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Toonhound presents...






Peppa Pig art for sale at The Animation Art Gallery!

      October 2008
 Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!

      Top dogg

    A new toon from
    the Brothers McLeod...

     Mr Men fun

    A Mr Men art event...

     A BIG Beano book

    One for your Christmas list...

     BICS is here!

    The BIG one, this weekend...

     Drawing Politics

    A Steve Bell exhibition...

   Looking perky
Pinky and Perky are here at last...

    Les Barton
   Farewell to another Fleetway star...

    Small plans

   Bagpuss and the Clangers to return?...

    One of the Family

   Carl Giles at the Cartoon Museum...

    Are you a completist?

   Great DVDs a-coming...

    A Small and Wobbly exhibition

   There's lots on in Canterbury...

    Bleat this

   Shaun gets an Emmy nomination...

    Why so quiet?
   So what happened to August?...  more »

   news archive »     interviews »      giveaways »

    Looking perky    

    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 Perky!

    "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, way
    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:

    Pinky - as featured in the all-new "Pinky & Perky Show" from Pinky & Perky Enterprises Perky - as featured in the all-new "Pinky & Perky Show" from Pinky & Perky Enterprises

    But The Hound's not at all aggreived, because whether they be
    puppets or CG toons, it's the talent behind the porcine pair that
    really counts. And these two have the Picture Production Company
    and Lupus 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 and Oriane
    Messina (Green Wing, Smack The Pony) and Toonhound pal
    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 run...

    Les Barton    

    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. Steve Holland offers us a
    far better obituary than The Hound could possibly muster, and Lew Stringer
    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...

    Harry's Haunted House as drawn by Les Barton
© Egmont UK Ltd

    Les Barton's Fleetway strips included Donovan's Dad and
    Harriet & Her Horse for "Cor!!" He drew  LIttle Saver and Knight
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 were scattered
    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 to
    those titles - a perfect example being this Cor!! Summer Special
    in which his artwork crops up on almost every other page...

    Leslie Alfred Barton died on 20th October at a Nursing Home, not far
    from his home town of Uxbridge. He was 85.


   Small plans  

    Well now, it looks like those SmallFilms classics Bagpuss and
    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 complaint from
    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. 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...



    One of the Family    

    Goodness, this has been a busy month for cartoon events and
    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 us more:

    "His studio is recreated complete with desk, drawing board,
    reference material and many of the dozens of toys given to
    him, some made by his fans. Also revealed are less familiar
    aspects of his career including his time as an animator, his
    propaganda work for the Ministry of Information and his
    work as cartooning war correspondent for the Express..."

    "Giles - One of the Family"

    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 Russell Street,
     London WC1A 2HH. For more info, check out their web site...

              More: The Cartoon Museum  The British Cartoon Archive
    Are you a completist?  

     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 easily hoodwinked
     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:

      1.The Perppa Pig Collection   2.Paddington Bear Deluxe Suitcase Set  3.The Wombles Deluxe Set

    1. The Peppa Pig Collection

    2. Paddington Bear - Deluxe Suitcase Set

    3. The Wombles - Deluxe Set

      4.Wind in the Willows the Complete Collection  5.Shaun the Sheep Complete First Series   6.Thunderbirds Complete Series Digistack

    4. Wind in the Willows - The Complete Collection

    5. Shaun the Sheep - The Complete First Series

    6. Thunderbirds - Complete Series Digistack

      7. Count Duckula the Complete Collection   8.Charlie & lola the Absoloutely Complete Series Two
10.   Thomas & friends - The Classic Collection 1-7

    7. Count Duckula - The Complete Collection

    8. Charlie and Lola - The Absolutely Complete Series Two

    9. Little Princess - Complete Series One Box Set

10.Thomas & Friends - The Classic Collection 1-7

     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!


    A Small and Wobbly exhibition   

    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 include animations
    made via Anifest's 2007 Home Grown Talent workshops, featuring films
    made by teams from five secondary schools from across the
    Canterbury District...

   Anifest - Canterbury Animation Festival 2008

    Oh, but, what's Anifest? - Well, that's Canterbury Anifest and it too
    starts on 1st November, with lots of animated screenings and
    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 stars like
    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!

                        More: Sidney Cooper Gallery  Canterbury Anifest

    Bleat this  

     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 BAFTAs,
     in a week-or-so... Only... Shaun the Sheep has made a wonderfully
     pre-emptive dash for the spotlight, because his Aardman/CBBC series
     just been nominated for an International Emmy® award...

    "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 Ship
    2003 - Robbie the Reindeer: Legend of the Lost Tribe

     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 baby 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 age...
     Oh, but we're jumping the gun. Today is Shaun's day. Let's keep our
     hooves crossed for him next month!

                                                                More: Shaun the Sheep

    Top dogg   

    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.

    Watch dogg online - right now!

    The 4mations 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 delivering exciting
    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 true!...
   Mr Men fun  

    London's Animation 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 Hargreaves, and
    - 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 has just arrived on DVD.
    But let's give them their dues, because they haven't abandoned fans
    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.

    As for the Animation Art Gallery. Well, really. Their Mr Men & Little
    Miss art programme is a fanboy's dream. Especially those picturebook
    giclees... drool...

     Mr Silly - a giclee print from FL!P and The Animation Art Gallery

    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!

                                                  More: The Animation Art Gallery


     A BIG Beano book   

     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 history...

     "The History of The Beano" - new from Waverley Books!

     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!  

    Does this 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 Comics Show,
    and it's being held at Thinktank, Millennium Point, Birmingham. This
    is the UK's premier comics event, where you can meet the creators
    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 artwork,
    lithographs and art prints until your wallet is left bleeding and
    dazed on the floor...

    Credit Crunch be darned, there are comics to be bought!

    There's not much more one can say about BICS, except that,
    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 now. Don't
    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...

                                                                    More: BICS


    Drawing Politics    

    Woking's Lightbox 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
    cartoonist, including:

    "...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 of characters
    from the recent US conventions."

    Drawing Politics and other animals - - a Steve Bell exhibition at the Lightbox Gallery

    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 of Steve's
    A6-size sketchbooks which feature his initial sketches and observations.
    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
    times, etc...

                                                                 More: The Lightbox

   Why so quiet?  

    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 everywhichway
    you looked. In other words, that upgrade was pretty stressful...

    And it also got the me looking at the site again, in totality, and
    everywhere I looked I saw errors and glitches and ommissions.
    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...
    and... and...

    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, the corrections
    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...
    Till next time!

        Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'

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