Friday, 2 August 2013

Animal Stories

Considering the number of British Animation Studios that have sadly shut up shop in recent years, it's always heartening to know that a few are still going strong in spite of "Economy this", "Taxes that" - and so I was delighted to learn that Collingwood O'Hare (now under its new name, Collingwood & Co) are still creating new content for today's watching generation. As of 2010, they've been quite busy with The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!

But for those unfamiliar with their work, Tony Collingwood and Christopher O'Hare are the same chaps who were behind the 1996 Dennis the Menace animated series, along with The Secret Show, Oscar's Orchestra and the lesser-spotted Captain Zed and the Zee Zone. They have also done extremely well in the pre-school market for UK Animation, and have won acclaimed awards for Gordon the Garden Gnome, The Magic Key and Yoko! Jakamoto! Toto!

Animal Stories is another of their shows that deserves some attention. First aired on CITV in 1998, this series follows the everyday lives and problems of a variety of animals with every short story told in rhyme. With its gentle wit, cute character designs and well-chosen storytellers (the UK had Sir Nigel Hawthorne while the US Alan Marriott, the latter who would become super-spy "Victor" for The Secret Show), it was another winner thanks to creators Chris O'Hare and Trevor Ricketts, as well as Tony Collingwood for developing it for TV.

So here's to Collingwood & Co - may you continue on your winning streak for many more years to come!

1 comment:

  1. I remember seeing some of these myself back when they were first aired on Disney Channel over here. They probably aired on another channel later on, but certainly they saw their fair share here. Alan Marriot wasn't a bad choice for the US edition given how they probably didn't think a thicker accent would work over here (unlike in my day when British narration was all I heard in these shows and it screwed up my speech). Still what I hear of Hawthorne's performance, it's not bad either (this link comes from a US distributor who appears to have distribution of Animal Stories here though they included two episodes that were from the UK and American editions).