New British Animation On TV
According to the new issue of the trade magazine ANIMATION UK, a range of new TV productions are in preparation in Britain. HAMILTON MATTRESS is a "stop-frame comedy drama" about an Aardvark and his caterpillar companion. The director is Barry Purves, celebrated director of films including NEXT and SCREENPLAY, while the writers are John Webster and Anna Farthing. The film will be made by Harvest Animation, commissioned by BBC1, with global TV/video rights handled by Link and Egmont Animation. Meanwhile, Midlands-based Synthetic Dimensions is developing ASTRO KNIGHTS, a cross-media computer-animated sitcom, planned to become a feature film, a 26-part series and various video and Web games. The movie will be previewed at the MIPCOM market in October. Third up, Grand Slam Children's Films are stretching beyond the "child" tag and seeking funding for an adult animation called BOSOM PALS, based on the paintings of Beryl Cook. Voice-talents include Dawn French, Timothy Spall and Alison Steadman. GSCF director/head Ginger Gibbons said, "It's going to be quite rude and - potentially extremely funny." Finally, there is a contrasting pair of films. JACK AND THE BEANSTALK is a 75-minute feature-length special to be screened on Children's ITV. Produced by Martin Gates Productions, it features the voices of Julia McKenzie, Alison Steadman, Tim Healy and Imelda Staunton, with songs by Chris Caswell (MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL). On the other end of the scale, up-and-coming director Sandra Ensby has completed FAST SPIN FLING, a five-minute film for Channel 4. Produced at multimedia company Sherbert, the film was made under the guidance of Candy Guard (POND LIFE). The film is described thus: "Ensby's simple clear lines lift the characters off the page as they frantically dance, spin and interact, breaking out of the frame with vigour, wit and impeccable rhythm."