Cosgrove Hall Productions
Thames Television animation: stop-motion animation episodes: 104 x 10mins
Bay is a town near the sea,
with seagulls and sunshine and sand..."
"Cockleshell Bay" is a gentle series focusing
on the seaside adventures of
twins Robin and Rosie Cockle. Their parents Christopher
and Helen Cockle
run a guest house called The Bucket and Spade and
the twins have buckets
of fun and adventures with their "salty"
friends, Mr Ship, Gran Routy, Paddy
Fingal and his old donkey Fury, and even Ben Gunn the
Here is a soft focus snapshot of seaside life in
Britain in the early 80's. It's
of an era before mobiles and DVD technology, when
make-believe was still
possible, where ice cream was a "trea"'
and family friendships were at the fore.
Stories focused on pirate games, dressing up, losing
things and finding things,
and looking after folk. Though seemingly old-fashioned
in its conception,
Cosgrove Hall were actually breaking new ground with
the show. Here was
a stop-motion series without "cooky" cartoon
characters and fantastic worlds.
Cockleshell Bay was populated by real people in
familiar and indeed, familial
settings. The naturalism and detail was extraordinary,
toys and household objects on every shelf around the
paintwork on the exteriors, tussock grass whispering
on the shoreline whilst
seagulls called overhead. And bravely, the producers
went on to include an
impending pregnancy in later episodes (more below).
Robin and Rosie began their seaside adventures in
a collection of interstitial
animations mafdde for Thames Tv's "Rainbow".
Here they were billed as
"Robin and Rosie of Cockleshell Bay".
Theirs were the third round of stop
motion stories created for the show, following in
the foosteps of Sally and Jake and
Grandma Bricks of Swallow Street
(see The Rainbow Connection).
the very first episode Fresh Start, we learn that Robin and
moved to the seaside from the
town of Ruffington, because "Daddy doesn't want
to work in a factory any more,
and Mummy doesn't want to live in a town..."
this same episode the twins meet Mrs Routy for the first time, and
that she has eleven grandchildren;
which is why everyone calls her "Gran" Routy.
Robin informs her that their own
Granny died, so Mrs Routy assumes the
mantle. Oddly enough, it's Gran
Routy who tells the twins that their rundown
new home is to be a Guest House.
Obviously, their own parents overloooked
that little detail!
Ship is really "Mr Shipham", just like "Gran"
door to the Cockles' home is Pine Villa. The Cockles' own Guest House
doesn't get its name until episode
two, New Names. After suggesting the names
High Tide and The Anchor, Robin
and Rosie eventually come up with The Buket
and Spade - after Mr Ship gives them
a bucket and spade for the beach...
We don't meet Fury until
episode two, either. He stays in Mr Ship's yard, but
he actually belongs to Arthur Fingle
- "Paddy" Fingle - who gives rides to
children on the beach. Ben Gunn gets
his introduction in episode three,
The Pirate Seagull...
Trivia Hounds will
note that somewhere towards the end of the series, we
learn that Mrs Cockle is expecting
a new addition to the family. Indeed, in Robin and Rosie's New Room
the twins are even presented with a new attic
bedroom to accomodate the
iminent arrival. Then in A Name For Baby Cockle,
the fifth member of the Cockle
family is given a name...
Bay on DVD
Love Cult Kids
episode is included on this Cult Kids compilation
2 / Contender / April 2002
A Fresh Start Ostriches
The Pirate Seagull Robin
and Rosie's New Room
The Grand Old Duke of York A
Name For Baby Cockle
Happy Birthday, Gran Routy
The Pirate King
Lost and Found
Bucket and Spade
Cosgrove Hall Productions Ltd
Cosgrove, Mark Hall director: Jackie
Cockle writer: Brian
Trueman music: David
Rohl, Stuart J Wolstenholme puppet designs:
Bridget Appleby puppet
Saunders illustrations: Avril
Turner animators: Andrea
Lord, Steve Moss sets & props: Chris
Walker camera: Jim
Noble, Joe Dembinski film editors: John
McManus, Ellis Ward narrator: Brian
The Cockles, Mr Ship, Fury, Ben Gunn - they all appear here in
selection of screen grabs, plus
an additional page profiles a handful
of episodes, with yet more grabs - *sigh*
- A real gem, is this, with
plenty more bites of series information
to get your teeth into...