Cartoon Critters (CBBC, 1996-1999)
A while ago I looked back at CBBC sitcom Space Vets, which seemed to do rather well. In that piece I did say about Cartoon Critters, which wasn’t really a spin-off, but it did feature one of the characters from that show. It was rather odd to see them turn up again in a totally different format, and I have decided that I might as well give this one a full review.
Cartoon Critters was a show about animations from the archive that starred animal characters. This did sort-of come across as a cross between Stay Tooned and The Really Wild Show. This was hosted by Dogsbody (I can only presume that the rest of his crew had long-since been lost in space), and he was accompanied by a female dog who was Fleur Pompidou.
Do I detect a touch of romance between them? Well, maybe not. I also couldn’t help but notice the contrast between his American accent, and her English accent. I also remember being amused by the opening sequence where an animated version of Dogsbody was surrounded by various animals causing chaos, including a rather strange penguin.
This was a show that promised “the truth behind the toons”, well we’ll see about that. Among those that were featured were Bugs Bunny and Tom And Jerry, some classics that were dusted off once again to be shown. And of course, the clever thing about cartoons is that animals can be made to talk, and have personalities created for them.
We’d also see archive clips of real animals, you would never believe that they could make so many squeaking noises. There was also a section where Dogsbody would put his beret on and get his big pen out, and draw some animals himself, which would be accompanied by the famous music from Vision On. Some of his pictures weren’t too bad, I wonder if he was a distant relative of Sebastian The Incredible Drawing Dog?
There were four series of Cartoon Critters, so there were plenty of amusing moments featured. This would also often be repeated as part of CBBC’s breakfast strand, but I don’t ever recall this turning up on the great CBBC On Choice strand. And any show that made us imagine what the world would be like if elephants could talk must have something going for it.