Clangers to return (21.07.04)
'The Sun' and others are today breaking the new big
news that Oliver
Postgate and Peter Firmin's classic 'The
Clangers' are to return to terrestrial
television in a new series for the UK's terrestrial
channel Five. What's more,
the story has gone wide, getting a mention on the likes
of GMTV etc.
But let's not get too excited, because, if you
look closely at the detail, you'll
find that Tiny and the gang are actually only
returning for re-shoots, idents and
publicity photos prior to the re-launch of the
original shows. No new episodes
are actually planned - at least, none as yet. Instead,
Five are treating us to the
remastered originals, spruced up and dusted down for
a modern audience,
together with some all-new 'stings' . But hey,
that's news enough, methinks...
As a sideline to the hoo-haa, there is also talk
of the hunt for the missing
Clanger. And it's talk with a bit more substance
because, back in 1972,
the original Mother Clanger puppet was stolen.
Apparently, the BBC asked
to use them at a conference exhibition, and during
said event Mother
vanished in to the ether, never to be seen again.
Now the folks at 'The Sun'
want information on her whereabouts and they're
who might know to get in touch.
Five have scored big with nostalgia before, of
course. Witness 'Roobarb's
year. And as for Smallfilms, well, they're re on something of a
roll again this year, what with Bagpuss' birthday
in the news, a new wave of
collectibles hitting stores and now this high-profile
Remarkable, isn't it? - Nyeh, nyeh...
Strike it rich (17.07.04)
Pete Nash and the gang at Striker 3D must
be doing the Peacock Strut
this week, with the news that their 'Striker'
shares issue has scored with
the comic-buying public.
previously, 'Striker', the CGI football comic had been on the
horns of a dilemma of late. In need of a cash
injection to keep the title
going, Striker 3D opted to raise the £300K
they needed through a
shares issue. Whilst some in the financial echelons
scoffed at their plans,
comics fans dug deep and this week, Pete Nash
revealed a final cash
tally of some £332,375 - £202,375
having come from the public at large.
That's an extraordinary figure for a shares issue
that had to be rushed
through the system at such a late hour, and hats
must certainly be doffed
to the team for having scored in Extra Time like
That much-needed moolah now means that 'Striker'
will remain a weekly
title for all to read. Which is muddy brilliant,
because this is a top comic
with big plans. In recent issues, Mr Nash has
been putting forward the
idea of reprinting some classic football strips
of yesteryear, like 'Billy's
Boots', 'Kangaroo Kid', 'Lags Eleven', Royal's
Rangers', 'Hot Shot Hamish'
and more - great nostalgic stuff for the older
comics readers who make up
the largest slice of their readership. These would
sit along the main
'Striker' strip, which is a modern classic of
its own. The current tale
features the Warbury Warriors team on their Summer
tour of Scotland,
where their loudmouthed manager, Eric Openshaw
has found himself
embroiled in a murdrous plot that's part 'Misery',
part 'Deliverance' and
laugh-out loud hilarious...
'Striker' still needs to boost its weekly sales,
though, so if you haven't
dipped into it yet, do yourself a favour
and track it down!
The publicity is GO (16.07.04)
are well and truly GO this week in the UK.
Working Title have launched a veritable
tidal wave of publicity for their live-action
film, across all media. Jonathan Frakes, the
stars, Sylvia Anderson and even the
original series puppets have graced our daily
papers, radio shows and the likes
of tv's 'Good Morning', 'GMTV' and 'BBC
Breakfast', and in-between we've been
assaulted by tie-in promo adverts from the folks
at Ford and Burger King, playing
in the ad breaks. It's been quite extraordinary...
One name missing from the prerelease razzmatazz
has, of course, been co-creator
Gerry Anderson. Gerry is currently knee-deep
is Mysteron doings at Pinewood
he toils away on his CGI 'CaptainScarlet' series.
Last year, a rumour went round
that he was to be paid to support the 'Thunderbirds'
movie with his name and face.
But those rumours have been well-and-truly
quashed now, with Gerry stating that
he has no wish to associate himself with
the feature. And that's a shame, because
one can't help thinking that, had the filmmakers
been just a little braver, there
needn't have been such a debate in the first
To be frank, though, whether the fans, Gerry,
or you or I actually like the new film
or not has become almost redundant. This film
is guaranteed a strong UK opening,
in the same way that 'The Flintstones',
'Scooby Doo', and 'Tomb Raider' were able to
run roughshod over any critical debate,
all the way to the box-office bank.
Stand by for action, folks...
The Ministry needs you (12.07.04)
Cartoon Forum is an annual event in the animation
calendar and it
serves as meeting point for European production
outfits and broadcasters.
Projects are pitched, money is put on the table
and funding and broadcast
deals for new toons are put in place. This year's
event is being held
22nd-to-25th September in Galicia, Spain, and
already folks are beginning
to trumpet their projects in advance of the event
My Team Animation are one such outfit, and this
happening team from
Newcastle are about to launch their heavenly
new series 'The Ministry' upon
an unsuspecting market. The show is being billed as
a divine comedy, or
rather, heaven with red tape and it centers
on the character of God T.
Almighty and his crack Universal Management team
based at the Ministry.
These fellows must battle ex-Ministry employee
Lucifer and his rival
corporation H.E.L.L. Inc. for nothing shorter
than the control of the welfare
and administration of the universe. Channel 4
are sponsoring the toon at
at this year's Forum event - which suggests that
a fully-sanctified commission
may follow soon.
To get the promotional ball rolling, a
special tie-in web-site is due to be
launched on Friday 16th July. The site will give
visitors the chance to drop
by the Ministry itself and get to know the boys. Also
launching the same day
is My Team's own corporate
site, so you can get to know the folks behind
the toon too. On a technical level, My Team are
making animation waves
right now through their work combing Plastic Animation
Paper (PAP) with
Animo 6.0 - a technique which allows animators
to draw straight to the
computer screen and thus create all their animation
in the digital realm,
sans paper. And they'll be using this technique
on 'The Ministry', if and
when it gets into production...
So is 'The Ministry' a preordained hit? - Your guess
is as good as mine.
But you can bet I'll be dropping by these sites, come
the end of the week!...
The Ministry My
A bucket full of toons (05.07.04)
News of some top toons this month, courtesy of
Graham Ralph and
Silver Fox Films.
First on the development slate is 'Lemmings'.
This 80 minute film stars
a lemming called Leroy who decides there's more to
life than simply
leaping off cliffs to your doom, and there's a
promo page for the film on the
Fox site, together with a couple of images. It sounds very sweet,
should be very much in keeping with past productions
'The First Snow Of
and 'Second Star To The Left'.
Then there's 'Harry And His Bucket Full Of Dinosaurs',
a new series
of 52 x 11min episodes, being produced in conjunction
with the folks
at Collingwood O'Hare. Harry was created
by author Ian Whybrow, and
he's the star of a popular series of children's
picture books, illustrated by
Adrian Reynolds. Harry's following in the footsteps
of another Whybrow star,
'Little Wolf', who featured in his
own tv special back in 2002, and is soon to
be seen in his own series, courtesy of Lupus Films.
As for Harry, well,
he has bucket full of living breathing dinosaurs
- just like it says in the
title. The series has Home Run Hit all over it,
and is bound to fare
well when it airs in 2005.
Meanwhile, Silver Fox remain hard at work developing
CGI feature film 'Water Warriors' (previewed
last year), and there's a
couple of fab new froggy pictures on their site
for us to feast upon.
And on top of all of this there's the tantalizing prospect
of a second series
of 'Spider', currently
in development at the studio. Now there's a show with
legs (sorry). TheHound gets very many happy emails
about this one still
today, a dozen years after it first aired. All
together now: 'Here I am alone
in the drain...'
Hmm. Sounds like there's little chance of being
alone at Silver Fox,
what with so much going on right now!...
this space... (25.06.04)
Yes indeed, folks, keep watching
this space because things have been
deceptively quiet on the site in recent weeks.
To steal a title from a
forthcoming toon: there are a bucketful
of updates on their way to the
site over the coming month.
The first of these updates is just about to strike
the TvToons section. There'll
be a tweaked page design, for starters, and rejigged
info on every page.
Many of the links needed updating, so this has
been duly done (just about).
But better yet, there should be lots more series
identified and indexed for
your enjoyment, taking the indexing comfortably
past 150 different shows
and productions. Updating this site is tricky.
Folks seem to like its
accessibility (quick-loading pages, no-nonsense
layout, etc). There appears
to be little point in completely redesigning this
vessel, especially as it
takes an age to catch up with the workload here.
So the changes will
be slight and sleek, but sizable - if you
get what I mean...
Once the TvToons section launches, I'll be burying
myself head-first in
to the Movietoons
section, and - ideally - that oft-promised, never-yet-
delivered Toon Movie Mini Guide should at last
appear online. I think
that one was first promised to you 14 months ago
And then? - Why, then it's time to roll up my
sleeves and finally tackle
the behemoths that are the Comics and Puppets
sections of this site.
Those poor sections have been sorely neglected
over the years, with
many pages still sporting their original formats
from 2001-2002. It's a
disgrace, actually, and I promise I'll be rectifying
this just as soon as
I possibly can.
A Hound's work is never done - *sigh*