Francoise is grazing, the Millfreaks are lazing and
The Hound can't
think of anything quite so amazing as the latest news
You remember Summerton
Mill? - Pete Bryden and Ed Cookson saw
their little series about a magical mill included in
episodes of "TikkabIlla"
on CBBC last Autumn (see Mules
and Mills). Well Pete's been in touch
again this week to pass on the fabulous news that
the first series of films
are to be screened again as a stand-alone show
on CBeebies. You'll be
able to catch it every Saturday and Sunday at 8.10am
at 2.10pm, between April 1st and May 14th.
How terrific is that? - Summerton Mill is a unique
little show. Right now
it feels like a secret series, to keep under
your pillow and treasure.
But this re-airing could lead to even bigger and
brighter things, like
a super second series to savour. Tell your naybhurs,
friends, the Mill is magic!...
Everyone knows the post can be slow, but here's
a package from
Greendale that's already three and a half years late!
Back in September
2002, Entertainment Rights announced plans for
a Postman Pat spin-off starring Jess the cat. The series
alongside Pat's shiny
new show, which had just entered into production.
But alas, the Greendale Rocket chuffed on to our
screens with ne'er
a spin-off to be seen... Until this week,
when ER finally unveiled their
new show for the public at large. The series is
called "Guess with Jess"
and Pat's pal will be getting a thoroughly-modern
CG makeover for it.
The biggest news of all, though, is that Jess is going
to be given a voice.
That's right, folks, he's now a speaking cat!
That news might take some getting used to. But
we've still got plenty
of time to get our heads around the change, because
"Guess with Jess"
won't be on our screens until 2008, when it hits BBC
One, BBC Two
and CBeebies. And Jess will have his very own range of
toys too - talking ones included, one suspects...
Silver Fox Films have been in touch this week
with an itsy bitsy bit of
news about their very hairy, but not at
all scary, pal Spider.
may already know, this spindly star has been a big hit on
and he's all set to return to our screens
in a brand new show, after a
fourteen year absence. But as a precursor to
his return, Nick Jnr UK,
have just acquired the rights to broadcast the
original series again.
Fans of "Spider!" young and old, can
catch him on Nick Jnr. everyday
at 12:40pm. And to celebrate, Silver Fox have
passed on a jolly
Spider piccie to make us smile...
Thursday 9th March was the date for this year's British
and as is the way of things with this event, there
were some big surprises
on the night. The biggest was the fact that "The
Corpse Bride" beat Wallace
and Gromit to the award for Best Animated Feature,
something it has failed
to do at the Oscars™ and
the Annies. And then there was the fact that
Aardman's Angry kid shouted down competition from
"The Little Reindeer" to secure the
Best TV Special award. Here are
the key prize-winners (in
Best Animated Feature Film
Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit The Corpse Bride
Belleville Rendez Vous
Best Children's Series
King Arthur's Disasters: Circus Calamity
Pingu’s Sledge Academy Those Scurvy Rascals: Pants
Best TV special
The Little Reindeer
Frank and Buster's Christmas in the Outback Angry Kid: Who
do you think you are?
Best Children's Pre-school Series
Charlie and Lola: I Want To Play Music Too
Meg and Mog: Meg’s Fancy Dress Director Peppa Pig: Mummy
Pig at Work
Best Comedy Bromwell High:
Creature Comforts: Monarchy Business
The Christies: Natural Disaster
Guy 101 - Ian Gouldstone Frank and Buster's
Christmas in the Outback - Dave Ingham
Peppa Pig: Mummy at Work - Neville Astley
& Mark Baker
Best Short Film Rabbit - directed by
Film Noir - directed by Osbert Parker
Careful - directed by Damian Gascoigne
Lovely to see Frank and Buster collecting
the writing award. Their Outback Special is a charming
film, as is the series. Peppa Pig has snorted off with
yet another prize for Astley Baker Davies'
groaning sideboard. And then
High snatching the comedy award. That winning episode,
"Baby Boom" is particularly funny.
And so too are "Those Scurvy Rascals". Blue
Zoo's series about a gang of marauding, pant-stealing pirates has
snuck under many animarted radars. In addition
to their series win, those
pirates also sailed away with the Children's
Choice award - tarnation!
If you've got young kids, you're probably know
all about Horrid Henry.
He's starred in a stream of hugely popular storybooks
written by Francesca Simon
and illustrated by Tony Ross (Towser).
As his name suggests, young
Henry can be truly horrid to everyone around him,
and he's particularly
miffed at the arrival of his baby brother Perfect
Peter. His books have
sold - literally - in the millions, so it's no
surprise o find that CiTV have
recently commissioned an animated series based
on his exploits.
"Horrid Henry" will be coming to us
via the folks from Novel Entertainment
("Fimbles", "Roly Mo") and
it's the first animated commission for the new
CiTV digital channel. 52 x 11mins episodes are now
in production, with
the first set to air some time this Autumn. Which
is horrible news indeed...
Were we ever in doubt? - In the midst of an uninspiring
night, Wallace and Gromit and Aardman Animation lifted
our spirits by picking
up the Academy Award for Best Animated Picture.
That's the duo's third golden
statue and Nick Park's fourth to add to those
already collected for "Creature
Comforts", "The Wrong Trousers" and
A Close Shave.
Curse of the Were-Rabbit
was one of the rare Oscar™ shoo-ins this year.
Of the competition, "Howl's Moving Castle"
was very much an outsider.
Miyazaki has previously won for "Spirited
Away" and "Howl, though great,
is not considered to be in the same league as
his previous winner or his
earlier phenomenal films. As for "Corpse
Bride", well, in any normal year
your money would have been safe on this stop-motion
gem. But this wasn't
a normal year, and with two such films in competition
it was obvious that
the Academy would favour the broader delights
of a rampaging rabbit
over the thrills and chills of an underground
The best news of all, however, was the fact that
all three films were made
using so-called "traditional" skills,
with a modern twist. This year, good old
fashioned craftsmanship triumphed over that
there newfangled CGI.
But back to the awards night, and commiseration
must go to Sharon
Colman whose film Badgered
lost out to John Canemaker in the Best
Animated Short category. Still, she must be absoloutely
thrilled just at
being nominated. That's one heck of an achievement
in itself, and bodes
very well indeed for the future...
Mirrors and Mills (22.03.06)
As you probably know, The Hound is currently mid-way through
overhaul of the site, cleaning up the design,
removing dead links and expanding
the indexes. That means I'm catching up with a whole
heap of productions
old and new like those fabulous early films from Cosgrove
and "The Pied Piper" are extraordinary creations,
from an extraordinary
team - so meticulous, and crafted for art's sake,
rather than for any
over-riding commerciality. If you haven't seen these
before, or have
forgotten their brilliance, Clear
DVDs will reawaken your
imagination. The Pied
Piper, particularly, is still as potent and as
haunting as the day it first aired, over twenty-five
But what do we have like this nowadays? - There's
lots of very fine
commercial fare, but it doesn't feel so spontaneous.
Every film and
series seems to exist for a reason. They're packaged
on a plate for the market to consume. That's not
to say today's films
and series are poorer quality - goodness, no - there
are any number of
animated marvels out there to drool over. But
sometimes you find
yourself yearning for something that truly stands
...Which is probably why I've been so susceptible
to the delights of Mirrormask,
the new film from David McKean and Neil Gaiman that mixes
its live-action stars with some very odd animated puppets
and CG additions,
courtesy of Jim Henson. The folks at
Tartan Films sent me a preview disc
the other day, and I'm jolly glad they did, because
it's a very brave production.
The film unspools like an arthouse Muppet movie,
and whilst it doesn't
always work - the line between Helena's dream-life
and her real-life is perhaps
too blurred - there are a great many pleasures
to be had from its acute
otherworldliness. "Mirrormask" stands
out like a sore thumb from the
current buffet of spin-off specials, extended
episodes and classic
adaptations. Mind you, I don't really know how to class
it for Toonhound.
Is it live-action with animated segemnts, or animated
inserts? - The dilemma's a pleasant one, regardless...
Mill is utterely unique too. The BBC's decision to give it a
repeat run as a stand-alone show is very exciting news
is that rarest gem; a series that was born outside
of the boardroom,
in a sunny, suit-free world. Dan, Fluffa and their
happy valley are just
waiting to be discovered by the masses. Indeed, this
is just the kind
of series that Nostalgia Heads will be reminiscing
over, twenty years