Pooch says 'Welcome to Toonhound!'TheHound - an irregular round up of toon news and chatter from the uk

  ...cartoon news interviews and views from the UK!  Union Jack


  british toon
  news & chatter
  animated films
  & shorts

  animated series

  animation studios

  & people

  string, hand
  & finger puppets

  characters, strips
  & comic books

  British animators
  & illustrators



  Click here for Frankie Stein... Click here for Fungus...
   Click here for Bunty...  Click here for Wallace...





Toons for sale at ToonsToGo!



                                                              September 2004
Extra! Extra! - Read all the Toon News!
More ch-changes...
Puppets, interviews and - er - Star Wars...  More...

    D-Day for Dan
Dandy comic relaunch announced...

    Call him Shaun

Shaun the Sheep gets his own series...

    Pat's plaque

Pat's Post Office presentation...

    That's Dandy - part 2

Dandy comic blows away records...

    Pat's back

Postman Pat on the BBC....
    Peppa Pig - from Astley Baker Davies! THREE LITTLE PIGGIES
Astley Baker Davies talk about
Peppa Pig...

      news archive »      interviews »

   D-Day for Dan

    It's official. "The Dandy" isn't going anywhere, apart from "up". That's
    because publishers DC Thomson have finally put to bed months of unruly
    speculation about their classic comic. From October 7th, "The Dandy"
    gets bigger and broader in its appeal, with new strips, facelifts for older
    stars and plenty of free gifts to boot. And accompanying the relaunch
    will be a wave of advertising and promotion across all media.

    The relaunch follows on from a whole bunch of research commissioned by
    the publishers, asking today's kids what they wanted from a weekly comic.

      Dan is "desperate" no more!
    As a prelude to the relaunch, we've already had a big fat pdf. Press Release
    from the publishers, and a swathe of tie-in news stories on the BBC, ITV, and
    in the national press. Much of the tabloid news has focused on that star
    turn, Desperate Dan, with news that he's to become slightly more "cartoony"
    in design, and that he's to lose his gun and spurs and become more PC for
    a modern audience. Well, that's actually slightly skewed, because although
    these changes are occurring, if anything, Dan is reverting to his cowboy past
    once more, which is great for older fans - and he'll still be drawn by the brilliant
    Ken Harrison.

    The strip generating the most buzz stars a chap called Dreadlock Holmes,
    who's supposedly a streetwise "cool kid". The strip's being drawn by Steve White
    and hopefully, the lad won't be as irritating as Fleetway's Watford Gapp "King of
    the Rap" who sprung up in "Whizzer & Chips" in the late 80s. Then there's Jak,
    a trouble-making school boy and "Office Hours", which will take readers behind the
    scenes of a fictional editorial team as it struggles to put a weekly comic together.
    That one seems to be in keeping with past strips from both DC Thomson and
    Fleetway, and surely leaves the door open for many in-jokes and tomfoolery.

    Elsewhere Bananaman, Ollie Fliptrick, Blinky and Owen Goal remain,
    and they'll still be drawn by their usual artists. Cuddles and Dimples return,
    but they'll now be drawn by Nigel Parkinson.

    So will it all work? - Will "The Dandy" scale unprecedented heights upon its
    relaunch? - We'll just have to wait and see. Look out for the first revamped
    edition on October 7th, complete with a free rubber tongue gift
. Let's hope
    it blows a big fat raspberry at the opposition...


   Call him Shaun

    Here's some cracking news from CBBC today. They've just commissioned
    a 40 part series from Aardman Animation, starring and named after,
    Wallace and Gromit's woolly friend Shaun the Sheep.

Shaun The Sheep  - from egg-timer to series star!

    As you're probably well aware, Shaun was the canny lamb who costarred
    in the third Wallace & Gromit film, "A Close Shave" and went on to grace
    innumerable Tee-shirts and licensed products. CBBC's controller, Dorothy
    Prior, has opted to fully-fund the new series which starts production at
    the end of the year. That's an interesting move, because most toons of
    this ilk are funded via co-production money. C21media speculates it might
    be to be meet the channel's government-imposed obligations to the UK
    animation sector. It'll be even more interesting to see if other series get
    the same treatment. The Beeb's connections to "Wallace & Gromit" extend
    right back to A Grand Day Out, and in the past, the channel has made a
    great fanfare about their association, putting the stop-motion stars on the
    cover of "Radio Times" and even commissioning a special series of
    "Wallace & Gromit" idents for their Christmas broadcasts.

    Shaun's not the only Nick Park creation to earn himself a spin-off show.
    Last year, ITV fanfared the arrival of their "Creature Comforts" series with
    a groundbreaking peak-time slot just before "Coronation Street". Those
    talking animals went on to score lots of awards kudos too.     

    "Shaun the Sheep" should reach our screens in 2006. Awareness for the
    production ought to be sky-high around then, given that the "Wallace & Gromit"
    movie should be snaffling up box office takings around the world. According
    to the BBC, the new series will see Shaun getting up to various antics, including
    synchronised swimming in the sheep-dip and dressing up as a scarecrow.
    And by 'eck, this could be a cracking little production, it really could...

Aardman Animation

   Pat's plaque

Some sweet news today, regarding "Postman Pat" and his creator John
    Cunliffe, and the Post Office which inspired his jolly creation. You may recall
    that the office at Beast Banks, near Kendall in the Lake District was closed
    down in June 2003. Well, now an official commemorative plaque has been
    unveiled upon the site, honouring its famous literary connection. A rather
    splendid gesture indeed, and handsomely-timed, given Pat's recent return
    to our screens...

    As for the site itself, well, incredibly Mrs Goggin's Post office has now been
    converted in to a living room. What's more, there's an interesting twist to
    this tale because the the plaque was officially unveiled by the Mayor of
    Kendall, who just so happens to be the wife of the last sub-postmaster
    of the office, who just so happen to own said building...

    Pat's twenty-five years young now, and I don't mind saying it again:
    His new show is a treat...

                                                                           More: BBC News


   That's Dandy - Part 2

    Goodness. There we were, just a few short months ago, celebrating the
    record-breaking sale of a first-edition "Beano" comic at auction. Well now
    look what's happened: That first-edition of "The Dandy" that Compal
    offered up for auction in May has gone and trumped it. And how.

    This particular first-edition was in practically mint condition and what's
    more, it was the only-known edition to still have the original free gift included
    (an express whistler that still works). The estimate was put between
    £3,5000 - £4,000, but given that records had just been broken by that
    "Beano" comic, interest in the final figure was high. In the end, the
    comic was sold for a jaw-dropping £20,350. That's more than £8,000
    higher than that earlier record. And it was sold, funnily enough, to
    the same publicity-shy chap who'd bought that "Beano" too.

    "The Dandy"s record-busting sale comes at a time when speculation
    about the comic's future is still rife. Depending on where you look for info,
    the title is either perilously close to being merged with "The Beano",
    or dropped all together, or on the cusp of a spanking new facelift and
    revival. Some talk even hints at the removal of Desperate Dan from
    the comic, because he's considered too old-fashioned for today's readers.
    But The Hound still reckons much of that doom-laden chatter is just that:
    Idle chatter. DC Thomson have cleverly kept their comics alive for
    seventy years, whilst others have fallen foul of the changes in publishing
    trends. Dan may be "desperate", but his comic probably isn't. Especially
    with all this record-busting publicity swilling around...       

Beano town  Compal Comics  


   Pat's back

   At last, this week we've seen the launch of the all-new "Postman Pat" on
   the BBC. It's been quite a wait, mind. Entertainment Rights fanfared their plans
   for an all-new series back in September 2002, and the extended episode
   "The Greendale Rocket" premiered on DVD last year. But finally, fans can
   catch up with Pat's terrestrial arrival...

    Postman Pat rides The Greendale Rocket

   The BBC2 broadcasts opened with that self-same Greendale Rocket story, and
   it's a rather fine little film. When the school kids find the old Greendale train
   the whole village works to get the engine back to rights in time for the opening of
   the new railway station. Pat, Jess, and all of their old friends are present and
   correct, but Greendale just got bigger, with more kids at the local school,
   and we now have the Bains family - Ajay and Nisha, and their kids Meera
   and Nikhil - here to restore and maintain the titular train.

   As animated by Cosgrove Hall, with puppets by Mackinnon and Saunders,
   Greendale and its population are both instantly familiar and subtly modernised.
   The effects team bring us virulent country weather; torrential rain and its ilk.
   There are some lovely little touches, like blowing leaves and rippling water.
   And modern movie-making techniques allow us to see some dynamic angles
   on Pat's red van as it twists and turns on its  merry way. Then there's the Greendale
   Rocket itself, transformed from rust to restoration and accompanied by clouds
   of pishing steam. The major new additions, however, come in the form of mouths.
   That's right, Pat and the gang now "talk" to one another!

   Fans will be even more smitten by Jess. Pat's pal is always up to something
   in the background. The poor moggy gets blown away with Pat's letters in one windy
   scene. Plus there's a lovely little sequence featuring Pat and Ted, in which Jess is
   seen sliding side to side on the bonnet of the post van as the two chaps lean
   on the vehicle...

   In all, then, this was a lovely little tale well told with new songs to jig along to
   and one hopes the rest of the series is just as good. The Beeb have gone to town
   with their broadcasts, adding interstitials before and after the episodes and even
   reproducing a full-size version of Mrs Goggins' Post Office. If you missed "The
   Greendale Rocket", remember, the DVD is still available. Meanwhile, the series
   continues weekdays at 8.30am on BBC2 - Welcome back, Pat!
                                                                            More: Postman Pat


   More ch-changes...  

    Ah me, a webmaster's work is seemingly never done. As regular visitors to this
    little place will know, I've been slowly but surely working my way through the
    various site sections over the last couple of months, upgrading pages and adding
    new series and creations to the indexes. So after a brief delay whilst I caught
    up with a bit of offline living, I'm now turning my attentions to Toonhound's very
    poorly puppet section. Them there pages have been sorely neglected of late,
    with dead links a-plenty and old index pages hanging around which date right
    back to the start of my online enterprise. Stay tooned for lots of updates,
    amendments, revisions and additions there over the coming weeks...

    And stay tooned too, for another Toonhound interview, online as soon as
    possible. You might recall, last month I promised you another Q&A with a
    former Fleetway artist. Well, that chap is the multi-talented Glyn Wall. He's
    one of Fleetway's unsung heroes of yore. He created Tom Horror's World
    and went on to write scripts for very many of your favourite Fleetway stars.
    Glyn's little page has been pushed back in the schedule by an unfortunate
    turn of events. My Inbox fell apart at the start of the month, resulting in the
    loss of a stack of correspondance and contact info - Glyn's included.
    It's been hugely frustrating putting everything back in order...
         No Dad! - Don't him him!

    Now let's turn from frustration to sadness, because tomorrow (20th Sept)
    is going to be a very strange day for The Hound. Why? Well, that's because
    it's the day that a certain trilogy of DVD discs gets their much-anticipated
    mega-launch across galaxies far far away and beyond. Those DVDs are the
    original "Star Wars" films, of course, and they're pertinent and poignant for
    myself because of the close family connections involved. My father was the
    fight arranger on the three films. He co-ordinated all of those flashing lightsabre
    duels and he also appeared on screen as the infamous Tatooine Tusken Raider,
    various Stormtroopers, an Imperial Scout, Larouf Gafoe, and others. What's
    more, he even gave Yours Truly a look-in on "fame", by somehow scooping
    me and a brother a stint playing Jawas in "A New Hope", and a third brother
    of mind got a blink-and-you'll-miss-him role in "Empire". On top of that, the
    family got to attend Gary Kurtz' fabulous "Star Wars" Christmas parties
    we even got to travel with the crew for three months during filming of "Return
    of the Jedi" (or "Blue Harvest" as it was surreptitiously known at the time).

    If you're a regular here at Toonhound, you'll know my father passed away
    from a stroke, back at the end of March this year. In his latter years
    he spent many a happy time abroad at numerous Sci-Fi conventions around
    the globe where he meet fans and talk about those "Star Wars" days. And
    one of the very last things he did was to sit down for an interview to be included
    in the trilogy box sets. I've not seen what's on it, but he told us he was chatting
    for over an hour, so as you can imagine, the family will be intrigued to see
    how much makes it in to the final edit. Intrigued and saddened, of course, to
    see his final "performance". But I reckon he couldn't have asked for a
    better epitaph...

    When I can, I try to shoehorn time for my father's web site in to my schedule.
    He picked up more than 1,000 film and television credits over the years
    and I've made it my duty to track down as many appearances as possible
    and identfy them on the site. "Peter Spotting" has always been a fun family
    game, and it's picked up even greater significance since his death...

    Here's to you, then, Dad.

        Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'     thehound@toonhound.com

                                      home »     news archive »    

  all characters © to their respective estates/creators / F2000-2004