It's been a long time coming, and it's included
at least one badly misjudged
revival that almost cooked their bacon, but at last we can
celebrate the full-on, fully-fledged, full-of-fun
return of those pork-tastic
porcine presenters and singers, Pinky and
"The Pinky & Perky Show" makes
its debut on CBBC on 3rd November at 5.45pm and will continue to air
in the same slot every weekday.
The premise will be familiar to those who
watched the originals,
back, as our two piggies present their very own
live tv show with
loopy games, anarchic cartoons and a fair
few celebrity guests
dropping in for a right royal mocking. Some
folks at the pigs' tv
station aren't particularly impressed with
the duo's antics, so they
continually attempt to undermine their production
- which means
the twosome have to keep on their trotters
if they're to survive...
So that's very much the expected mix, isn't
it? Except for one thing.
One very big, computer generated thing, as
it happens. You see, it's
surely no secret anymore that Pinky and Perky
are no longer
jiving across our tv screens in marionette
form. Oh no. This is
a shiny new series with shiny new presentation,
in the form of
a computer-generated Pinky and Perky. They're
just what today's
kids want to see, apparently:
But The Hound's not at all aggreived, because whether
puppets or CG toons, it's the talent behind the
porcine pair that
really counts. And these two have the Picture
Films putting together the animation, Glenn Gregory
(former star of 80's chart band Heaven 17), Keith
Lowndes and Ben
Lee-Delisle providing the music, and Fay Rusling
Messina (Green Wing, Smack The Pony) and Toonhound
Alan Gilbey contributing to the scripts... so...
the stage is set
for a squealingly-popular revivval... The
Hound's not seen the
show, as yet, but you can bet he'll be keeping
his trotters crossed
for success next week, when it commences its
So sad to hear of the passing of cartoonist
Les Barton. His name may
not be familiar to many reading this, but
Les was a cartoon stalwart,
drawing strips from the late 40's onwards.
Holland offers us a
far better obituary than The Hound could possibly
muster, and Lew
fondly recalls the man's work for DC Thomson's
"Sparky" and "Topper".
But The Hound naturally
doffs his cap towards Mr Barton's Fleetway
contributions to "Whizzer
& Chips" and "Cor!!" and the gang...
Les Barton's Fleetway strips included Donovan's
Dad and Harriet & Her Horse for "Cor!!"
He drew LIttle Saver and Knight
School for "Whizzer & Chips"
and took over drawing duties from
Reg Parlett on Harry's Haunted House and
Night Mare. But that
short list belittles his overall contribution
to that roster of top titles.
You see, Les was a true Fleetway work horse,
contributing to a great
many of the incidental puzzle pages and games that
through comics and the specials and the annuals
from that golden era.
What's more, if you look through those 70's editions
again, you'll see
that Les took over lots of star strips too,
for those stand-alone
appearances. He really was a most significant contributor
those titles - a perfect example being this Cor!!
in which his artwork crops up on almost every
Leslie Alfred Barton died on 20th October
at a Nursing Home, not far
from his home town of Uxbridge. He was 85.
Small plans (23.10.08)
Well now, it looks like those SmallFilms classics Bagpuss
The Clangers and Ivor the Engine are set to return
to our tv screens.
No. Not as repeats, but as - get this - brand
new animated series.
That's because media company Coolabi
plc have just snapped up
Licensing By Design for a - erm - "cool"
£400,000. And in the middle
of LDB's portfolio of licences is, of course, one
for those SmallFilms
classics. In fact, LBD secured the rights
to the SmallFilms series until
2013, and have been looking good for an extension,
when they expire.
The Coolabi PR machine has already begun to
talk up the potential
for these perennial favourites. They talk
about the classic brand potential,
and how there's ample reason to introduce
them to a new generation,
in all-new episodes, etc.
So what does The Hound make of this development?
- Well, clearly
Bagpuss lost some of his saggy, baggy loveliness
when he became
a bona fide licensing phenomena, at the turn
of the millennium. There's
something disconcerting about his raspberry
and custard persona
staring back at you from rows and rows of
pasta tins in your local
supermarket. What a world away from that cowshed
in Kent, where
he was first conceived... A little bit of
lightning, caught and bottled
by Messrs Postgate and Firmin... So hearing
the Coolabi machine
refer to Bagpuss - and The Clangers, and Ivor
- as "classic brands"
is no surprise... And hearing talk of a new-fangled
return leaves this
commentator completely unmoved... Seriously...
The Suits will
do what they want, regardless of any comment or
us folks outside their boardroom. And you
know, it make work out okay.
They may just get the right folks on board
to create shows that go
down a treat with today's tv critics. After all,
this worked for most
of us. And this.
too, despite its poor handling.
We've had so many toon revivals now, you rather
get immune to it all.
There's no point pontificating or speculating or
getting in a flap, because
whatever Coolabi eventually do - whether it works
or not - at the end of
the day they simply won't be able to repeat the magic
spell that was cast
in Kent, all those years ago, when two marvellous
minds combined to
produce these unique and perfect little worlds...
No... The words to
that spell were never written down, thank goodness...
And that means,
come what may, we'll always have that row of perfect
little ships in
a bottle to keep and to treasure...
of the Family (22.10.08)
Goodness, this has been a busy month for cartoon
happenings. The latest toon exhibition to get us
in a lather begins
at London's Cartoon
Museum on the 5th November, and focuses
on the life and career of Carl Giles. "Giles
- One of the Family" will
include over 80 of his glorious works, including
his fab colour covers,
as well as drawings never reproduced in the
Giles annuals, and
- well - let's leave the press release to tell
"His studio is recreated complete with
desk, drawing board,
reference material and many of the dozens of toys
him, some made by his fans. Also revealed are less
aspects of his career including his time as an
propaganda work for the Ministry of Information
work as cartooning war correspondent for the Express..."
The exhibition has come about thanks to the
continuing efforts of
the British Cartoon Archive (BCA). Their staff
have been processing
and cataloguing masses of material bequeathed
to them by the Giles
Cartoon Trustees in 2005 - it's a huge, ongoing
job. The BCA will
also be launching their
new web site in conjunction with the exhibition.
"Giles - One of the Family" will
run from 5th November 2008 to 15th
February 2009 at the Cartoon Museum, 35 Little
London WC1A 2HH. For more info, check out
their web site...
If you're anything like The Hound, you're the
kind of person who's
regularly irked by those weedy, inferior,
single DVD releases. You know
the ones I'm talking about. The ones
where some moneygrabbing
distributor has simply lumped a bunch
of episodes together from
a popular show, anywhichway they can,
so's they can sneak off
with a few sales... And worse than that,
the same companies
all-too often return a year later with
newly packaged releases that
merely double-dip the market and shortchange
the poor souls
who fall for their promotion... It happens
all-too frequently with
animated series, presumably because
the distributors think they're
targeting youngsters and Mums who can be
into buying their inferior product - twice. Or
fanboys who just have to
have each and every available release
of their favourite toon show.
Or so they reckoned without the advent
of sites like this one,
which seek to spread the word... heh...
Oh yes, The Hound learned his lesson
a long time ago. He wised up
and left all his pennies in his piggy
bank until just the right moment
came along. And I've got to tell you,
that moment appears to have
finally arrived, right here, in the
run-up to Christmas 2008.
You want the proof? - Well, take a look
at these beauties which
have all recently launched, or are launching
in the next few weeks:
See what I mean?- If you've been waiting,
like me, then I'd suggest
you're about to hit paydirt with these
releases, 'cos these look like
being the ultimate collections of our
favourite toon series. Sure, most
of them don't have any decent extras,
and all of them are collections
of previously released material. Why
- darnit - there are even some
risible, contemptible triple-dips here.
But these must surely be the best
releases we're ever likely to see, and frankly,
completists like you
and me have never had it so good!
Small and Wobbly exhibition (15.10.08)
That's "Small" as in Peter Firmin
and "SmallFilms". And "Wobbly" as in
those great Wobbling Wonders from Bob Godfrey.
And the exhibition in
question is being held at the Sidney
Cooper Gallery in Canterbury,
from 1st November.
Animate will take a closer look at the development
of British animation
for children through the works of these two
Toon Gods, with original
artwork on show, from Henry's Cat, the Clangers,
Noggin the Nog, etc.
And there's more, because the exhibition will also
made via Anifest's 2007 Home Grown Talent workshops,
made by teams from five secondary schools from
Oh, but, what's Anifest? - Well, that's Canterbury
Anifest and it too
starts on 1st November, with lots of animated
restrospectives, workshops and even more Toon Gods
on show in
the form of guest speakers like Curtis Jobling,
Barry Purves and
Richard Goleszowski, alongside talks from rising
Run Wrake. They'll be talking about their
work for "Frankenstein's
Cat", "Hamilton Mattress" and
"Shaun the Sheep" amongst other
It all sounds rather good, doesn't it? - Canterbury's
an awfully long
way from The Hound's stomping ground, in the
wilds of north-east
Scotland, but if you're in the area you really
should check it out!
So the Hound is getting himself ready for this
year's awards season.
He's waiting to see who'll be nominated for
this year's Children's
in a week-or-so... Only... Shaun the Sheep
has made a wonderfully
pre-emptive dash for the spotlight, because his
just been nominated for an International
"Shaun the Sheep" is one of four series
put forward in the Children
& Young People catergory of the 36th
International Emmy® Awards,
being held on the 24th November.
Wow. That nomination's a rare honour. And
actually winning the thing
is an even rarer feat. British toons
have walked off with this prize on just
three previous occassions:
1984 - Wind in the Willows
1991 - The Fool of the World and the Flying
2003 - Robbie the Reindeer: Legend of the
It bodes well that the Aardman/CBBC
combination have been there,
and done that before, with Robbie's
Lost Tribe film. But more importantly,
there's the fact that "Shaun the Sheep"
is an absoloute gem of a series,
and it's fully deserving of that coveted
title. Is there a better toon
currently on tv? Once again, the Aardman
team have blended great
dollops of Beano comic humour with some
exquisite production values.
In fact, this
is currently right up there, at the top of The Hound's
Christmas wish list, because that first
series is something he can watch
and savour, over and over and over again...
But the fleecy fun doesn't end with
Shaun, of course, because we'll
soon be savouring the pleasures of a
spin-off from a spin-off, in the form
of "Timmy Time" (52x10mins).
Aardman's new show (stop-motion again)
focuses on a woolly three-year-old who
lives over the hill and down the
lane from Shaun's farm. The production is
supposed to be aimed towards
younger viewers but, frankly, Aardman's
toons seem to reach out to
every generation, regardless of their
Oh, but we're jumping the gun. Today
is Shaun's day. Let's keep our
hooves crossed for him next month!
If you're a fan of the Brothers McLeod, and
have fallen under the
latino spell of Pedro
and Frankensheep, then you'll be delighted to hear
that the toon twosome just unleashed a new
toon creation for our amusement.
Dogg stars - er - dogg. And he's a dog (the
name is a bit of a give away).
And he's cute and clever and above all, very
persistant, as he chases,
sleuths and poos through his
first three short films over on the
newly-launched 4mations web site, from Channel4.
site has great potential. It's a new portal for short
animation, with folks uploading toons to view
online - gratis. There
were a few hiccups during launch week, as
the available bandwidth
was eaten up. But it's all sorted now, and it's
animated content that you'd be mad to miss...
It's funny, The Hound was recently approached
by a company offering
just this kind of set up at Toonhound, and
Toonhound TV sounds very
big and exciting indeed - if there's space
in the market for such a thing.
So here's a shout to the animation
community. If you have an original
series pilot or maybe an exclusive promo,
or interstitial for a new toon
that's "coming soon", then get
in touch. Maybe there's scope for TheHound
to announce your creation via his own TV player?
- This little site exists
to celebrate UK toon series and films, so
to get some walking, talking
content online at last would be a dream come
Mr Men fun (08.10.08)
Art Gallery is holding a special Mr Men Fun Day,
this coming Saturday, 11th October. The gallery's
promising lots of
fun for the littl'uns, with activities and
themed games, and a special
appearance from Mr Bump himself... But, but,
but... this isn't just
for kids, because there's also a very handsome
exhibition on the history
of these fab characters, interviews with Adam
- as ever - some incredible artwork for
Mummy and Daddy to buy!
Naturally, this event is being tied in with
Chorion's all-new, and
somewhat controversial, Mr Men Show which
arrived on DVD.
But let's give them their dues, because they haven't
of the originals. Indeed, the rights owners
have kept Roger Hargreaves' classic
creations in the spotlight, alongside the new show. And that's
something we should applaud.
for the Animation Art Gallery. Well, really. Their Mr Men & Little
Miss art programme is a fanboy's dream.
Especially those picturebook
The fun starts from 1:00pm, at the AAG's new
home in the Movieum
of London, at County Hall, right alongside
the London Eye. And if
you can't make it, don't despair, because
the exhibition is in place
for the rest of the month!
Now here's a big read. The
History of the Beano: The Story So Far
has just been published by Waverley
Books and it's a weighty thing
indeed. Its 352 pages trace the history
of "The Beano", through the
decades. There's lots of reprinted strips,
and a stack of background
material covering the genesis and development
of the comic and
its changing faces throughout its 70-year
This really is a big book, in all senses
of the word. It measures a whopping
30.2 x 29.2 x 4.2cm and frankly, is
heavy enough to shatter your coffee
table, rather than sit on it. But the
those big pages give the text and
the strips plenty of space to roam across
the page - the presentation
is super. And there's lots of fascinating
info to feast upon, as compiled
by Morris Heggie, Christopher Riches
and a pool of artists and writers
who have contributed to the comic over
the years. If you're a Beano fan,
or even just a fan of UK comics, this book
is a must-have!
BICS is here! (03.10.08)
need a plug? - If you're a True Blue comics fan, you'll
surely already know that this weekend - 4th-5th
October - is BICS
weekend. That's short for the Birmingham International
and it's being held at Thinktank, Millennium
Point, Birmingham. This
is the UK's premier comics event, where you
of your favourite strips, from both sides
of the Pond, take part in events
and competitions and screenings and - above
all - buy, buy, buy
back issues, new editions, signed copies, commissioned
lithographs and art prints until your wallet
is left bleeding and
dazed on the floor...
Credit Crunch be darned, there are comics to be
There's not much more one can say about BICS, except
if you consider yourself a fan, if you read
and collect comics,
if you're a budding comic artist or writer,
then this should be
the Red Letter weekend on your calendar, and
you should be
making a beeline for Birmingham. So scram. Right
bother reading the rest of this page. Don't
dally or delay. Just
go, go, go by rail, road or jetpack or cape
or whatever you
have to hand...
Gallery is hosting an exhibition of the work of
Steve Bell this month. "Steve Bell: Drawing
Politics and other animals"
runs from October 8th to November 16th, and we're
told it will trace
twelve key themes from Bell's last thirty years
as a leading political
"...the Rise and Fall of Lady Thatcher
and John Major,
Tony Blair and New Labour, the War in Afghanistan,
the War in Iraq as well as various US and UK elections,
coming right upto date with his sketchbooks
from the recent US conventions."
Most folks know Steve's scathing "If..."
strip which features in The
Guardian newspaper. But he also has a Fleetway St. connection,
having started out doing fun
comic work in the likes of Jackpot comic.
From small acorns, eh?
Well, the press blurb tells us that this exhibition
will feature thirty
framed pieces, accompanied by a handsome collection
A6-size sketchbooks which feature his initial sketches
You'll find them in the Upper Gallery of The
Lightbox, and better still,
entrance is free. Best of all, we're told that
Mr Bell himself will be
at the gallery to talk about his career and work
practice, on Tuesday
October 21 at 7.00pm. Check out the web
site for more info, opening
Er. Well. It's like this... July and August
were tough. As you might
have noted, Toonhound went on something of
a wild ride as the site
was transferred to a new hosting package.
The old pages were erased
completely from their original server, before being
put back online, and
during the interim period - nigh on five days,
I believe - there were
missing pages, and dropped images on the site
you looked. In other words, that upgrade was
And it also got the me looking at the site
again, in totality, and
everywhere I looked I saw errors and glitches
Missing information, like series credits and
episode details. And
dead links aplenty. It started with the comics
section - a collection
of pages so poorly handled, thus far. I thought
I'd better spruce
up what I had; dust them down, so that I'd
be ready to finally start
expanding the selection. But when I'd finished
that not altogether
small task, I realised how many of the
TvToons pages were also
in decline... and the number of series and
films I still had to index...
You can see how it all snowballed. Toonhound
is very much a
work in progress. And oftentimes over the
last eight years, that
work has transformed into a heavy, heavy millstone
to bear. It eats
up time like you wouldn't believe - and thank
you for your patience
thus far, because I'm finally getting to the crux
of this posting - because
I soon realised I'd have to make a bit of
a sacrifice last month, in order
to carry out some of those essential repairs.
I'd have to skip a month
of toon news.
See, the thing about this news page is, each
incoming story leapfrogs
to the top of my "to do" list. The
news demands my immediate attention,
dragging me away from the index pages, the upgrades,
elsewhere. And when I'm done with it, the
needs of the Real World quickly
lead me away for another day. After all, Toonhound
is really nothing
more than an old dawg's hobby site. It's not
a career. Sure, it brings
in a few casual pennies that are very gratefully
received (especially in
these crunchy times). And sure, I'm striving
for it to eventually become a
database of news and info that no cartoon convert
can be without.
But it's not a career job, and I can't work
on it 24/7. I have a
mortgage to pay, after all...
So there you go. The news items slipped off
the agenda. They had to.
But they're back on now. And thank you for
asking, but here in September,
The Hound is feeling as if he's back on top
of the site. There's still an
awful lot of work to do here - a ridiculous
amount - but the worst of
the current backlog has, I think, been breached.
Which means that
a normal news service can now resume...