Saturday, 26 February 2011

Zazzle Store is now open!

OK, I finally bit the bullet and have set up my own Zazzle store - already got a couple of t-shirt designs up for grabs if anyone fancies a change in wardrobe, and to help a starving artist along the way, too!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

"Touche, to me!"

When Cosgrove Hall was still alive and producing many great shows throughout the 90's, Fantomcat was one of them. It is one of many shows that is always brought up in any animation-related conversation. Long before the PC Brigade took full root on all that is dreary, lame and "safe", this show was surprisingly dark - not your average talking animals/insects series, no Sir! On-screen assassinations, guns, the odd "Damn" and "Hell" remark. times have changed 0_o

Rewatching the first seven episodes that have cropped up online, I'm glad to be old enough to understand it better -
including several jokes that would have gone way over my head at the time it was released.

It also proudly featured the vocal talents of Robert Powell, Lorelei King, Jimmy Hibbert and Rob Rackstraw. So no wonder so many mates of mine in the same age-group often recall this series!

And in case anyone is unfamiliar with this show, you can view the first episode below - well worth your time:

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Still Hibernating...

The Snow Leopard, not me :P

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

RIP Cosgrove Halls...

It was with a heavy heart that one of Britain's great animation studios closed its doors 2010 New Year's Eve...while this may not be news to those who already know, it's time for me to pay proper respects to it.

It really is a shame. 30 years of top quality shows, films and characters that folks older than me can still remember and quote to this day - from great wonders like Danger Mouse, Count Duckula, Jamie & the Magic Torch to memorable/original adaptations of The BFG, the Wind in the Willows, The Foxbusters, Truckers - even the most obscure of productions such as Creepy Crawlies, Avenger Penguins, Victor and Hugo are still remember with great enthusiasm from old and...older alike purely because the cast and crew did what all cartoons were made to do:


Nowadays every pre-school show that comes on the market has to be made to educate and learn, talking down to kids as if their brains were the size of butterbeans and/or if the parents can't be bothered to make any effort whatsoever. Shows like DM, Duckula and the rest all worked because they made both kids AND adults laugh. Whether it's a groan-worthy pun or a brilliant over-their-heads joke that only Mum or Dad would guffaw at, it saddens my heart to know the last few productions churned out by CH up till their demise consisted of stuff like Engie Benjy, Fifi and the Flowertots and the revolting Eddie Retractorhead...

Sad. Truly sad =(

It was the place where greats such as Brian Trueman, Jimmy Hibbert and David Jason really shot to fame, where they were allowed free will over anything and everything without fear of offending anyone or being restricted in their talents. Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall were great inspirations for the writers and animators they took on board; they knew great talent and encouraged it. They were two of the greatest driving forces of British Animation anywhere. Again, another sad loss.

I just hope that, someday, all of Cosgrove Hall's films and shows will be made available on DVD to at least give the new generation decent entertainment when they're not too jumped up on whatever Japanese/American rubbish we'll be dumped with next. Show me a kid who adores Chortlon and the Wheelies and I'll show you a very happy 23-year-old chap who wants to follow in the steps of the greats mentioned above - to someday become the next Trueman or Hibbert - to be given a chance to show something really original and fun and...lots more =)

So to see this blog post out, here's some fond memories from Cosgrove Hall, with many thanks to the WayBack Machine for rediscovering the old CH websites to dig these out from.

Oh, and be sure to check out Cosgrove Hall Ate My Brain. It may not have been updated in donkeys-years, but it's got more information on the studio's history and shows than any other source anywhere. Well worth it to discover or rediscover something different...

So all that's left to say is:

"Faaaaaangs for the mem-o-ries...!"

Thursday, 10 February 2011


"The elephant is a pretty bird
It's hair is long and wavy,

It makes its nest in a rhubarb tree
and lays its eggs in gravy!"

"The elephant is a pretty bird
It flits from bow to bow,

It makes its nest in a rhubarb tree
and whistles like a cow!"

- Oliver Postgate, 1974

Is it any wonder WHY Bagpuss has remained timeless to this day...? =)

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Jungle Book - 2010

For as long as one can remember, there have been many interpretations of Rudyard Kipling's famous book of all, "The Jungle Book" - amongst various stage shows, Disney have adapted it several times in animation and live-action (including a sequel and a handful of spin-off shows), Chuck Jones gave us faithful renditions of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, The White Seal and Mowgli's Brothers, and it even made its way as an Anime series, too!

But now the latest re-imagining of the book is currently airing on the CBBC Channel in the UK - and from what I've seen of it, it's not half bad =)

Produced by Indian animation studio DQ Entertainment International, this series of the Jungle Book has been "reintroduced to a brand new generation with a contemporary twist", with scripts penned both in France and the UK.

Despite my thoughts on many animated shows being outsourced from the UK these days, it makes sense to have an Indian-based studio to bring this series to life; who better to recreate a real Indian Jungle setting than the country which inspired the original book? The animation looks amazing and a majority of the episodes - including top writer Chris Trengove - are intelligent and exciting enough with good character balance.

Unlike Disney's version (brilliant as it is), the characters here remain faithful to their original traits prior to the book. Notably of all, Baloo presented as the wise, brown old bear he originally was. The series itself focuses on Baloo, Bagheera the Panther and Mowgli's Wolf Clan preparing the man-cub for the looming threat that is Shere Kahn the Tiger - while also having various adventures within and around the jungle.

The voice cast for the series add as much life to the characters as do the scripts - with heaps of praise for Jimmy Hibbert (Count Duckula, Little Red Tractor, Danger Mouse), David Holt (Noah's Island, Okie Doke, Lavander Castle), Nigel Pilkington (Bottletop Bill, Roman Mysteries), Teresa Gallagher (BB3B, Frankenstein's Cat, Thomas the Tank Engine) and Emma Tate (New Captain Scarlet, The Mr Men Show) for being part of this lovely take on the Jungle Book, which I hope gains as much interest and popularity as the Disney movie everyone commonly remembers 40 years on...