This week sees When
the Wind Blows finally coming to DVD here in
the UK, courtesy of Channel 4 video. This cautionary
tale was adapted from
Raymond Briggs' extraordinary picture book by
TVC producer John Coates
and director Jimmy Murakami in 1986, and its stark
message rings just as
true today as it did back at the height of the
For those who need reminding, the book and film
tell the story of a nuclear
holocaust, as experienced through the eyes of an ordinary,
Jim and Hilda Bloggs ride out the storm in their home,
as they follow the pitiful
guidelines presented to them in an inept government
guide. But their plucky
spirit won't see them through this Mother of All Wars,
and slowly, inexorably
they succumb to the effects of the Fall Out, right
before our eyes...
The film features a clever blend of techniques.
The camera stalks around a
three-dimensional house which is rich with colour at
the start of the film,
before the bomb blasts it into a charred and twisted
ruin. Hilda escapes the
oncoming storm via a series of flighty, free-flowing
daydreams, and when the
bomb itself goes off, we witness the minutia of destruction via
a collection of
extraordinary penciled scenes. Sir John Mills
and Dame Peggy Ashcroft voice
the leads splendidly. Mills brings with him the
gravitas of all those war films
in which he starred in his heyday. But this is
a different kind of war altogether,
fought at a distance, by an unseen enemy, and
no amount of camaraderie or
steadfastness can defeat it...
an additional "making of", shot at the time of
the film's release, as well as an up-to-date and
informative little interview
with Raymond Briggs, filmed recently at his home.
It beggar's belief to think that the official
guidelines presented in this
film could ever have been put to paper. But they
were, and "When the
Wind Blows" highlights this appalling inadequacy
A lot of flobbadob (24.09.05)
Silas Hawkins has been in touch this week. Silas
has provided all the
voices for the rather excellent Summerton
Mill series. And a top show it
is, too, deserving to free itself from its "Tikkabilla"
strand, and get its
very own stand-alone series...
But more important than Dan and Fluffa and the
gang is The Hound's
rather clumsy faux pas. You see, Silas is the
son of the voice maestro
himself, Peter "Pugwash" Hawkins, and
in my infinite wisdom I unfortunately
referred to him as being the "late"
Mr. Hawkins on this site. I'm not sure
if it was the lateness of the hour, or simply
too much haste, but there
you go. The error slipped in. And Silas would
like me to remind one and
all that his father is most definitely still with
Peter actually retired from the acting profession some
13 years ago,
due to declining health, but as Silas says:
"He is very much alive and taking pleasure in my
in Summerton Mill and other animations..."
Those "other animations" including the
magnificently odd Rogue Farm,
which was trumpeted here back in March...
But Silas' work with The Hound wasn't yet done,
dogged, he has proceeded to scotch a rather irritating
that potty duo, Bill
and Ben.It concerns the farty origins of that word
"flobbadob". Now it has been widely reported
over the years that Hilda
Brabben, the show's creator, coined the term after
hearing her young
brothers break wind in the bath. Indeed, the story
first - er - "broke"
back in eighties, and was repeated
around the time of Hilda's death
in 2002. But just like those foolish "Pugwash"
rumours which still float
around in the ether of pub conversation, that
"fart in a bath" story is
simply a load of hot air. Here's Silas for you:
word 'flobbadob' is the word 'flowerpot' translated into
'Oddle-poddle' the language my father invented for
Ben, the Flowerpot Men. For each episode of the show
would be given a script in English which he would then
translate into Oddle-Poddle.
e.g. in the episode 'Scarecrow' there occurred the
do you think of that?- gloves as well as a hat!', which
'Woddle oo teep a dop? Gloob a woddle a hop!'
The 'fart in the bath' story was trotted out last year
in an episode
of Stephen Fry's otherwise admirable quiz show 'Q.I.',featuring
John Sessions and Clive Anderson. It (the story) first
some 20 years ago in a newspaper article to which my
immediately wrote a rebuttal, and which was obviously
out by some BBC researcher for 'Q.I.' It may be 'Quite
but, in this case, it just ain't true..."
So there you have it, folks,
another urban myth has been officially put to
bed. Although, in its place is already another. You
obviously had too much time on his hands. If
he's to be believed, Summerton
Mill is, in fact, acting as socialist propaganda
for innocent kids.
That's right! - The turning of that there
mill wheel actually represents the
wheel of change, breaking the shackles of
capitalism and taking us to a
political idyll where we can all be friends,
sing propagandic songs and
work the collective together in harmony...
The 2005 Pitney Bowes ‘Pushing the Envelope’ charity
auction will soon
be upon us again. This is the
second year for this top event in which the public
can bid on a fab selection of envelopes doodled
on by the stars.
This year's feast of celebrity contributors includes
the likes of Sir Ian McKellen,
Stephen Fry, Graham Norton, Kate Winslet, Sir
Steve Redgrave, Jenny Agutter,
Shirley Bassey, Jacqueline Wilson and - yes, my luvs
- Bruce Forsyth. The
organisers believe they'll have over 50 celebrity
enevelopes up for auction
duting the event. Of particular note to us
toon fans however, are the those
featuring scribbles from Raymond Briggs, Kipper Williams,
(Ghost World), Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo), Rod Campbell
and Tony Hart.
Of course, these aren't really "scribbles"
at all, but miniature works of art,
perfect for your living room wall...
The donated envelopes will be auctioned on eBay.co.uk
starting on 3rd October
and running for 10 days. In the UK, all funds raised
will be donated to the National
Literacy Trust, and you can find out more
about the event and its contributors
official event site...
News has just come in regarding young Cassie and
her purple partner
Marion, the erstwhile "Bounty Hamster". You
remember the show, right?
This fab little creation sprung forth from the
twisted minds of Alan Gilbey
and Dave Freedman, when they were still Peafur-ing,
and each 11min
episode had them and their creative team shoehorning
in a black hole's
worth of Sci-Fi references for our delight. And
what's more, the series
actually accrued itself a BAFTA nomination, despite
CiTV's best efforts
to hide the hamster in its schedules.
Well, apparently, co-producers Silver Fox Films
have just signed an
international distribution deal with Target Entertainment,
for this zappy,
happy production, and they've plans to showcase the
toon at this year's
Mipcom Junior in October. Which means folks around
the world may
soon get the chance to oggle the contents of Marion's
for themselves, instead of relying on the word-of-mouth
from us Brits.
What's more, sneaking into the middle of the Silver
Fox press release
is a reference to Target's plans for the show here
in the UK. And they
include the release of a DVD in the near future.And
that's galactic news
indeed, because our spaced-out duo are long overdue
their own shiny,
happy, circular thing!...
"go", again? - Gerry Anderson seems to think so.
Last night, Channel4 broadcast "Zippy and
an extension on the familiar "Top 100"
format in which the two puppet
stars from "Rainbow" counted down through
their favourite tv puppet
creations. And there, at number 7 on the list
were those "Thunderbirds".
In and around the banter, we were presented with
a brief clip of
Gerry in his Pinewood production office, in which
he stated, very
decisively, that he was in discussions to bring
back to our television screens...
So once more, the Anderson Rumour Mill cranks
in to gear. Gerry seems
to make a habit of these grandiose statements.
When the "Thunderbirds"
feature film was finally announced, a couple of
years back, Gerry took to our screens
to tell us that a live-action "Captain Scarlet" film was on
way. Though that has yet to materialize, his oft-mooted
finally did take off, of course, with spectacular
results for all to see.
So what of this latest tasty tidbit? Well, this
would certainly be one heck
of a turnaround for Carlton Intl (the current
TV rights holders). You see, not
so long ago - just before the feature film launched
and nose-dived - they
commissioned a rather talented team of folks to
produce a fantastic
"Thunderbirds" trailer reel, featuring
brand new puppets, and just a dash
of CGI. The results were fantastic. Here was International
on our screens in puppet form! - But dear old
Carlton got cold feet.
They were worried about the cost and the appeal,
so they quietly
ditched their plans...
...And now there's Gerry's announcement, which
suggests they've finally
had a change of heart. And what's more, it dovetails
very neatly with
earlier rumours, reported
here, regarding Gerry's plans for another
new show. Which is all very exciting indeed, if
tinged with just a hint
of regret. You see, Gerry's plans would surely
involve a CGI "Thunderbirds",
given the success of "Scarlet". And
yes, that would be absoloutely FAB.
Gosh, it's a salivating thought. But it would
also mean that the very
brave new puppet format tested out by Carlton
will, presumably, never
see the light of day.
But - hey - here's to a CGI "Thunderbirds".
We're counting down
Strike me (17.09.05)
Well, it's official. "Striker", the wild and
wonderful CG soccer strip is indeed
returning to a daily paper (see Striking
Back). And in a twist that can only
have come straight out of Warbury itself, that paper appears
to be "The Sun".
That's right, "Striker" is returning to the
pages of the very same newspaper
it came from. A paper that reportedly gave creator Pete
Nash a very rough
time when he branched out into his ill-fated comics
How bizarre! - How ridiculous! - How very Warbury!
Presumably, this means "The Sun" will be pushing
aside their shallow
replacement strip "The Premiership", to make
way for the Warriors?
You know, you really must applaude the efforts of Striker
3D to turn around
a very difficult suggestion, even if it feels like they're
stepping back in
to the jaws of a lion.
One of the pleasures about the arrival of that weekly
"Striker" comic was
the detailing of the behind-the-scenes antics in the
3D offices, as described
by Pete Nash himself in his weekly editorial. All the ups, the
downs, the highs
and lows of his publishing venture were spelt out for
the readership, as they
happened. And then folks could participate at length,
in healthy debates
at the official
web site. The lack of funds. Circulation problems. Sponsorship
problems. Pete shared it all, fearlessly, and it gave
him a unique connection
with the readership. Hells bells, you felt for the guy,
you really did!
"Nashy" had an ongoing gripe with "The
Sun" regarding their yellow card
behaviour. The animosity was almost tangible.
And now we have this
incredible 180. Oh, hell. The Striker 3D
team have had such a bumpy ride
over the last couple of years, they must be desperate for
- and sanity - in their lives. Hopefully now, they'll
find it, with their old
national newspaper embracing them once more...
Remember "Popetown"? - This was the controversial
show commissioned and
produced by BBC3 back in 2003/4, before being pulled
from the schedules and
sentenced to a protracted period in Cartoon Limbo. Well,
Entertainment have released the toon from its animated
purgatory, as a
two-disc DVD set, so we can finally get to see what
all the fuss was about.
For those who need reminding, "Popetown" is/was
directed by Phil Ox, and
featured an all-star comedy voice cast, including the
likes ofMatt Lucas,
Bob Mortimer, Ruby Wax, Kevin Eldon, Simon Greenall, Morwenna
and even supermodel, Jerry Hall. The series was set
in a Catholic world where
money, power and corruption are just another part of the
daily routine. Every
Cardinal, Bishop and Nun seems to be up to something
unholy, and the
religious lampoonery is topped by the presence of a
hide-and-seek playing Pope!
Consequently, this one ruffled a few feathers. Indeed, as
The Hound previously reported,the ensuing media frenzy encouraged some 2,000 disgruntled Catholics
to put their names to a petition urging the BBC not
to screen the series.
And they duly obliged...
So now it's here at last for our viewing pleasure. Or
not, depending on your
thinking. Personally, The Hound finds "Popetown"
rather funny. And
beneath that Papal veil is a show which seems to have
and even a certain respect, for the religion its lampooning.
The show begins in
a live-action R.E. lesson, whereupon the irreligious
thoughts and musings of
one of the pupils are brought in to animated life... "Popetown"
is simply a
naughty choirboy. Indeed, the show has only picked up
a "12" certificate
here in the UK. Which suggests that much of this controversy
been a storm in a Catholic wine cup. Previously, that
of bad taste "South Park" has savaged Jesus,
the Devil, and more with
much greater vehemence. Well, that's The Hound's opinion, at least.
You may view it differently.
The point is, now you can, courtesy
of the folks at Revolver. They've handed
over 5 "Popetown" DVDs for The Hound to give
On September 29th, Titan Magazines will be launching
an all-new Wallace
& Gromit comic here in the UK. Called, appropriately,
"Wallace & Gromit Comic",
the new publication will hit stores every four weeks, and
we're promised - quote -
"madcap inventions, amazing adventures and a whole host
of new loveable
characters!" in amongst the strips, articles and activities.
John Freeman has
had a dandy little chat with the comic's editor,
Steve White, on his rather
the Tubes web site...
Meanwhile, Titan's move tie-ins in rather smartly with
the arrival of
"Curse of the Were-Rabbit", which hits our
cinema screens in October.
Or at least, it does if you're in the UK. But for some
this hugely-anticipated movie actually received its
World Premiere last
Australia. What's more, the film is going straight into general
release down there!
Now call me a Whinging Pom - but strewth! - you don't
get much more
British than Wallace and Gromit. Surely we Brits should
have been at the
top of the list for this here premiere and release?
It just goes to show how
the Movers and Shakers have seized our dynamic duo for
their own means.
Oh well. Whilst we wait with baited breath for the film,
why not drop by
Collectibles section and reminisce about the Good Old
Days, when Wallace and his doggy pal ruled British screens,
and High Streets.
And I think that's quite enough patriotism for now...
Joining "Captain Scarlet" on tv this week
are two new BBC toons for our
delight. Or rather, one brand new toon, and one
decidedly older creation.
The elder is Muffin the Mule here, at last, in his animated
been brought to life sans strings by Maverick Entertainment,
via Blue Fish
Cartoons, in a simple little show for preschoolers. Muffin and
cavort around the countryside in 2D form, solving problems
and sorting out
trouble. As has been mentioned here
previously, September is very much
a Muffin month, with the new show being supported by an anniversary
DVD of the original, and Adrienne Hasler's coincidental
- and excellent -
new book for
you to buy. "Muffin the Mule" is screening daily at 9.00am,
Now, away over the hill from Muffin's caravan you'll
find "Summerton Mill" which
is airing daily as part of CBBC's "Tikkabilla".
And this one looks and sounds
most intriguing. Pete Bryden has been in touch to tell
us about the series
he created with Ed Cookson, and to direct us to the
tie-in web site. Strange
things happen at this old mill, when it rains on the
hills, and the waterwheel
begins to turn again... Magic happens!... "Summerton
Mill" has been brought
to our screens by Pete and Ed and their small, but dedicated
team in Banbury,
working in the spirit of SmallFilms and Bura & Hardwick.
The series narrator is
Silas Hawkins, son of the great Peter Hawkins, of Pugwash
fame, and it
sounds like this could be a little gem of a show; something
to savour, indeed...
Great to see Gerry Anderson's all-new Captain Scarlet
back on our screens.
ITV screened the first episode of series two for
our enjoyment last Saturday
(2nd). Sadly, though, it's been shoehorned into
the middle of "Ministry of
Mayhem" once again, which means more merciless
commercial breaks and chopped off credits. But
at least the broadcast
time is fixed at 10.55am...
And better still is news that the entire first
series will soon be available
to own on DVD, which means we can thrill to this
first class show sans
interruptions of any kind. Captain
Scarlet - Series 1
hits stores in October.
Look beyond it's shoddy broadcast slot, and you'll
find the shiny new
"Captain Scarlet" is an action-packed treat.
Its CGI delights are supported
by some superior storytelling, and some splendid character
In times past, our tv schedules were awash with this
kind of series. But
now they're oh-so-few and far between, and boy,
do we miss 'em.
It's great to see Scarlet flying the flag again...
it away now (04.08.05)
Judging by the number of entries received, I'd
say last month's War Game Giveaway
was a hit with visitors. Hopefully, our five lucky winners are cracking
open their DVDs, kicking back and indulging in
that fabulous little film, even
now, as you read this. It's something you can
get used to, isn't it?
Well, I hope so, because it looks like there'll
be more of the same coming soon.
You see, your faithful Hound here, is regularly
contacted by folks in the PR
game, eager to promote their latest news and releases.
And an off-shoot of
of that has been prize offers. That's right, DVDs
and their ilk to give away
to you and yours, gratis. Now I've always shied
away from that area,
fearful of falling into some foul coroprate quagmire.
But Revelation Films
were so keen and accommodating with last month's
experiment, and you
folks so responsive, that I've decided to open
the door wide...
Which is why you'll see regular Giveaways here
at Toonhound in the future.
Indeed, right now, I'm putting together a BOOM-BOOMING
guaranteed to get your fur in a fizz. And I've
a CRACKING notion for October
too. So now there's even more reason for you to
keep checking back here...