You can add another star name to the "Flushed
Away" voice cast this month,
because Nicole Kidman is all set to voice the
character of Rita, a street-smart
sewer rat encountered by our intrepid ratty hero when
he gets - literally -
flushed out from his pampered penthouse home in
forthcoming feature adventure.
Nicole will be joining an impressive voice cast
that already includes Sir Ian McKellen
as the voice of a villainous frog, and Andy "Gollum" Serkis
as the voice of his Hench-Rat called Spike.
And rumours still persist that
Hugh Jackman will be the voice of the stop-motion
star. "Flushed Away"
follows the new Wallace and Gromit movie into
production down at Bristol,
and it's being produced as part of Aardman's ongoing
deal with Dreamworks SKG.
BAFTA beckons... (27.10.04)
Is it that time already? - Goodness, how the year
has flown by. The shortlists
for this year's Childrens BAFTAs have been announced
to the world this week.
So without further ado, let's reveal the nominees
of note to this site:
THE BLUE DRAGON
Lambros Atteshlis, Malcolm Hartley,
Fiona Shore Glasshead Ltd/C4
Toon Disney/Dandy Productions/Disney
GRIZZLY TALES FOR GRUESOME KIDS Honeycomb
Green, Chris Hermans, Ben Townsend TV Loonland/BBC
THE KOALA BROTHERS Spellbound
Entertainment/Famous Flying Films/BBC
Phil Davies, Mark Baker, Neville
Astley / Astley Baker Davies
SAM TAM (FIREMAN SAM)
Robin Lyons, Timon Dowdeswell,
Andrew Offiler Siriol Productions/S4C
YOKO! JAKAMOKO! TOTO!
Christopher O'Hare, Tony Collingwood,
Collingwood O'Hare Entertainment/CiTV
As always, these are too close to call.
The Pre-school category is particularly
tight, with all four shows being of tip-top toon quality.
If Yoko! picks it up it will
be at the second attempt, of course, given that
the show was nominated last
year too. Peppa
Pig is a fave, but mind you, those "Koala Brothers" are
delight. It wouldn't be a surprise to find
them "helping" themselves to the award
And let's give a special round of applause
to Honeycomb Animation and friends.
"Grizzly Tales For Gruesome kids"
has snuck onto the animation scene this
year and snaffled up a BAA en route. T'is
a popular show. Jamie Rix has earned
himself a grizzly writer's nomination to
boot. But he'll be up against Tony
Collingwood again, because Mr C. has been nominated
in the writer's category
for the second year in a row. As I pointed
out last year, that's a rare coup,
that "Yoko!" has barely a word
of dialogue in each episode...
The complete list of nominees is now online
to view at the official
ands the award-winners in all categories
will be announced November 28th.
Ivor's career began in France (he was born there,
in fact). Whilst working
for a Paris-based advertising company he met up
with Serge Danot, who was
busy touting around his idea for a stop-motion
animation series. That series was
"Le Manege Enchante" which was later
translated to "The Magic Roundabout"
and, well, everyone knows how successful that
Wood's forte was was stop-motion puppet design.
He teamed up with author
Michael Bond to bring us the delights of Parsley
the Lion and friends. He
designed and built Orinoco and the other Wombles
and it was he who
juxtaposed that fabulous Paddington Bear puppet
with those 2D cut-out
backgrounds and characters. His Woodland Animation
stars had that
wonderfully regonisable look: A big bulbous nose
on a straight upright head.
So appealing. So perfect. His animated worlds
were beautifully realised.
Parsley's herb garden was "herbidacious";
Merrytwit was a scrummy
collage of paintbox colours, just perfect for
Charlie and friends. Even
that more realistic of realms - Greendale - was
a delightful concoction
of drystone walls, patchwork fields and leafy
It wasn't all puppets, though. Ivor occassionally
dabbled in 2D scenarios
in the Land of Chalk Drawings, but it 3D that was his forte,
and Ivor has taken some extraordinary tv stars
along with him to the
Slagged off (20.10.04)
"Viz" fans will be crying into their ale
today, with the news that those illustrious
gals the Fat Slags are about to make their final appearance
in the publication.
Sandra and Tracey have been regular strip stars
in the magazine for 14 years,
guzzling their way through men and booze and full-chested
mirth. But last
week saw the UK launch of the live-action "Fat
Slags" movie with Fiona Allen
and Sophie Thompson shoehorned into suitably fat
suits, alongside the likes
of Geri Halliwell and Naomi Campbell. And it's
a stinker. Or at least, it's been
savaged by the critics. What's more, its dire
reception was matched by the
staff at the "Viz" offices, causing "Viz"
editor and "Fat Slags" creator Graham
Drury to call time on the gals grotesque antics in
Graham as saying:
"After seeing this crass and ill- conceived film
don't feel like drawing them again".
And he means it. Next week's issue will indeed
feature the very last
appearance of our favourite gruesome twosome.
Those "Fat Slags" have been treue blue
"Viz" stalwarts over the years.
Loved and loathed by so many, and seen regularly
on British High Streets
every Saturday night. They've had their antics
turned into animated
and they've even been used to advertise Lucozade!
As for the film, well, "Viz" sold off
the film rights to the strip six years ago,
and we had much speculation about those who might
be filling the gals
shoes - including the likes of Gwyneth
Paltrow and Minnie Driver. In the
end, filming commenced last year beneath many publicity
radars, with Ed
Bye the director of the "Kevin and Perry"
movie at the helm.
all well and sad, of course. But it's equally interesting to note that
Britain's favourite adult humour mag is on the cusp
of its celebrational Jubilee
edition, with the self-same next issue marking 25 years
at newsstands. So
extra publicity is all rather handy, isn't it? And
no doubt the "Viz" team will
still be busting a gonad or two with joy, even
if Sandra and Tracey aren't
at the party....
Now here's a secret that's just too big to keep.
The Hound has been able to
take a sneaky peek at the pilot of Tony Collingwood's
top secret series,
"The Secret Show" (see August's
edition). And by jove, it's an absoloute treat!
How does one describe the production? - Well,
Tony says it's a cross between
"The Man From Uncle" and "Monty Python",
but The Hound reckons there
are hearty helpings of "DangerMouse" and
"Austen Powers" in the mix.
The pilot follows the exploits of
agents Victor Volt and Anita Knight as they
hunt down the luckiest of villains Lucky Leo (voiced
by Stephen Fry).
They're aided in their quest by the more-than-barking
and a Basil Exposition-type figure whose name
is changed daily to
avoid identification - with predictably daft results,
The breakneck tale takes us around the globe and features
hover bikes, a train-load of gold coins, lots
of spit and polish, many an evil
sneer, and even a grand piano or two. It's big, brash
and bright, with lots of
quickfire action and editing, and plenty of wit and
wisecracking to help it on
its way. To say any more here would spoil the
plot, but I can say that it's all
terribly British, and delivered with a stupendously
stiff upper lip - what! what!
Tony says the pilot went down very well at Cartoon
Forum and MIPCOM,
so it looks like a proper series could come together
very soon. And
let's hope so, because if the rest of the proposed series
ends up like this
it should become a classic.
We Brits have conquered the world with our preschool
something we've excelled at over the last decade.
But in the mean time,
the action/adventure genre has become sorely neglected.
took us to the other side of the galaxy, but there's
been precious-little else
of late. So now we have "The Secret Show"
standing proud, and there's
Kid", those "Chop Socky Chooks" and other action heroes
waiting in the wings. These are adventurous times,
The multimedia mayhem of MIPCOM is now well under
way in the south
of France, and plenty of toon news is beginning
to emerge. Today's big
headline involves Nutwood's most famous resident
Rupert the Bear.
You may recall, last
year Rupertwas at the center of a high profile
rights wrangle which ended with Express Newspaper
Desmond and Northern & Shell acquiring all
image rights and copyrights
on the little bear and his woodland pals.
Desmond's then concern was that poor Rupert wasn't
exploited by Nelvana of Canada, and he made great
play about his
proposals to boost awareness for the chap around
the globe. Well,
today in France, the first of those Big Plans
has been revealed in the shape
of an all-new stop-motion tv series commission,
to be produced by the fine
folk at Cosgrove Hall Films. The new Rupert
series will be designed and
produced by CHF's Francis Vose and Bridget Applebyand it must surely be
a dream project for them. Just thinking about
the quality they'll bring to
the table makes your heart race, doesn't it? -
The Hound can't wait to
see what they come up with!
But there is one slightly sad thought to bear
in mind here. This new
high-profile production could very well prevent Mary
Turner and John
Read's original puppet series from ever getting
a proper DVD re-release.
And that would be a crying shame. I know I've
spoken about this before,
but if I was part of Northern & Shell, I would ensure
that Rupert's famous
past is celebrated alongside his revival. A retrospective
appreciation of the original Tourtel stories, the strips and
surely rekindle interest from an older generation,
weaned on that magnificent
Bestall artwork, those incredible puppet designs,
and Jackie Lee's hit
Rupert past and Rupert present could compliment
each other perfectly.
It would be a travesty to have all that Nutwood
history buried beneath a
barrage of preschool licensing and promotion.
Oh! - there's a whole
Classic Rupert division out there, waiting to
be exploited. Let's just
hope Mr Desmond is listening...
Some interesting business news over the weekend,
at King Rollo Films. King Rollo are author/artist David
Clive Juster and animator Leo Nielsen, and under their
they've brought us the joys of "Mr Benn",
"King Rollo", "Victor & Maria",
"Towser" and more. Now C21media
reports that the company has
undergone an interesting restructuring. The production
entity King Rollo
Films Ltd, has separated from the rights-holding entity
Leo Nielsen is now the owner of King Rollo Films,
and Clive Juster and
David McKee are the owners of Rollo Rights (with
Juster as MD).
So what does this all mean, and why is it being
reported here at Toonhound?
Well, the upshot of this shuffling is that Clive
Juster now has space to start
exploiting the intellectual property rights of
their characters with a tad
more gusto. And that, in turn, means we could
soon see a whole lot more
of "Mr Benn" and friends on British
High Streets and in all-new films and
series. Which is festive news, indeed, because
Mr Benn and King
are classic creations, deserving a full and thorough
High Street exploitation
- just like "Bagpuss" and company. Who
knows, we could all soon be
wearing "Mr Benn" bowler hats, or "King
Well okay, the licensing side is rife for speculation,
but what is certain is
that an all-new "Mr Benn" film is currently
underway - commissioned by
Rollo Rights, and set to air on Nickelodeon UK.
And as if by magic...
more top films could follow!
First Class auctions (01.10.04)
Got a few pennies to spare? - You might want to
make a beeline over
to eBay, where Pitney Bowes (the mail and communications
are running a series of charity auctions on behalf
of the National Literacy
Trust. They've asked a bunch of celebrities to
contribute designs to the
front of a series of envelopes, and thus far, they've
had more than 50
submissions from a host of famous folks. Each
original art and the styles and abilities vary dramatically,
Toon fans will no doubt be salivating over Nick
Park's terrific Wallace & Gromit
envelope, and Raymond Briggs' Fungus The Bogeyman art
is equally mouthwatering.
Then there's Quentin Blake, Ronald Searle, Telegraph
cartoonist Matt, Kipper
Williams and Tony Hart. Plus there are other celebrities
as diverse as Richard Curtis,
Kate Winslet, author Jacqueline Wilson, athlete
Colin Jackson, BBC newsman
Huw Edwards and - well -many more from many
been operating this not-so-little web site of mine for more than five
and in that time it's grown from a single page
of toon links in to the 600+
page behemoth you see before you today. Toonhound
gets a shed-load of
visitors every day, and in their wake comes a constant
stream of positive
feedback from happy viewers, alongside questions
from toon fans, queries,
corrections, contacts from the animation world,
and some hefty
mailbox-jamming press releases to boot!
What I'm steering you towards is the fact that
Toonhound.com, the name,
the site and the content it covers are quite well
known upon the web. Do
any number of Google searches for series and creations
indexed here and
you'll find me and mine right up there near the
top of your results. Lots of
of folks link to the site and lots of industry
bods are aware of the name, and
on top of that, many researchers and authors have
contacted me and
Toonhound to talk about my preferred subject.
So why am I telling you this? - Well, frankly,
I'm ticked off. Because I have
reason to believe that someone might be trading
off my good name. And,
of all people, that "someone" is that
bastion of British tv and radio: The BBC.
Over these last five years BBC researchers and
journalists have been in
regular contact with me, asking for info, details
and comment about toons
and cartoons. Toonhound is known to them, and
The Hound has duly and
happily assisted them in any way possible. But
now, this week, Radio 4
is set to broadcast a special programme hosted
by Phil Jupitus and
using the 50th anniversary of Halas & Batchelor's
"Animal Farm" as an
excuse to look at the workings of the British
animation system. And
would you believe, they've gone and nabbed my
web name for their title.
In their infinite wisdom, they've called it "Toonhounds
Now excuse me, folks, but the term "Toonhound"
was certainly not a
common animation term before I started this site.
T'was I who linked the
term to British cartoons and animation, and proceeded
to splatter the title
across the great WWW. During my time on line I have
striven to connect
Toonhound.com with all things British and animated or
cartooned, and to
celebrate the UK's contribution to the world of toons.
And at the end of the
day, I own the domain name too.
So now we have the BBC and "Toonhounds and
Teabags". Part of me is
naturally flattered, of course, but the rest of me
is somewhat irked that a
corporation which is more-than familiar with me and
my efforts should snaffle
up my good name for their production with ne'er a word
in my direction.
Okay, so I don't have any legal control over the name,
but the association
between British toons and Toonhound is indisputably,
What's more, I've already received a number of
messages from folks wanting
to know if I've been involved in the project!
I guess I can vent and rant all I want, but the
show will still go on regardless.
"Toonhound and Teabags" is broadcast
Thursday, 7th October at 11.30am
on Radio 4. It's also available
for download for seven days on the Radio 4
web site. And in the course of its half hour, Phil
Jupitus talks to the likes
of Bob Godfrey, Peter Lord and Oliver Postgate.