It's probably no surprise to hear that Aardman
have decided to
terminate their ongoing production relationship
Back in 1999 the two companies signed up to
an ongoing development
deal which was set to give us five animated
feature films to savour.
First out of the block was Chicken
Run, which flew away with USD225m
at the box office. It was followed by the
stop-start debacle of
"Tortoise Vs Hare", a retelling
of the classic Aesop fable which
never properly got out of the starting block.
That film was leapfrogged
by "The Great Vegetable Plot", which
latterly became Curse of the WereRabbit,
the first Wallace & Gromit feature. But although the
film was a critical hit and a big fan favourite,
the movie simply didn't
scare up the sort of box-office figures that
would excite those
Hollywood executives .
Finally, there's been Flushed
Away, Aardman's first foray into the
full-length CGI arena. The critical reception
has been fair to middling,
but more importantly, those box office recipts
simply haven't perked
up - speeding up this inevitable divorcing
of the companies.
So is this a good thing or a bad thing? -
There are a number of
folks (The Hound included) who feel that Hollywood
hasn't been the
happiest of places for this quintessentially
British of companies.
They appear to have been something of a square
peg, being forced
through a particularly round hole. And whilst CGI
is still being fanfared
as THE FUTURE, you just can't beat the kind of
stop-motion work that Aardman built their name
Of course, those DreamWorks cofffers gave
the company the perfect
safety net in a business world that's just
so precarious, it made complete
sense to take up the deal. Now they're
on their own again, the future
must look just a little scary. But it at least
gives the company to regroup
and plan its future strategy unencumbered
by any Studio baggage...
Beano to the Max (30.01.07)
Cor! - There's a brand-new Beano in town,
folks, because publishers
DC Thomson are all-set to unveil their shiny new
The new 44page megamag launches on 15th February,
and it will
feature a mixture of familiar faces from the
original comic, together
with a slew of magazine-style articles, interviews
and news aimed
at a "slightly older market" - which
is perhaps, odd billing, seeing
as so very many Beano readers are already
well out of their teens!
But, more seriously, "BeanoMAX"
will be battling it out on newsstands
with such already established delights as
"Toxic" magazine. According
to DC Thomson's press blurb, there are some
2.3m boys "out there"
in the 8-13 age bracket, and 120,000 copies
of this new magazine
will be targeted towards them. There are ten
issues planned each
year, with two bumper specials.
Whilst purists may sniff at the arrival of
this oh-so-trendy whippersnapper,
it's surely a good sign for Britain's favourite
perennial comic favourite,
in that DC Thomson still have absoulte faith
in Dennis, Gnasher and
the gang and their ability to reel in the
company took a swipe on the chin from the
BBC, when it was revealed
that their "Dr Who" Christmas annual
had outsold that of "The Beano" -
the first time that top Thomson's title had
ever been knocked off
its Christmas throne...
No, really. Now you can search this site.
Or at least, you can
search the TvToons indexed on this site, in
several new ways.
Let me explain.
From the day this here site launched my Inbox
has been bulging
with queries, questions and requests relating
to the series I've indexed.
Folks send me emails with half-remembered
details of a show.
Maybe it's a name, a place, or an animation
in a production. And I always do my best to
help. But answering
all these queries takes quite some time, and
folks can be quite
vague about the details. So it's got me thinking. Why
don't I post some
specific searches on the site? - Hopefully,
that way, a few folks
can find what they're looking for unaided,
in their own time.
And my Inbox may be freed up a little, too.
It's a win/win situation!
So from today, when you visit the TvToons
section of Toonhound
you'll find some new additions. On the
main A-Z page, I've now broken
down all the series by production technique,
so all the stop-motion
series are grouped together, etc. That's in
addition to the regular
listing, and the TvToon timeline.
But better still, I hope, is The Hound's all-new
search page, on
which I've identified such delights as the
names of all the cartoon
cats and dogs featured in the series I've
indexed. I've listed all
the boys and girls too, and various vehicles,
and more. And each entry
is linked to the relevant show. It's early
days with this, so there'll be
new searches a-plenty popping up, just as
soon as I can get round
to them. Oh, and most importantly, before
I get a stack of emails
pointing out missing entries I must make it
clear: These lists aren't definitive. I hope they're thorough.
But really, there's just no way
I can pinpoint every character or object in
every series, so please
don't hassle me!
Anyway, hassles aside, I hope these new searches
It's actually quite fun just to spin through
the indexed characters
or to use the lists as a kind of quiz game,
putting each character to
his or her relevant show. Go on, give it a
go, yourself. How many
can you identify?
The Hound has recently been contacted by Andrew
helping to organise a rather jolly get together
at London's South Bank
Centre, at the end of the month.
The event in question is titled Watch
With Mother, and it will
feature screenings of several rediscovered
episodes of Joe,
alongside episodes of Bod
and Fingerbobs. Those
have only recently been unearthed on a BBC
reel by creators Joan
Hickson and Alison Prince, so they really
are quite a find. What's
more, Joan and Alison will be there in person,
on the night, to take
part in a special Q&A after the screening.
And they'll be joined by
Alison Cole, who'll be bringing along a number
of special "Bod"
and "Fingerbobs" items from her parents'
archive, for our perusal.
"Watch With Mother" takes place
at the Purcell Room at the
Turntable Cafe, in the South Bank Centre on
January 30th, 7.30pm.
And tickets are only £10.That's
a bargain price to pay for such
a special night out!...
The folks at BAFTA have been viewing and selecting
their collective heads again recently, and
now - hot on the heels of those Children's
BAFTAs - they've presented us with a list of nominations
this year's main awards ceremony. Of
particular interest to us, of course,
are the two animation categories. So here are
Dreams and Desires - Family Ties (Les Mills/Joanna
Guy 101 (Ian Gouldstone)
Peter and the Wolf (Hugh Welchman/Alan Dewhurst/Suzie
and Rita repeat Wallace and Gromit's success last year?
It'll be tough, with those Pixar boys and
girls roaring up alongside
them. And those penguins may have something
to say as well
(or should that be "mumble"?)
As for the short film nominations, well, all
three are already winners
just for being nominated, but the smart money
may well be on Joanna Quinn
and Les Mills, who already have a clutch of Annies on their
shelf for "Dreams and Desires".
But as everyone knows, The Hound's
word is usually poison around these kind of
events, so we'll say no
more for now!
The BAFTAawards bash will take
place in London on 11th February.
Unlike that earlier Irn Bru campaign, "107
Calories Kit Kat" has the
blessing of Mr Briggs, and it also sports
the name of Roger Mainwood
on the credits as Animation Director. Roger's
previously worked on
"The Snowman","The Bear" and
the original film of "Father Christmas"
so it's little wonder that the new ad is a faultless
recreation of its
predecessor. What's more, Mel Smith has returned
to voice our
The tv campaign launched on December 27th,
and the 40 second
ad will continue to run into January, to tie-in
with the health kick
that always seems to take-off this side of
the Christmas festivities....
So how was it for you? - Christmas, I mean.
If you're still feeling
bloated and elated from the New Year festivities,
then I'm delighted
for you, I really am. Just don't ask me about
Let's step back in time a few weeks. On December
5th, whilst surfing
the wonders of the web, my not-so-super PC
casually inquired if I'd like
to download the latest upgrades from Microsoft.
Symantec advised me that my Norton subscription
was about to expire.
Would I like to upgrade to Norton 2007?
Unfortunately, I said "yes" to both
and the result sent my PC spiralling
into microchip oblivion. Thus, I was offline
for the better part of two weeks,
and this here web site was devoid of updates
until my all-singing, all-dancing
New Machine showed up. But alas, just as I'd
safely transferred a whole
heap of files and software to this shiny new machine,
function decided to pack in.
That was the cue for another week of frustration
as I firstly attempted
to resolve the problem before latterly reverted
to a complete reformatting
of what was obviously a not-so-super new computer
after all. And in
between the two PCs a stack of contacts, info,
downloads and details
were lost to that great microchip in the sky.
Plus, of course, this here
site was set adrift, alone and neglected over
the Holiday period.
So please don't ask me about Christmas or
New Year. Ask me about
the future. What does 2007 have in store for
Toonhound? Well, plenty.
Lots more indexed series and films, for starters,
and lots more news
and some big surprises are on their way...