jim
Noble props: Chris
Walker editor: Dave
Street narrator: Joe
Hall Ate My Brain
Meanwhile, Nyanko's index page is a
suitably chilled and chorlting affair.
Her design skills are fab. and always supported
by splendid content