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Toonhound presents...






       July 2007
 Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!

    Get Fluffy
Fluffy Gardens is here...

    Pat's new round
Postman Pat's Special Delivery...

    Mr Men prints
Some fab new gallery editions...

    HOT hit for six
HOT Animation to close...?

    Licensed to narrate

Pierce Brosnan to voice Thomas...

    The wonderful web
   Blogs and sites are everywhere...  more »

     news archive »     interviews »      giveaways »

    Mr Men prints   (31.07.07)

    Uh-oh. Time to start clearing some wall space, because The Animation
    Art Gallery have just added another fine selection of prints to their
    Mr Men & Little Miss art programme...

    Mr Men Book Scenes at the Animation Art Gallery

    There are eight new Book Scenes in the range, and they're taken from the
    original maker pen illustrations, as created by the late Roger Hargreaves.
    These are the toons that folks of a certain age know and love so much,
    just as they featured in those first Thurman books, and the gallery
    have been working closely with rights holders Chorion, the publisher
    FL!P Editions Ltd and, of course, Adam Hargreaves in order to choose
    what they think are the best pieces. Each edition features a double-page
    spread, with the text on one side and the appropriate illustration on t'other.
    And they're fab. And Mr Toonhound wants them all. But he's going to
    have to choose between Mr Tickle, Mr Lazy, Mr Funny, Mr Happy and
    Mr Noisy as well as Little Miss Trouble, Little Miss Naughty, and Little
    Miss Giggles. Plus there are the previous editions of Mr Messy, Mr Greedy,
    Mr Bump, Mr Strong and Mr Silly. Each piece measures 20"x12" and is
    restricted to just 200 editions. 

    Methinks these might sell out rather quickly!...

                                                   More: The Animation Art Gallery


    HOT hit for six  (24.07.07)

    Oh no! - According to the Manchester Evening News, stop-motion
    experts HOT Animation look like they're about to be scaled down
    significantly, or worse, closed down altogether...

    This is simply terrible news, and it couldn't have come at a worse time.
    The UK animation scene is currently in turmoil, with the ongoing battles
    twixt OfCom and the fast food industry, and the all-round scaling back
    of children's tv broadcasting leaving many an independent in a perilous
    position. The thing is, HOT Animation aren't small-fry. They're one of
    the biggest and brightest UK stars. This is, after all, the team who've
    brought us the joys of "Pingu", Rubbadubbers" and most notably,
    "Bob the Builder".

    Yes, Bob the Builder. Let's focus on that. Bob's series and films
    are just the best. Not just for the here and now, but for all-time. Each
    story is so beautifully presented and immaculately animated. Now,
    there'll be folks out there who may dismiss the character as a one-hit wonder,
    they overdosed on the hit single and its accompanying press a few years
    back and they think Bob had his five-minutes of fame and Jumped the
    Shark, so to speak. But as anyone with a young family can tell you,
    Bob's still building a brilliant series. He's continued to make new friends
    and employ new vehicles. He's moved to Sunflower Valley and alongside
    these ten minute endeavours he's built up the most extraordinary,
    BAFTA-winning movie collection. Bob's tie-in films are completely
    beguiling. They really are miniature movies. The design, the lighting, the
    costumes and props, the little character traits revealed in the exquisite 
    interplay - oh - it's all so very special indeed. These aren't just throwaway
    DVD releases. They're timeless films which will play forever.

     Bob's last stop-motion supper?

    So you see, that MEN news article is a calamity. How sad for the
    oh-so-talented team who pour their heart into these films. The Animation
    Rumour Mill suggests that Bob is about to be farmed off to a Far East
    firm, where he'll be transformed into a computerised character. That's
    right, folks, a CGI Bob the Builder may be coming our way.
    Can you believe it?

    The Hound is struggling to find the right words here, but the point is,
    the continuing popularity of Bob the Builder isn't just down to the writing
    and stories, or in the clever way that HIT have marketed the characters to 
    the world. It's so much more involved. Someone obviously thinks you
    can just pick up a scenario and drop it into the lap of a cut-price studio.
    But you can't. HOT Animation are Bob's beating heart. They've built his
    success, frame by painstaking frame. They've put together an irreplaceable
    team of craftsmen and women to do it, and most importantly, they've 
    made a whole lot of money for their parent company in the process.
    But evidently, that's not enough. In today's Preschool Business World
    characters are simply commodities. There are always ranks of
    investors seeking bigger and better returns. They are akin to hungry
    chicks in a nest, with their mouths ever open for more, more, more
    and faced against that kind of financial opposition, a team of
    bespoke craftsmen like the folks at HOT don't really stand much
    of a chance... 

                                               More: Manchester Evening News

    Licensed to narrate   (19.07.07)

    Thomas the beloved Tank Engine is to get a new voice, we're told.
    Yes, apparently, former Bond star Pierce Brosnan has just agreed to
    narrate a new batch of remote controlled films and series starring our
    favourite Sodor engine, for HIT Entertainment. Brosnan follows in the
    droll footsteps of Ringo Starr and Michael Angelis, here in the UK.
    They gave such a distinct tone to Rev Awdry's chuffing stories. Some
    folks found them grating, but The Hound reckons they were wonderfully
    distinct. It will be fascinating to see - or rather, to hear - what Mr Brosnan
    does with the role.

   Thomas the Tank Engine

    We'll hear Pierce first on "Thomas and Friends: The Great Discovery",
    a film special which comes to DVD in autumn 2008. Two more
    specials and three new series of adventures are also in the
    production pipeline...

Thomas the Tank Engine


   Get fluffy  (12.07.07)

   Are you sitting comfortably? - Then we can open the gate to a
   wonderfully quirky new series of stories from Monster Animation.
   "Fluffy Gardens" has been created, written and directed by Jason
   Tammemagi whose name you might well recognise from Roobarb
   and Custard Too. Jason mentioned his fluffy new project when we
   talked a wee while back. But he failed to mention just how fabulous
   this new toon series was going to be...

   "Fluffy Gardens"

   "Fluffy Gardens" introduces us to a host of soft and silly animals.
   There's Paolo the clever cat, Mavis the pony who's quite injury prone,
   Floella the partially-sighted fruitbat, Colleen the stargazing cow,
   and so many more. Each animal has his or her very own story told
   with great skill by Michael Maloney. His voicework here is superb.
   And the simple animation is a joy. Indeed, "Fluffy Gardens" harks
   back to the little worlds of Roger Hargreaves. There's a dash of
   the Mr Men in there, and Timbuctoo. You can even hear it in
   that parping theme tune. But it's not a copy. These stories and
   characters stand on their own two feet. They're cosy and quirky
   and destined for greatness.

   "Fluffy Gardens" - Paolo,  Wee Reg and Colleen

   The show's already airing in Ireland on RTE, and in Australia on ABC.
   Here in the UK it will air on Cartoon Network's new Cartoonito channel
   from next month. Meanwhile, you can catch up with the animals online
   on their official site. And better yet, you can view an entire episode
   online for yourself, right now, so you can see exactly what
   The Hound is raving about!...

                                More: Fluffy Gardens  Monster Animation


   Pat's new round  (09.07.07)

   Postman Pat's about to get a brand new delivery round, thanks to the
   folks at Entertainment Rights. His next series is going to see him promoted
   from the gentle vale of Greendale to the hustle and bustle of a big town.
   "Postman Pat: Special Delivery Service" starts on BBC2 next year and
   is set to feature a host of new characters, new vehicles, and some revved
   up storylines.

   Postman Pat

   It's an obvious progression for our favourite Postman, after having spent
   so much time midst the drystone walls of Greendale. But presumably, he's
   going to a bustling market town, rather than a full-on big city? Pat's
   laid-back whistling charm has always been at the heart of the show.
   We certainly don't want to see him stressed out by the rigours of his
   new environment. The Hound would suggest that Pincaster is the
   favoured new location. It's the town at the far end of the Greendale Light
   Railway, from whence hail Ajay Bains and family...

   Pat started delivering those Greendale letters in 1980, and in 2003 his
   round got bigger and brighter in a revamped new series. His progression
   mirrors that of his big tv rival Bob the Builder, who's been given regular
   new assignments, and has recently been undertaking a big new housing
   scheme in Project: Build It. And it's great to see these top toon stars
   staying ahead of the game...

                                                            More: Entertainment Rights


   The wonderful web  

    Isn't cyberspace wonderful?

    The reach and range of this place never ceases to amaze. In the last
    few years there's been a veritable explosion of new folks entering the
    realms of the web with their own self-created and maintained sites
    and blogs and info pages, and almost every time The Hound logs on
    it seems that someone else has popped up online, waving their flag
    and sharing a wealth of wonder about themselves, their work and their
    lives online.

    Want some examples? - Well, one of the more recent has been the
    official web site for Curtis Jobling, erstwhile designer of "Bob the Builder"
    and creator of the soon-to-be-huge "Frankenstein's Cat". Curtis has
    maintained a jolly informative blog for a wee while, but now he's
    branched out into a fully-fledged web site all about his creative

    Then there's Laura Howell, a rather talented lady who's recently
    turned her talents to "The Beano". Her web site has been growing
    nicely all year and is an excellent showcase for her work. Laura's
    a star in the making methinks...

    And right over the other side of the great comics spectrum we
    have Mr Chris Weston. Chris is something of a Comics God, really.
    His work for the Big Comics Boys - Marvel DC, 2000ad and almost
    everything inbetween continues to make us lesser mortals salivate
    with delight and envy. Chris not only has his own web site, but he
    also has a very fine blog, keeping us all smack-bang up to date
    with his day-to-day endeavours...

    Meanwhile Jason Tammemagi, the friendly fellow who's currently
    bringing "Fluffy Gardens" to life, has been maintaining a suitably fluffy
    blog in the run up to the series' launch on Cartoonito (it's on at 6.45am,
    9.30am and 6.45pm, so set your video, Freeview box or DVD!)...

    How ironic that, as these talented folks pour themselves into
    their online prescence, so Big Business seems to be floundering.
    There are far toom many companies out there, sinking big bucks into
    bland, corporate spaces. Take Cosgrove Hall. Now here's a big name
    company with a wealth of wonderous productions to their name.
    For months now, we've been promised a shiny new company web
    site "coming soon!" Only, the one that's finally appeared doesn't
    really do justice to the studio at all. Sure, it teases us with its delights,
    but its content is - well - rather weedy right now. Of course, it's early
    days with this one; the site has only recently gone live. But if it were
    me, I'd have made sure all the series detail, programme info, credits
    and background wonders were correct and present from the reboot
    date. As it stands, despite the gee-whizz whistles and bells, there's
    a rather corporate feel about the place, as if the site is talking down
    to its visitors. It's such a contrast to the sites and blogs identified
    earlier in this commentary.

    Folks, it's the personal touch that grabs the visitor. It's why the web
    can be so completely addictive as you hop around, peeking through
    all those little windows into the lives of your favourite artist and creators
    and seeing what makes them tick. And I'd like to think Toonhound is
    run like that too...

    Till next time!

        Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'

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