Gruesome tales for children honoured at British 'Oscars' for animation

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The Independent Culture

Children's television favourites including Angelina Ballerina and a series of Grizzly Tales narrated by Nigel Planer were recognised last night at Britain's Oscars of animation industry, the British Animation Awards.

Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids: Revenge of the Bogeyman, which was co-produced as well as voiced by Planer for children's ITV, was named best children's series, and also took the children's choice award at a ceremony at the Shaw Theatre, Bloomsbury, London.

But the BBC enjoyed its own children's success with Kola Brothers: A Letter for George, which received the best children's pre-school series prize.

Angelina Ballerina: The Show Must Go On, a special DVD of Channel 4's series about a dancing mouse, won the best animated special award.

But with Britain acknowledged as a vibrant centre for animation, it was not just children's television that was honoured. Monkey Dust, BBC3's satirical comedy animation written by Harry Thompson and Shaun Pye with voices including those of Morwenna Banks and Frances Barber, won best comedy.

The video for Blur's single "Good Song" was named best music video and the adverts for Polo sweets created by Aardman Animations (of Wallace and Gromit fame) took the best animated commercial craft award. The Polo ads showed a chained mint being attacked by piranha fish.

A hard-hitting advert aimed at ending child abuse in which a cartoon child is beaten and abused by a real-life father scooped two honours at the fifth biennial animation awards.

The advertisement for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children won its directors, Russell Brooke and Frank Budgen, the best animated commercial prize. The advert was also named favourite advert in the category chosen by public vote. It showed the animated child surviving being abused but was run under the headline: "Real children don't bounce back." The "do something" message was responsible for a doubling of calls to the charity's helpline, either from children being abused themselves or from people reporting abuse.

Dad's Dead, a Bafta-nominated short film by Chris Shepherd, narrated by Ian Hart, in which a young man pieces together moments from the past in a series of ghostly reminiscences, was named best film at the cutting edge, an honour sponsored by the UK Film Council.

And Emily Marshall, of the Royal College of Art, took the best student film prize with Gifted.

But in an eccentric decision by the awards' founder, the animation expert Jayne Pilling, there was no award for best animated feature film, despite the fact that even the Oscars have added such a category to honour the flurry of brilliant animations in recent years, from Belleville Rendez-vous to Finding Nemo.

However, the best film or television graphics award went to the imaginative main titles of the Leonardo Di Caprio movie Catch Me If You Can.

Other prizes included the craft award for Takuskanskan, a short film made as a graduation piece by Selina Cobley at the Edinburgh College of Art; best music award for Extn 21, a short film for Channel 4; the writers' award to Tony Collingwood for Yoko! Jakamoto! Toto! The Special Thing, an ITV series; and the most creative use of sound to Russell Pay for a short film, Little Things.

Other public votes, chosen after screenings in independent cinemas, included favourite music video for Four Tet: My Angel Rocks Back and Forth and favourite short film for How to Cope with Death directed by Ignacio Ferreras.