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                                                                     March 2005
Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!
Coming soon?
Maybe, if the PC behaves itself...   More...

    Rogue film
    Rogue Farm on its way...

    Sketchy details
    Planet Sketch is coming...

    Pigeon power
    Valiant flies in...

    Another Anderson remake?...

    A chuffing disc
    Ivor the Engine comes to DVD...

      news archive »      interviews »      Peppa Pig Q&A »

   Rogue film

    "Rogue Farm" is an animated film that's coming soon to STV and
    Grampian TV. It's an adaptation of Charles Stross’ Sci-Fi tale focusing
    on a weird and wild future, where rogue creations are running amok,
    destroying farms and land, and generally doing odd things. The cautionary
    tale features lurking creatures, bleak landscapes, talking dogs, and bitching
    bodysuits - "Mechas" - straight out of "Aliens" as well as an otherworld
    oddness all of its own. The 24minute enterprise was created using
    Machinima Pro, and the result is an eerie piece that's part-Manga,
    all-Sci-Fi, and really rather fascinating.

    Rogue Farm

    "Rogue Farm" has been touring the festival circuit over the last few months,
    prior to its TV engagement, and it was nominated for Scottish BAFTA last
    year. Producer Alan Jenkins tells us that the film took just 5 months to make,
    and that he and his company are using its success as a springboard on to
    other series and film ideas from their Edinburgh base.

    The film premieres here in Scotland, on STV and Grampian at 11pm on
    Thursday April 7th. But never fear, those of you south of of the border -
    or anywhere else, for that matter - will soon be able to buy it on DVD
    direct from the Rogue Farm web site...

                                                                           More: Rogue Farm


   Sketchy details

    "Planet Sketch" is an all-new toon concept from Aardman Animation and
     Decode Entertainment that's coming soon to CiTV. It's being billed as a
     rapid-fire, high-energy production with a cast of recurring characters
     - which sounds a little like an animated version of "The Fast Show".

     Exact details are still - er - "sketchy" at the moment, but included in the initial
     line-up of 13 x 11mins are The Gnaughty Gnomes, who like to play sneaky
     pranks on passers-by, The Soppy Street Rappers, who are actually quite
     wet when no one's looking, and The Nose-Picker, a girl with a very particular
     bad habit. Others to look out for are The Bickering Babes, Dr. Insoaur and
     Ninja Handyman.

     The series features a blend of CGI animation and 2D Flash. It was actually
     given the greenlight back in October 2004, and now six months on, the
     Powers That Be are beginning to fanfare its imminent arrival. CiTV have high
     hopes for the toon, which they believe will "revolutionise" the genre (ie: inspire
     a shed-load of copycat commissions). It all sounds very intriguing, and we'll
     find out quite how "revolutionary" it will be when it premieres
     this Summer...

                                                                  More: Aardman Animation  


   Pigeon power

    Look up in the sky! - But mind the poop, because instead of Superman,
    we in the UK are about to get an eyeful of Vanguard Films' "Valiant".
    Unless you've been living in a pigeon coop this last week, you can't
    have failed to have notice the film being promoted all over the media.
    "Valiant" follows the avdentures of a plucky British wood pigeon in his
    bid to  rise through the ranks and become a fully-fledged carrier pigeon
    for the allies, during WWII. The film opens wide in the UK on 25th March.
    And it deserves a rousing fanfare because it's another of those extraordinary
    rarities, an all-British toon, filmed at Ealing Studios. And not only that, it's
    a CGI toon - so it gets a double fanfare here.

    Valiant - hoping to fly high...

    Much of the tv publicity has focused on voice stars Ewan McGregor and
    Ricky Gervais - the former concurrently promoting his role in Blue Sky's
    "Robots" and the latter using the moment to talk about his imminent new
    projects. And "Valiant"s timing is intriguing, coming so soon after "The Magic
    Roundabout" and clinging to the coat-tails of "Robots". On top of that
    we also have The Incredibles scaling the DVD charts, with Barbie's
    Fairytopia and Boo, Zino and the Snurks also making CGI noise. Whoever
    coordinated the release date here has surely gone to seed.

    "Valiant" looks like a bit of fine-feathered fun. But - oh - that timing is a
    worry. It's also caused some interesting cross-promotion puzzles because,
    let's face it, pigeons simply aren't lovable things - even CGI ones.
Right now, the stars are beaming proudly on the front of boxes of Weeto's,
    which does make you think again about the contents.

    So will this chicken run, or will the pigeons bomb? - The early reviews
    are certainly very encouraging...

                                                                           More:  Official site


    "Broadcast" recently ran a very interesting interview with Gerry Anderson.
    The big man is currently flushed with the critical success of his new CGI
    "Captain Scarlet", and in the course of his chat with the trade, he set out
     his stall regarding his career, the ill-fated "Thunderbirds" movie  ("Everybody
    hated it, not just me"), and his plans for the future. And it's this latter piece
    that's most intriguing...

    According to the interviewer (Emily Booth), Gerry wants to follow the
    Scarlet reworking with another tv series - quote - "either another remake...
    or something entirely new".

    Now that's news to get fandom frothing. What series could realistacally
    be next? "Thunderbirds" has been and seemingly gone and "Joe 90" is
    currently tied up in a developing feature film. Then there's "Stingray", a
    top series but somewhat mired to its Sixties trappings, with all those
    underwater races and machines - though it is still very popular and would
    look fab in CGI. "Supercar" too, is a tricky one to upgrade. "Torchy" and
    "Twizzle" are quite dated now, "The Secret Service" is probably just too
    eccentric, and away from the puppets, "U.F.O." must be a contender,
    but it shares so many themes with "Captain Scarlet".

   Oh, and let's not think about "Terrahawks".

   So what does that leave? Well Fireball XL5 could be a doozey, if one
   can ensure it stands apart from the recent "Dan Dare" revamp. And an
   all-new take on "Space 1999" could be better still - scientific faults
   aside. Indeed I'd hedge my money on the latter. It's screaming out for
   a CGI upgrade. "Space 2099" - Why hasn't it been made yet?


   A chuffing disc

    "Ivor the Engine" has been languishing in the top left-hand corner of  Wales for a
    chuffingly long time, whilst all around him, treasured series have been appearing
    as handsome DVD editions. But now, SmallFilms fans everywhere can brew
    up a cuppa, kick back, and wallow in the wonders of the Merioneth and Llantisilly
    railway because Ivor, Jones, Dai, Owen and the Grumbly and District Choral 
    Society will be steaming in to stores from April 4th, courtesy of 4 Front video...

Ivor The Engine - Coming to DVD

     "Ivor the Engine" was the very first SmallFilms series, originally filmed in black
     and white in 1959, but remade in colour fifteen years later. Oliver Postgate and
     Peter Firmin drew inspiration from the works and words of Dylan Thomas and
     the show is steeped in "Welshness". Choirs, coal smoke, dragons - Ivor's got
     the lot and more. The muted colour pallette and clouds of colliery smoke
     bring a certain melancholy with them, but Ivor's world is never dreary, and
     above all, there's a glorious coal-fired heart at the center of the show that
     still warms the cockles, all these years on.
    The Complete Ivor the Engine will feature all the colour episodes from the
    seventies, and Ivor will be joined by rereleases of Bagpuss and  The Clangers
    (series 1) to make a splendid teatime trio for your viewing pleasure...
Ivor the Engine   


   Coming soon?   

You know, I've said it many times, but a webmaster's work is never done.
    This site has constant niggles which need attending to - new links, links to
    remove, corrected info, additions and amendments. And these all go on top
    of the day-to-day running - news updates, new pages and site sections.

    Now I can handle all of that with a whistle and smile, normally. But this month
    hasn't been normal because, in spite of high alert firewall and Internet settings,
    bang up-to-date virus definitions, Ad-Aware software, Mailwasher and Windows
    Washer programs, Antispyware and a fully-patched  XP software system
    something - or one - managed to bring my computer to a crashing, grating
    halt last week. Was it a virus, or trojan, or dodgy software? - Heck, I still
    don't know, but to cut to the chaff, I had no option left but to reformat
    the hard drive and reinstall the whole caboodle from scratch.

    Fortunately, I had backed up my site files just twenty-four hours earlier.
    Unfortunately, I'd forgotten to save the numerous emails and addresses
    from my mailbox.

    And that, folks, means I've just lost a whole stack of news, contacts and
    info that's pertinent to the site and its content. I'm now having to guess my
    way through what's missing and - piece by piece - put it all back together
    again. That's why this month's updates have slowed down, and why I'm
    sitting here now, gazing out at the Monday morning sun and wondering
    why on earth I bother...

    Ah, but then I remember. The buzz of new info. The excitement of some hot
    new animation that's "coming soon". And the very flattering feedback I get
    - and I get a lot, gawd bless you. It's very humbling to be appreciated like this,
    and it always encourages me to get back to my keyboard and start tap,
    tap, tapping away again. So hopefully, come Easter, there should be a wave
    of new additions to the site - new series indexed, info, news, and more of
    those older pages updated at last.

    That's if my PC isn't zapped again.   

    Till next time!    

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

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