Darren Walsh

He's a snot-nosed ginger-haired kid with no mates and a disrespectful attitude towards authority. Angry Kid spends his spare time tearing around on his Raleigh Chopper (wearing his very stylish Parka jacket) getting into all sorts of bother, and verbally abusing his father and sister. David Cox recently chaired a press conference with the creator of the little rascal who generally causes havoc wherever he goes...

David Cox: What was your inspiration for Angry Kid? Explain yourself...

Darren Walsh: I think it's my older brother. Yeah, my older brother is about three years older than me and most of the stories are based on true stories, based on him. It's sort of a get back. We did a little pilot, which was basically a spoof based on him, and sent it to Aardmann about six years ago, and they sort of gave me the chance to develop it and turn it into a character.

So we had this luxury of being able to develop something with a budget. We made them bit by bit, we've got about 50 episodes now and they've all been made as the money's come along, and he's sort of matured during that period.

Angry Kid was an endless non-starter. The big problem with a one-minute format is that no TV stations really know what to do with it. We finally got there when Channel 4 were doing 4 Later, but things went wrong at the eleventh hour and we decided well shit we've been doing this for three years now, so we just gave it to Atom Films, who came to us with a really good plan and said here's what we're going to do with it and here's your audience.

Finally we had someone telling us who our audience was rather than us telling them, or lying to them about who our audience was. And they just stuck it on the net for anyone who wanted to see it, because that was the whole thing, it was just throwaway animation.

Animation's normally so expensive and so precious, but this was throwaway stuff and it belonged on the net for that whole building up period and developing of character. It did really well and without that whole Atom thing I don't think we'd have got much further. We certainly wouldn't have gotten this whole series going. After all, it's very difficult to get money for a character based on a ginger haired kid who doesn't really do much.

DC: We've seen what great work they've done on the DVD. Do you see DVD as being the way forward for Angry Kid?

DW: Yeah, I think it's going to work quite well. What we've seen so far of the DVD is great. We came in earlier when just the menu was playing and it really pisses you off after a while, because it keeps running on a loop. It's very Angry Kid. So you've got no option other than to play something whatever it might be, so that's a good thing.

DC: [To the audience] Any questions, come on don't be shy.

Audience question: Is Angry Kid's voice based on anybody?

DW: We did a pilot way back and it was a voice based on Phil Daniels in Quadrophenia. There's one bit where he falls and gets knocked off his Lambretta by a postman and he goes into a rant and it's just brilliant. Yeah, so it's sort of Phil Daniels meets my brother.

Audience question: Have you had any obsessive Angry Kid fans from the Internet dressing up like him and so on?

DW: There's a fan site in Germany where people, it's normally office workers, scan their faces in and whack the Angry Kid wig on and then send them to me. It's really scary. They're normally 20-something blokes, which is a bit weird.

DC: Who is your target audience?

DW: I don't know. There isn't one. We've done a second series, and we're talking about doing a longer format as well, and [people are always asking] what our target audience is. Well I suppose, if I was going to be really boring, I'd say the target was going to be 23 to early thirties, but to be honest it doesn't mean everyone within that bracket is going to enjoy it. That's the target, but other age groups enjoy it as well. Kids seem to really love it, which is a bit dodgy.

Audience question: How much of a longer format are you talking about?

DW: It's two things, one was a feature and the other one is working on a series of half hours, so we're sort of expanding. The big thing in this country is that everyone wants to do the next Simpsons, but we aren't going to get it. Because we've got a different sense of humour and I don't think we're as willing to take the piss out of ourselves as the Americans are. So I'm avoided that sort of Simpsons thing and trying [instead] to come up with a sitcom based on what you've seen up there [points to the screen], which is more of a mix and match, lick both sides and hold, rough as a cat's arse production.

I think the rough [production values] look great and I think you could extend it to half an hour and keep a good audience. But with a few better writers than me obviously...

Audience question: Can you put a finger on why Angry Kid has been so popular?

DW: I don't know. Is it really popular? I think it's all wrong, I mean it doesn't look much like a kid, it looks like a bloke and he's not very angry, so we got it all wrong in the description. Maybe it's just the stupidness. You know we're not trying to say anything clever, the scripts are moments in time that have come from me. It's always my brother or people I know.

We've got a few episodes that nobody will ever see because they're rubbish, but because we can make them so quickly, because we can churn them out, because it's real, because it's flashbacks and stuff that people remember and did, we can make it all happen with him. It's so quick and cheap.

DC: You must be quite chuffed about the popularity of it. Nearly 10 million people have watched it on the Internet.

DW: And they're all asking why.

DC: Didn't you have something to do with Morph?

DW: That's how I got into Aardmann about seven or eight years ago. Aardmann is a very traditional 3D animation company and I'd never done anything of the sort. But they were interested in Angry Kid, so they gave me the joyous task of cutting my teeth on Morph. So I took over Morph from Peter Lord, who was the creator obviously, and it was quite a big responsibility, and I learnt a lot from it actually.

In fact, the first Morph job I got, I was phoned up by Morph himself, the bloke who does the voice, to ask what his motivation was, because I'd sent him the storyboard. And it was just some bloke with a normal voice going, "So what's my motivation" and I was like "you're not Morph".

Originally on Morph you'd have this one guy, I can't remember his name now, but he did the voice and he did all the sound effects and he was in charge of everything you heard on Morph and they'd just ramp his voice up on a quarter inch tape and speed it up and that was it. So I got asked what Morph's motivation was...

Audience question: If you're going to turn it into a longer format, what characters do you think you might bring out?

DW: Well, we're going to expand on his world, which doesn't go much beyond his own street and school. Which is kind of the way it is for a little kid. You see the news and see what's going on, but you kind of imagine it all happening in your own street.

So, there's going to be his girlfriend, who isn't his girlfriend, he just thinks she is but she actually hates him. And this strange little women at the end of the road, who's called Mrs Jobling. She's a weird witch, well that's what he thinks, but she's actually a nice old lady.

Audience question: Did you ever find yourself vetting your own ideas because they're just too sick?

DW: Yeah. No actually, it's normally other people who pick me up on it being too sick. There have been some really, really dodgy ones that have been stopped at the eleventh hour, because we've thought we can't do this, somebody's paying for it. We've got one or two that probably won't be seen until we're forced to show them, because they're just a little bit wrong... But I think we could have been much worse than we have.

With thanks to David Cox at DSA

Season one of Angry Kid is available to buy from Pathe Distribution Ltd from 09 June 2003 RRP £15.99 (DVD)

Return to...

banner ad