Monday 28 February 2011

Where's Spindleshanks

Spindleshanks  Uncle Grizzly's side kick, side punch bag and side splat

Series 1-4

When Grizzly Tales returned in 2004, first for a New Year's special and then later for series 5 and 6, it was without one of it's most well loved characters.  Spidleshanks was retired in favour of longer 2D stories, the stop frame animation just retained for the title sequence and introduction.  Spidleshanks did all his own stunts, and was badly injured on a number of occasions, but as a true professional, he continued filming the series for four long years.  He was asked to come back for the new series, but declined the offer.

Saturday 26 February 2011

Save Cartoon and the Media Programme

 Cartoon to face the Axe?

Grizzly Tales was one of the big hits of the 1998 Cartoon Forum,  it has not been off air in the UK since 2000 and after six series for ITV, is now into series seven on Nickelodeon UK.  Now the media programme, which has helped shows like Grizzly become world wide successes, is under threat. Please read the following and support Cartoon. 

VERY IMPORTANT: Petition to save the MEDIA Programme

The MEDIA Programme is in real danger.
The European Commission under President Barroso's leadership is considering ending the MEDIA Programme! This decision could have disastrous consequences on the European audiovisual sector, which benefits from numerous funds and actions led by this programme.

In the name of the European animation industry, we have launched a petition to stop the proposed abolition:

We need signatures from all audiovisual professionals, including broadcasters, investors and distributors.

Please sign the petition as soon as possible: we must act fast since the Commission will make its decision mid-March.

We would be grateful if you could forward this petition to the largest number of people.

We need your support! Thank you for your help.

Kind regards,

Marc Vandeweyer
General director
CARTOON - European Association of Animation Film

Friday 25 February 2011

Erica's Grizzly Tales

Erica Darby   CGI Producer   The New Series

Here I am, celebrating after having performed some early surgery on my brother. Grizzly Tales made me realise that there are more twisted people than me out there. Even.

Thursday 24 February 2011

Andy's Grizzly Tales

Andy Wyatt   Layout Artist series 1

I remember Grizzly Tales orginally when Jamie Rix the author of the books came into the studio and told us some of the scariest stories. This is before we had shown it to any TV people and we all thought that as long as we could find a broadcaster who didn't mind stories about children being turned into pasta and spiders eating children then it would be a sure hit....and it was!

I think all kids love seeing characters squashed and splatted don't they...I do! (I worked on the OOglies recently, and that had lots of characters getting squashed and having horrific accidents too!!!)

Long live Grizzly Tales!!! and long live characters getting squished!!

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Nigel Planer, Voice of Grizzly Tales

Nigel Planer,  Voice of Grizzly Tales

The original BBC Radio 4 series
Series 1-6 and Special for Citv
The New Series for Nickelodeon UK

"Grizzly Tales has been a good first reading experience for most of the children I know, and I was giving the books as presents long before Jamie Rix and I started to record the series. It encourages children to read because there is a certain element of dare in it;  "are you brave enough to read this? On your own? At night?"

The first readings were indeed for BBC radio, where I had been booked independently of Jamie's and my partnership, which the BBC were unaware of at the time. I assumed it must have come through Jamie, but in fact he was surprised when he found out that it was me. If the BBC had thought of me as the right person for the horrible tales then we knew from the very beginning that I was the man for the job of the series.

We created the character of the narrator so that the many different stories would have some kind of overall cohesion, like bookends. If I'd known we'd still be doing it now, ten years or more later, I think I'd have made the voice a little less gravelly and rough. Sometimes, I just end up in fits of coughs in the studio, and after a couple of days have a really sore throat!  But it's fun having a character you can go back to again and again." 

Tuesday 22 February 2011

The New look of Grizzly Tales

When the new series of Grizzly Tales airs on Nicktoons UK this April, it will have a new look. Illustrator Tom McLaughlin has been taken on to update the styling of the characters and backgrounds for the digital generation of Gruesome Kids.  Tom has worked with studio, Honeycomb Animation, on several development projects coming your way soon  So watch out for Little Molly Mystery and the 999 Lives of Fuzzy Cat.

Gareth's Grizzly Tales

Gareth Conway  Layouts, co-ordinator, animator Series 1-6 & New Series

I think I was exactly the sort of child Grizzly Tales was made for (see photo for proof!). As you can see, I once had a full head of hair...this is no longer the case due to the fact that I have worked on every episode of Grizzly Tales For Gruesome Kids that has ever been made. I have lived through every naughty child being squashed and shrunk and eaten and chopped and turned into toys and sent into space never to be seen again and quite frankly it has taken it's toll...but it was worth it, I don't think there has been a more macabre children's series in the history of children's telly, and I was a part of it all!

Monday 21 February 2011

Uncle's Grizzly Tales

Uncle Grizzly  Storyteller  Series 1-6

I hate that half brother of mine, even more than I hate all the bad kids in the world. How come he gets to run the Hot-Hell Darkness  for the new series of Grizzly Tales, while I have to stay here at the Squeam Screen and watch the old series over and over again. It's not fair!!

Friday 18 February 2011

Victoria's Grizzly Tales

Victoria Goy-Smith  Animator Series 5 & 6

"Having grown up on ‘sweet and lovely’ cartoons which never really sated my bloodlust, working on Grizzly Tales was a dream come true!

I love how the show really pushes the boundaries with it’s content, but can still promote strong morals that children can learn from.

This was my first job in the industry and I learnt so much from it, working with the team was fantastic, and I fondly remembering having conversations about how gruesomely we could ‘off’ the naughty child without being censored!

I now teach Animation to 16 – 19 year olds and when they discover that I have worked on grizzly they always get very excited and always let me know their favourite episodes."

Thursday 17 February 2011

Dan's Grizzly Tales

Dan Mitchell   Animator  Series 5 & 6 and the New Series

Grizzly Tales was one of the first shows I ever worked on, from its hand drawn era to the new digital series. It was always nice to get the scene where a child would meet their grizzly end and make it as gruesome as possible!

The stories are fantastic and can remind you of kids you may know, or even yourself! There aren't many shows that put fear into its young audience like Grizzly Tales!

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Tom's Grizzly Tales

Tom McLaughlin  Background and Character Styling  The New Series

Grizzly Tales is by far and away one of the most original shows on television. I can’t think of any other kids’ series past or present which has such a spiralling body-count; nor one which features so many internal organs; bile being expelled at high velocity nor gangs of marauding pensioners on mobility scooters.

My favourite moment from the new series was the time one of the villains was about to go at a naughty child with a chainsaw, when it was pointed out that there was something deeply wrong with the scene: the said villain should at least be wearing safety goggles. That marvellously sums up the macabre humour and joyful absurdity of Grizzly Tales and I cant wait to see it go to air.

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Chris's Grizzly Tales

Chris Bowles       Animator       Series 5 & 6 and the New Series

The body count across the tales must be pretty high already, and with this new series I think we might be moving into triple figures by the last episode! 
When I was a boy we didn't have Grizzly Tales to caution us of the things that happen to naughty children, so it's really quite amazing that I survived to be old enough to work on it. These days, the only gruesome thing to be scared of is when the tax-man cometh.

Monday 14 February 2011

David's Grizzly Tales

David Mercer  Executive Producer series 4

"Grizzly Tales is the scariest series I've ever worked on.  I remember being on holiday in Devon and reading the stories to my sons Will and Jack, who were aged 6 and 9 at the time.   The creaky old cottage we were staying in was the perfect place to conjure up Jamie Rix's bizarre tales of children who got their just deserts.  At night you could hear the sound of rats scuttling around in the attic.

Simon and Sara Bor and the team at Honeycomb Animation have really captured the feel of the original stories and it's great that the series can be seen on Nick."

Thursday 10 February 2011

Sara's Grizzly Tales

Sara Bor  Co producer, co director

I read Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids from cover to cover and was completely captivated by the stories, description and visual imagery.  I felt an empathy with Jamie's twisted, macabre, dark humour, so reminiscent of the Struwwelpeter books of my childhood (I was also threatened with The Story of Little Suck A Thumb). What really appealed to me about adapting these wonderful stories for TV was that they were new and fresh, there was nothing out there like it and I particularly wanted the design and look of the series to have that originality.
My first meeting with Jamie Rix  in 1993 in the 'Hand and Shears' pub (famed for its fantastic sausage sandwiches) is memorable because it was the day we relocated our studio out of the Smithfield in London EC1 to a converted barn in the rolling hills of Mid Devon. 
My favourite stories and the ones I vividly remember storyboarding and designing are The Barber of Civil, The New Nanny and Dr Moribundis

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Oli's Grizzly Tales

Oli Knowles  Animator  Series 5 & 6  and the New Series

"Although I’ve now worked on four series of Grizzly Tales I still feel like a relative newbie to the show 
considering how long its been running. I’ve seen it evolve from its traditional animation roots into the 
digital age.

During my time on Grizzly I’ve seen naughty children meet their end in the most hideous ways imaginable, 
first in pencil, then in pixels, and now in sparkling high definition. The blood guts and tears never looked so good."

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Morgan's Grizzly Tales

Morgan Francis  GCI Producer  The New Series

here's me having just told my sister she'll never be allowed to watch Grizzly Tales.

She then hit me on the head with a kipper baked in marmalade...didn't hurt.

The show is too good for little sisters.

Ed's Grizzly Tales

Ed Welch  Music (including all three versions of the Grizzly Theme)

I also remember the cautionary tales of Strewwelpeter. I was bought up on them a hundred years or so Mother[who was 16 at the time] passed the book under my cell door and said if I didn't pull myself together then someone called Bor would make me compose the music for 7 series of Grizzly Tales! I decided to mend my ways and became an angelic choirboy as you can see ...but still had to write the music anyway which was NOT FAIR!!!! 

Ed Welch aged93

Monday 7 February 2011

Simon's Grizzly Tales

Simon Bor   Co Director & co producer  Grizzly Tales

We were moving our studio from London to a converted barn in Devon, and we took on a consultant to help us with our new project, Wolves Witches & Giants . One of the first meetings Jill had, was at the new ITV company, Carlton, which had just replaced Thames.   I’ve just met the man I want to marry”, she had said after her meeting with Michael Forte. On meeting Michael ourselves, Jill’s pin up, turned out to be a bit of a comic, mimicking rival children’s commissioners and recounting amusing stories about his days in Saturday morning telly.

He didn’t go for our show, though he was later to inherit it once Carlton had taken over Central , our subsequent backer. As we were leaving he said “look, I like what you guys do. Have a look at this book Get in touch with the author, and see if you can come up with something” The book was Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids.

After four series of Wolves Witches & Giants, we entered into a development deal with Carlton to find its successor, and seven years after our first encounter of Jamie Rix’s creations, the first series of Grizzly Tales aired on ITV. Now, a subsequent eleven years has passed, and we’ve just completed the seventh, new improved series, this time for Nickelodeon UK, but for me, the Grizzly journey started in Michael Forte’s office in 1993, and the reading of the hardback edition of the first Grizzly collection, which still sits on my bookshelf.

Saturday 5 February 2011

Michael's Grizzly Tales

Michael Forte    Executive Producer Series 1-3.

Kids can be just as gruesome as grown ups (who are after all just kids who've grew some).  
Jamie Rix's Grizzly Tales go to horrific lengths to show what can befall horrid kids if they have the misfortune to upset Dr Moribundis, The Barber of Civil or any other of the truly scary characters who populate the pages of his wonderful books.  
Sara and Simon Bor bring Jamie's big screams to the small screen with their usual style and panache in this brilliant new series for Nick.

Friday 4 February 2011

Nina's Grizzly Tales

Nina Douglas   Publicity Manager Orion
Publishers of the Grizzly Tales books

Books that deliver exactly what they promise -truly grizzly tales, and the perils encountered are truly gruesome... funny, gross, downright horrid - we love them!

Thursday 3 February 2011

Jamie's Grizzly Tales

Jamie Rix, Writer, co director and co producer

GRIZZLY TALES – “How it started” by Jamie Rix

Anyone remember the book Struwwelpeter?  My mum had tried to get me to stop sucking my thumb for years. She’d tried Bitter Aloes, getting me to feed horses with my thumb strapped to a carrot and slamming my thumb in a car door. Anyway, nothing worked. So she bought me Struwwelpeter and made me read a story called The Story of Little Suck A Thumb. It was about a boy who would not stop sucking his thumb and had both his thumbs cut off by the Long Red-Legged Scissor Man. That story was brilliant. I had nightmares for weeks. When I hear that story now I can still feel the scissors cutting through my thumb bones. And I fell in love with the pictures. They were so matter of fact about death. And there was so much blood!

Ben Rix inspiration for The Spaghetti Man

Anyway, wind forward twenty years, and the first story that I ever wrote was called The Spaghetti Man. My eldest son, Ben, was just four and refused to eat whatever had been cooked for dinner. On holiday in France, the family (that’s me, Helen, Ben and Jack) drove past a shop that sold pasta. I stopped the car and looked at Ben. "If you don't eat your food tonight," I said to him, straight-faced, "I shall bring you back to the pasta factory tonight and the spaghetti man will turn you into lasagne. Then we'll eat you tomorrow for lunch." That night, Ben ate everything on his plate. Nothing I had done before prepared me for the thrill of watching children believe my stories. I never knew lying could be so much fun!
I wrote The Spaghetti Man up and sent it off to 22 publishers. One replied – the very lovely Pam Royds from Andre Deutsch – you always fall in love with your first editor. She didn’t exactly say “OK I’ll commission a book,” but she did say “write a load more stories like these and I’ll tell you when to stop.” I wrote another about a barber who cut out cheeky little children’s tongues called The Barber of Civil, and another called Dr Moribundus about a girl who skips school, and which shares a plotline with the second Hannibal Lecter film (NB – My story was first!). Dr Moribundus was based on me. Whenever I wanted to get off school, I told my mum I was sick and, lying in bed looking weak and feeble, I begged her for a cup of tea. When it arrived, I stirred the thermometer in the hot tea until the mercury was nicely warmed up, then showed my mum what a terrible temperature I had! 
Jack Rix inspiration for A Tangled Web

The story called A Tangled Web came about when my youngest son Jack woke up one morning with a bad cold. His chest was tight and he said to me, “It feels like spiders are spinning a web around my ribs.” Brilliant! I left him in his sick bed and went upstairs to write a story about a boy who tortures spiders, and the spiders take their revenge by setting up home in his chest!
And when I remembered Struwwlpeter, I realised that what I was writing was a modern collection of Cautionary Tales – Unlike the stories of Roald Dahl where the adults tend to be bad and the children the heroes, I had bad children in my stories who needed to be taught a lesson!

Helen Rix inspiration for Mrs Frightfully Busy