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                                                                     January 2005
Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!
Snotty New Year!
The Hound watches Xmas from his bed...   More...

   In the MOOG
Why the new Willo's wonderful...

    School's out

Streatham Hill's name change...

    BIG magazine

Skwigly's new toon mag...


      news archive »      interviews »      Peppa Pig Q&A »

   In the MOOG

    As we await the arrival of "The Magic Roundabout", yours truly has been
    thinking about another top toon update that's been on the table for a
    while. The all-new "Willo the Wisp".

    Willo The Wisp - coming soon!

    Back in September 2003, Target Entertainment capped many moonlit months
    of anticipation when they jumped in to the production bed with Bobbie
    Spargo and friends. 52 x 5 min episodes were announced. But since then,
    publicity's been a tad quiet. So during some free time I surfed on over to the
    official production site to satisfy my curiosity, and lo and behold if I wasn't
    blown away. The whole site's had a sprinkling of Mavis' fairwy dust - and
    better yet - there's an all-new pilot episode for folks to view online.

    Now this isn't "new" news, of course. The site has probably been online for
    months, only I haven't checked the link for some time. But if I haven't,
    it's a dead cert. many Toonhound regulars haven't either. Right?

    Oh, but were was the fanfare for this? - The new series looks fabulous.
    Its design and story is utterly faithful to the whimsical original in every detail,
    with ne'er a sign of corporate interference, or demographic readjustment,
    or whatever rotten term today's brand managers like to use. What a breath
    of fresh air. And I love James Dreyfus' take on the characters. He sounds
    kind of like Kenneth Williams playing James Dreyfus, rather than the other
    way round. It's a delightful turn.

    I have no idea what the state of play is right now. But I hope, I wish, that all
    is going well for the team and that funding has flooded in to the production
    account because - ye gads - if there's one thing that's been sorely missing
    from the UK animation scene of late, it's whimsy. We used to do it so well.
    We used to have umpteen five minute wonders on our teatime TV screens.
    Not planned, not cogitated or deliberated. They just were. And they
    awaited our discovery. Well now we have the new "Willo the Wisp".

    Go forth and discover!

                                                                          More: Classic Willo


   School's out

    Looks like there's been a name-change for Hat-Trick's anarchic school
    toon "Streatham Hill". C21media reports that the adult-skewed show is
    now being officially touted as "Bromwell High".

    "Streatham Hill / Bromwell High" focus on the exploits of three enfants
    terribles, Keisha Marie, Latrina and Natella of the run-down, graffiti-strewn
    titular school. These "laydeez", spend their time stealing, flirting and
    causing havoc as soon as they enter the school gates. The Hat-Trick/Decode
    presentation is set to air on Channel4 later this year, and the hype machine
    has already swung into action to tout the show's comedic pedigree
    (it's produced by the team behind "The Office", "Goodness Gracious Me"
    and "V Graham Norton").

    "Streatham Hill / Bromwell High" first hit our radar back in September 2003.
     Let's hope it's been worth the wait...


   BIG magazine

    Here's some loud news in an otherwise very quiet month: David Smith and
    the gang at Skwigly Animation are about to spring an all-new all-British
    animation magazine upon an unsuspecting UK public. "Big Animation"
    magazine will feature news, reviews, interviews and views with Brits in the
    industry, their productions and developments within the animation community.
    The first issue is all set to launch in March and The Hound is keeping
    his paws crossed for their success. After all, this kind of publication
has been well overdue...

    David's put together an enthusiastic pool of contributors who are beavering
    away on the premiere issue as you read this. And although it won't be
    a newsagent publication to begin with, hopes are high and confidence is
    brimming, so a fully-fledged mass market edition may soon slip on to the
    shelves of WH Smiths and friends.

    Those keen to find out more, and how to grab themselves a copy, should
    keep checking the Skwigly site for updates - Hats off to 'em, says me!


   Snotty New Year!  

    Some Christmas this has been.
The only thing Santa brought me this year
    was a rotten bout of flu. I was forced to my bed on Christmas Day, and
    haven't properly emerged even now, on New Year's Eve...

    Oh well. Being in bed has at least given me the chance to catch up on some
    Christmas tv. Although there wasn't that much to get excited about this year.
    "Jack Frost" was an interesting new toon on BBC1. It was adapted from the
    picture book by David Melling, and it looked great, with its goblin characters 
    stepping off the page and into a painterly 3D world. But the story was slighter
    than slight, and the finished tale didn't quite come together in the way that I
    hoped. But full marks go to the animation, and the music - especially Kate
    Rasby's song contribution. I think it might grow on me with a repeat visit.

    ITV presented us with Michael Foreman's tale of "The Little Reindeer". This
    is a popular book, and Foreman a very popular and familar artist. The toon did
    exactly what it said on the tin, but somehow seemed to be very short on
    atmosphere. I wasn't moved, at least. Although I couldn't really move far,
    being wrapped up in my duvet and all...

    Leave it to the true blue classics to stirr the Christmas cockles. Channel 4
    brought us "The Snowman" and "The Bear" again, and both underlined their
    superiority over the schedules. If anything, I've fallen even more for "The Bear"
    which has a darker, more complex appeal than its predecessor and a
    splendid intensity to stirr my flu-filled head. "The Snowman" will always
    have its place, of course, but "The Bear" is a wilder ride.

    And now 2005 is on our doorstep. As soon as I'm well enough to let the
    year in I'll take a look at what's in store for us. Right now, though, I'm not
    looking beyond my next Lemsip...

    Till next time!    

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

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