Here's another "action-packed" update
for you now, regarding "The Carrotty Kid".
You may recall Andrew Fanton revealed his high-kicking
plans for this new
orange superstar last
June. But just to remind you, the Carrotty Kid is a Kung-Fu
carrot. He's the pupil of Master Che-Ri, and together,
their ongoing mission
is to thwart the dastardly Cornelius Cobb, or any other
foolish fruit or veg
seeking to overrun Legume City.
Those splendid fellows at Cosgrove Hall are hoping
to bring the Kid to life
for Andrew, if the broadcast deals fall successfully
in to alignment. But
to help the cause, and get us all frothing with
orange glee for the fellow,
Andrew has been busy putting together - Ssh! -
Kid's Super Secret
Dojo. You'll find character guides, an intended episode guide and
more, should you care to explore. Best of all,
though, are three ickle
movie clips for our viewing pleasure, showing
the Kid and Che-Ri in
animated action (just click on the sun image,
on the front page).
Yes, yes, yes, the clips a minuscule, but you
have to admit it's
particularly great, seeing and hearing Burt Kwouk
Wise Man say, this carrot could kick, given the
Remember The Secret
Show? - Collingwood O'Hare's series proposal
pitched Professor Professor (no, that's not an
error) and super secret
agents Victor Volt and Anita
Knight against the forces of evil, in an
action-packed package stuffed with gadgets, gags
The pilot episode pitted the team against the fantastically
Lucky Leo (voiced by Stephen Fry, no less), and it
was a hoot.
Tony Collingwood and his team took their project to
last year, on a mission to get a juicy series commission...
Well it's no secret to reveal that CBBC have just
acquired 52 episodes
of the show (52 x 13mins in total). Which is bally-brilliant
Now we can look forward to a plethora of moustache-twirling
high jinx, high kicks and stiff upper lips. "The
Secret Show" mixes
James Bond with Austen Powers and number of ITC-style
into one colourful whole. I said it before, and
I'll say it again. We do
the whole "preschool" thing supremely
well, here in Blighty. But that
genre's success seems to have come at the expense
"The Secret Show" should put the "action"
genre well-and-truly back
on the animation map...
Cannes has certainly proven to be a hot ticket
for Brit animation this
year. First we had a shed load of Aardman
news to get excited about.
And now, fans of the bolexbrothers will probably
be tripping with glee
when they hear that Dave Borthwick's team are
following up their
reinvisaging of The
Magic Roundabout with a long-planned
"Fabulous Furry Freak Bros." movie.
"Grass Roots: The Movie" takes the trippy,
freaky Freak Bros. from Gilbert
Shelton's Underground comic strips and drags them in
to the modern world
in a plot featuring cannabis plants which have been
as part of a sinister government plot to take over
Borthwick mentioned the project during an interview
for the BBC's "Imagine"
arts series way back in December 2003, but the
movie is only now being
touted around the film markets. Celluloid Dreams
are handling international
sales and they are showing off a promo reel and first
draft with the aim of
securing the $22.5m required to get it up and running
and in to cinemas.
"The Freak Bros." are controversial characters.
Freewheelin' Frank, Phineas
Phreak, Fat Freddy, and Fat Freddy's cat have
been getting up to all sorts
of high spirits since 1967 in a continuing series
of strips from Rip-Off Press
They're poster-boys for potheads everywhere, and a
Freak Bros. film has
been mooted before this. Back in 1999, Film Roman announced
intentions to animate the gang, but the film never
hope the bolexbrothers manage to get theirs together...
Seems the Aardman/Dreamworks media wagon is well
and truly off and
running now, with Cannes hosting the first big
press splash for the
forthcoming "Wallace & Gromit" movie.
On Thursday, festival folk were greeted with the
slightly ominous sight
of a thirty foot high inflatable Gromit, posing for
photos with the key
production personnel. The promotion came hot on
the heels of the
unveiling of the first teaser poster for the movie
Soon has a
picture for you). And on top of that, comedian
Peter Kay has also
been added to the fanfared voice cast, alongside
Carter and Ralph Fiennes.
Prior to this week's splurge, an official
W&G website has been unveiled for
our perusal, and there was some very clever target
marketing going on Stateside,
a month-or-two ago, with a tie-in promotion at
the big Westminster Dog Show
(you can view the results on
their official site). What's more, the US Master
Toy License for the movie has been granted to McFarlane
Toys, so we can
expect some delicious collectables akin to their
fabulous first "Shrek" toys,
or those "Movie Maniacs". And all of
this is happening for a film that's not
with us until October 7th.
At yesterday's press call, Dreamworks producer Jeffrey
the carrot of a second "Wallace & Gromit"
movie under everyone's nose,
should the first prove a hit. But let's be honest here,
that one's got to be
a cert. "Curse of the Were-Rabbit" is looking absolutely
Meanwhile, rolling in on the coat tails of Wallace,
Gromit and their furry
friend (or fiend?), comes the announcement of
another Aardman film project.
"Crood Awakening" is being written by
comedian/actor/all-round funny man
John Cleese and it appears to be a kind of cross
between Gogs and Asterix
the Gaul. It's billed as a prehistoric comedy
adventure about a culture clash
between two tribes of cavemen. The first is comparatively evolved,
other remains somewhat underdeveloped. It's being suggested
that one tribe
might be considered as being essentially English in nature,
whilst the other
is of French origin, with all the culture clashes
between them that might entail.
The film will go into production after Flushed
Bloomin' eck! - Aardman really are pushing the
boat out on all fronts at
the moment, with all this film action sitting
alongside the ongoing television
projects ("Planet Sketch", "The Gigglers", and
the rest). But who's
complaining? - You can surely never get enough
of Aardman's stuff...
The fine folks at Silver Fox Films have been in
touch this week, to keep
me and mine abreast of their current happenings.
include a bucketful of production duties on "Harry
and his Bucket Full
of Dinosaurs", more ripples in the CGI pond
that is "Water Warrior",
and some particularly exciting Spider
First up, there's "Harry". Work is nearing
completion on this 52 x 11mins
series. Silver Fox Films have team with Collingwood
O'Hare and CCI
Entertainment for this one. It's based on the books
by Ian Whybrow
and Adrian Reynolds, about a boy who owns a bucket full of
living, plastic dinosaurs - hence the title! Harry's
show was only officially
July, so the turnaround's been rather nippy, and it will
be hitting our tv screens very soon.
Then there's "Water Warrior", the film
which now has a noticeable title
change, dropping its "Warriors" plural
from the past. The film is
its way towards production, a hop, step and a
lilly pad at a time, but
we're told that it's still very much a going concern.
Certainly, if the
production art at the the Silver
Fox web site is anything to go by,
we'll be in for a treat - eventually!
But right now, the big news for many of you will
be an update regarding
the return of "Spider". It's been fourteen
years since this little show with
a big heart aired on the BBC. "Spider"
was exquisitely presented, with a
soft-crayoned star and musical musings tinged
with melancholy. The
DVD came out last year and we've sold lots of
copies of it via
our Amazon links
- which just proves its ongoing popularity. Silver Fox is currently
developing "Spider's Silly Show" which will
extend the format from 5mins
to 11mins. The new production will feature music,
stories, facts and
puzzles and will be hosted by Andrew Sachs. What's
more, there are
a whopping 52 episodes being planned - 52 seemingly
commissioners' favourite number nowadays, when
it comes to
the preschool arena...
So what's that, 104 episodes and a CGI feature
coming our way?
Not to mention those Lemmings.
Suffice it to say, Graham Ralph and
company have been rather busy, and will continue
to be so for
a good while yet. Altogether now: "I'm
just a spider..."
Skwigly diddly (09.05.05)
So there we are, with news of a top title
about to fold (Striker - see below),
when along comes Skwigly to brighten the day. Skwigly
Magazine is the
brainchild of David Smith, the talented chap who
David's ambitious plans for his site and magazine
were fanfared back
Issue one of Skwigly: The Big Animation Magazine
and its 68 glossy colour pages include a feature
on the making of "Valiant",
a chat to "BB3B" director Iain Lauchlan,
another with animator Richard
Bazley, a guide to storyboarding, animation news,
reviews - indeed, plenty to get your toon buds suitably
all for the ludicrously low price of £3.50 (or
£2.50, if you buy online!).
Best of all, though, is the first issue exclusive
featuring info on a
hot new puppet project called "Project Cobra".
Sean and Barrie Robertson
are putting together a Gerry Anderson-style, sci-fi
series with stringless puppets,
which looks utterly FAB. It's an interesting developement,
given that Carlton
experimented with a similar kind of update for
"Thunderbirds", just before
the live-action film crashed and burned. The "Thunderbirds"
test reel was
extraordinary, and frankly, they were mad not
to have taken it further.
But budgetary fears, and low-tech nervousness
got in the way. Since
then, "Team America" has assaulted our
systems, and now "Project
Cobra" looks to have leapfrogged the Tracy
family into the production
spotlight. It's a facinating new project. But
if you want to know more,
hey, you'lll just have to buy
yourself a copy of Skwigly!...
Muddy Mildred! - Striker
comic is soon to be no more. In his current editorial
creator/owner Pete Nash has announced that the title
is to fold next week,
with issue #87 being the final edition of this groundbreaking
There's no more Extra Time, no Golden Goal.
The dream, it seems, is over
far too quickly...
Striker was launched in August
2003 as the UK's first all-CGI comic and it
followed the extraordinary escapades of a fictional
football team - Warbury
Warriors - their manager, chairman and colourful associates,
foes on and off the pitch. It was launched on the back
of a hugely-popular
run in "The Sun", and despite numerous underhand
and let-downs the comic still managed to pull
together a loyal team of weekly
supporters and subscribers, who even went so far
as to invest in a extraordinary shares issue,
to try and ensure a permanent future for the title.
But according to "Nashy", Striker simply
hasn't turned the corner. Folks
haven't bought advertising space and sales have
been flagging. Rather than
limp on, hemorrhaging readers and cash, he's decided
to pull the plug, whilst
there's still time to salvage some kind of alternative
future for his dream team.
Striker's closure is a huge blow to comics fans.
It is/was such an innovative
title, a footy comic in name, but not necessarily
in nature because the football
scenario was merely a backdrop to some splendid
soap operatics, wry adult
humour and over-the-top storylines which reached out
to readers far beyond
any footy stadium. Why is hasn't succeeded remains
a mystery. Perhaps it
was Striker 3D's independence that proved the downfall?
Nashy and his team
were coming out of left field. They refused to
cow-tow to the "suits" as they
pursued their bold new vision, and they always put
their readers first.
So Striker joins the long list of titles in that
great comics heaven.
As for Striker
3D, though, no future has been confirmed, which means we
can keep our fingers crossed for that The
War of the Worlds adaptation.
And who knows, maybe Mick Jarvis and Eric -"Muddy"-
resurface in some other newspaper, or in graphic
novel format. It's a game
of two halves, after all. And Warbury surely deserve
some consolation for
their superhuman efforts...
If you're a Gerry Anderson fan (heck, aren't we all?),
here's some news to
really get your strings in a tangle of excitement,
because the fine folks at
Network home video have put together three fantastic
for your purchasing pleasure.
"Supercar", "Torchy the Battery
Boy" and "Four Feather Falls" take
us right back to those early Anderson days, to
a time when space
chimps, topsy-turvy toys and feathered cowboys
ruled the television and
the digital delights of CGI were a galaxy away
in the future.
Network have done a fine preservation job on these
three, which is just
as well, because with three chunky disc sets arriving
so close to one
another you'll have to dig rather deep into your
six disc extravaganza, featuring all thirty-nine
episodes, and Torchy
a two disc affair. Those two have already been
released, but next
Monday (9th May), the folks from Four
Feather Falls join the rosta,
roaming over four more discs. That's a whopping twelve
string you along!
Yes, Network have really carved themselves a niche
in the video market of
late, with these Anderson shows joining the previously-released
Castle and Potty
Time. It's great to see all these shows finally
escaping on to DVD. The only problem is finding
the time to watch
all this stuff!...
You know, there's more to birthdays than just
This year, the Hound finally got a decent digital
camera. And the
first results are already making
themselves known on the site.
Now some folks may mock my efforts over at Bunty's
Booty and Cracking Collectibles.
But you know, this site attempts to cover all aspects of
British toondom, and many fans will you tell,
collecting comes hot on the
heels of their appreciation for a character, creation
or series. A good
character licence can extend adoration and awareness
as well as making a shed-load of revenue for the
And frankly, no one has done it better than Aardman
here in the UK.
As I say elsewhere, they've given us a fantastic
array of licensed goodies,
with ne'er a dodgy character likeness in sight.
Bunty's Booy and
Cracking Collectibles are there to chronicle these
splendid efforts for
others to envy and copy, or simply to drool over.
They're also there
as a checklist for collectors who can see what
they have or haven't
got, go forth and tick the boxes on their own
In Aardman's case, the imminent arrival of the
Wallace & Gromit movie
is going to be very interesting. "Chicken
Run" goodies saturated British
High Streets back in 2000. And before that, of
course, Wallace & Gromit
had shop tills ringing around the country. Will
we see a repeat for
"Wererabbit"? An official W&G shop
has already popped up online, and
the PR department have recently announced that
hold the US Master Toy Licence, which guarantees
at least one
collection of figures to make collectors weep.
Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, with Bunty's Booty now spruced up and almost
up to speed,
the Hound can turn his attention to those
Cracking Collectibles. You
should stay tooned for a stack of updates,
new photos and info over the
coming weeks. And as the countdown to the new
film continues, a
new "Wererabbit" off-shoot may also
be in the works - if my wallet
can handle it....