Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Adventures of Parsley

As I had already mentioned previous, spin-offs in animation have been quite common over the decades, so here's another example.
The Herbs was the creation of Michael Bond (of Paddington Bear fame), and was produced by FilmFair Productions as part of the Watch with Mother timeslot in 1968. Featuring the enthusiastic voice of Gordon Rollings, it focused on the goings-on in the Herb Garden of a country estate. In case you've never seen the series before, all the characters were personifications of a different herb; possibly the work of Nicholas Culpeper's 17th Century book, "Culpeper's Complete Herbal" inspired Michael to create the series.

Though it was written for a younger audience, the sophisticated, broad humour of the characters and Storyteller have made it a cult classic since. One only needs to hear the magic word "Herbidacious", and the memories of Sir Basil, Lady Rosemary, Bayleaf the Gardener, Constable Knapweed, and even Pashana Bedhi will come flooding back.

"I'm a very friendly lion called Parsley..."
But it was the animal characters that seemed to have more appeal than the humans - Parsley the Lion, Dill the Dog, Sage the Owl and even Tarragon the "Dwagon". So much so that, two years later, Michael Bond wrote a spin-off series with Parsley and Dill taking lead. However, The Adventures of Parsley differed from its predecessor in a few areas;

  • The episodes (all 32 of them) had a running time of 5 minutes compared to the 10 - 15 minute run.
  • The scenery was a little more basic, almost similar to the set design of "The Magic Roundabout" (considering Ivor Wood also worked on both shows).
  • The humour was much broader, often relying on clever word-play and puns-a-plenty.
  • Whereas all the characters had a signature song, Parsley and Dill were finally given "voices" of their own.

Here's a few personal choice episodes to view from the Playlist below. And if interested, you can get the Complete Herbs Collection on DVD to relive those memories =)


Saturday, 25 February 2012


An Octopus / Parrot hybrid this time. Not sure what inspired me to draw this but, according to another fellow artist, the two are actually kind of similar - they both have beaks and are actually quite intelligent, if you've seen enough YouTube videos demonstrating this theory.

To quote my observing fellow: "with the combined natural intelligence of the two species, the Octoparrot may be a genius!"

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Nellie the Elephant - Terry Ward

So far as I know, a small number of animated shows have been inspired by a popular song of a particular time. One example is the lesser-spotted Yakkity Yak, and the other is today's topic - Nellie the Elephant.

The original song dates back to 1956 - written by Ralph Butler and Peter Hart, it was first sung by child actress Mandy Miller for the BBC, and has since had countless versions recorded and sung by a great many number for children - including, most popular of all, the Toys Dolls's rendition.

So popular was the song that Terry Ward - of Junglies and Bananaman fame - created a series based on the song on behalf of FilmFair Productions. Written by Richard Everett and Bernie Kay, the series also featured the voices of Tony Robinson (Blackadder, Time Team, Maid Marian and Her Merry Men) and renowned Scottish Singer Lulu, who not only sung the theme tune but also voiced the titular character =)

As with the song, the series followed the adventures of Nellie as she tries to head back home to the jungle, all the while coming across and helping various characters on the way.

Below are several episodes to watch via the Playlist before checking out the other links below - either if you remember the series from your youth or just like the song =)

Friday, 17 February 2012

Tumbledown Farm

Now here's another rarity that deserves a DVD release - as mentioned in a previous Blog Post, farms have become a popular setting for Kid's TV over the years, and this series is no exception. For it was created by, and starred, Dick King-Smith, who brought to us many popular animal stories, including Babe, the Water Horse and How Green Was My Mouse.

They say that to become a good writer, you must write what you know best - before becoming a primary school teacher (and then a full-time writer), Dick King-Smith worked as a farmer in Gloucestershire for nearly 20 years. Which is very likely how the Foxbusters, Martin's Mice, the Sophie series - among many others - came to fruition, inspired by his own farming experiences and love for animals in general.

Thus he developed Tumbledown Farm for Yorkshire TV in 1988 which, until recently, there has been very little of in terms of episodes online. Here's the first so far where "Farmer Dick invites his grand-daughter Georgina at Tumbledown Farm, where she makes friends with all the puppet characters and animals who live there in a world of fun and fantasy."

Until a DVD can be arranged some day, the best means of finding more Tumbledown Farm are by rare VHS cassettes found scattered across Amazon and / or eBay.

I personally think it would be a great credit for a top writer, who sadly passed away aged 88 just over a year ago. You can find out more about Dick King-Smith's life from the following below:

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Muppet Valentine's Day

Hope everyone has had a Happy Valentine's Day - whether you're celebrating with a loved one, or just staying away from the lovey-dovey stuff :B

PS: Don't forget to watch "The Muppets" now out in Cinemas Worldwide!

Monday, 13 February 2012

We are the Treacle People...

# ...we seek Treacle high and low! #

Amidst his renowned career penning most of Cosgrove Hall's top shows, Brian Trueman teamed up with son Jonathan to co-write another series that deserves more attention prior its first airing - The Treacle People!

Produced by Fire Mountain Productions (Tom and Vicky, Captain Mack), the series was created by The Dewhurst Family; set in the fictional Northern English village of Sabden, it focuses on the adventures of the madcap villagers and their famous treacle mines as they struggle through a treacle shortage, crazed "Boggarts", even crazier Moobarks and...well...each other.

The show was, and still is, immensely popular to fans alike. Next to the odd-ball stop-motion designs, the writing from Brian and Jonathan had humour that worked superbly on both levels - for kids AND adults to enjoy without being too childish nor too close to the bone. It ran for two seasons between 1995 - 1996, plus the BAFTA award-winning Christmas Special, and has since had respectable runs on CITV, Nick Jr and currently in the wee hours on Channel 4...

But apart from a small DVD release with the first six episode of Season 1, nothing much has come out of it, and it's a great shame. It's this sort of series that kids today could do more with in terms of good ol' children's comedy. Never mind whatever Nickelodeon or the House of Mouse are putting out with their copy/paste "tween" sitcoms. Just clever humour and plenty of slapstick is what's required, I feel, and those who have grown up with Brian Trueman's works would agree with me on that.

Check out a handful of episodes from the Treacle People Playlist below, and then their unofficial mini-site to buy a copy of the DVD currently available. Perhaps one day, we may well see a complete collection - both seasons plus the Christmas special - released at last if the demand is required...only time will tell.

Monday, 6 February 2012


"You know, there just might be a market for this!" ;-)

Saturday, 4 February 2012

PLUG ALERT - Kyle A. Carrozza

There are a great many reasons why Kyle Carrozza deserves to create his own animated series. And rather than make a big ol' essay of it, I'll bullet-point the best ones for you:
Artwork is strictly © to Kyle Carrozza. I own NOTHING.
  • A huge part of his life is spent playing and being inspired by retro video games, where even Donkey Kong remains cool today
  • He's got an ever-developing, orsum art style that is NOT - repeat NOT - related to John K's work in any form whatsoever. Cute girls, wacky cartoons, he's adaptable with both Computer and Traditional art forms
  • He's a talented singer / musician, having released a number of downloadable songs and albums
  • He also doubles as an insanely good voice artist
  • He animates and co-animates his own stuff - with as much frame-by-frame as made possible in Flash
  • He and John Berry have a popular web comic goin' on at Dumm Comics - Frog Raccoon Strawberry - although he has also drawn for and developed Dave Alvarez's Kee Kee Koki, in Spanish and English!
  • Next to his own, he's already drawn several covers for other peoples' albums
  • He's storyboarded on Fanboy and Chumm Chumm (Season 2)
  • He, like so many people unknown to Hollywood, has spent a worthwhile childhood with all the cool shows and comic books of yesteryear, and knows how to entertain today's generation, while keeping kids of the 80's / 90's equally happy.

But most important of all:

  • His own show concepts are good. REALLY GOOD. Like, unbelievably original and fun. No cowardly Great Danes or Direct-to-DVD rip-offs of any kind. Every idea he has is appealing, with fresh characters and humour suited for between the ages of 9 to 99. No two show pitches are alike in terms of concept.
  • And even his ideas / takes for existing names are brilliant - he's as faithful to them as a Dog. A highly-creative dog.
Still Kyle's artwork, but character is © of Nintendo. Created with Mechanical pencil, brush pen, and Prismacolor markers
So if you really want to make TV cool again, visit this big guy's main site and DeviantART page, or check out some of the shorts he's made so far in the Playlist below - which includes his Oh Yeah! Cartoons pilot, Moobeard the Cow Pirate! Then write to your local Studio or TV Station - Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Disney, Disney-Zuper-Kewl-X - and give the exact same reasons I've mentioned here (or something along the lines anyway).

Thanks for reading =)

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Cool Crow

What with the UK locked in the grips of another Big Freeze, I felt inspired to draw this having viewed this fun article: