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 Toon Gods
The Hound gets all religious...
  Chorlton The Happiness Dragon!  

   Saluting Britain's brightest and busiest
   animation studio...


    Magic stuff...    A little history...    Of mice and toads... 

    Filmography...    On the web...
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    Magic stuff

    Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall, together with John Hambley and a hugely
    talented pool of names like Brian Trueman, Bridget Appleby, Jackie Cockle,
    Chris Randall, and Barry Purves have been producing animated hit after hit
    for more than 25 years. 'DangerMouse', 'Count Duckula', 'Noddy', 'Oakie Doke',
    'Chorlton And The Wheelies', 'Wind In The Willows', 'Jamie And The Magic Torch',
    'Cockleshell Bay' and more, so many more - These boys and girls have been
    responsible for a whole raft of animated brilliance...

    Uniquely amongst British studios, Cosgrove Hall has shifted adeptly between
    different animated forms, from traditional cel techniques to stop-motion modelwork
    and on now, to computer generated imagery. Their cel-based projects have
    always had a rather surreal bent, with the accent firmly on wit, eccentricity and
    peculiarly British nonsense. From  Cuckooland to Transylvania to Big City, these
    worlds have been populated by a mad menagerie of Truncheon-Eating Policemen,
    Vampire Duck Hunters, and Badly-Drawn Brothers. Witty creations, sparkling
    scripts and design have enabled these shows to overcome the limitations of their
    tight budgets and fling mud in the eye of the American studios, for so long
    unchallenged in their dominance of the kids tv market...

    By contrast, Cosgrove Hall's stop-motion projects have developed in a very
    different direction. The accent here has been on understatement and sophistication.
    Series and films have displayed a level of intimacy and detail which makes them
    look like a million dollars. In the eighties they steered towards the naturalistic,
    achieving remarkable arresting results. From a technical point of view 'Cinderella',
    'The Pied Piper Of Hamelin' and 'The Fool Of The World' are timeless marvels to
    study frame-by-labour-intensive-frame. It's said that the Pied Piper cast included
    1,000 individual puppet rats.

     In the last decade or so Cosgrove's 3D direction has altered course slightly.
    The model series have been designed with a younger audience in mind, and a
    dash of the fun-tastic has been added to the mixture. Witness 'Noddy' and 'Oakie
    Doke', two  splendidly observed creations which utilize all the skill and subtlety
    of technique acquired from those earlier films, but packaged up bright and
    beautiful for a preschool audience...

    Never one to stand still, the studio has now been bitten by the CGI bug, but the
    team haven't forgotten their roots and the same level of care, attention and
    craftsmanship is being employed to the new format. 'Fetch The Vet' and 'Engie
    Benjy' wear the Cosgrove stamp of quality, whilst seamlessly blending
    computer-rendered elements into its traditional set-ups. Recent revivals of
    'Bill & Ben' and 'Andy Pandy' are continuing that subtle blending of techniques,
    whilst again pushing at the envelope of quality....

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    A little history

    Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall go back a long way - all the way to Manchester's
    Regional College Of Art in the late 1950s. Mark graduated in 1957 and Brian
    12 months later. In the 1960s they worked as graphic designers for Granada TV.
    In 1971 Mark left to form Stop Frame Animations, and Brian joined him a year
    later. Their first production, 'The Magic Ball' was an award-winning series
    said to have been filmed in Brian's garden shed. Other Stop Frame
    productions include a splendid version of 'Noddy' (remade by them twenty
    years later, of course), and a one-off adaptation of 'Captain Noah And His
    Floating Zoo'...

    Cosgrove Hall Productions eventually came together in 1976, with exec
    producer John Hambley now onboard what was in fact a subsidiary of
    broadcaster Thames TV. First came the surreal delights of 'Chorlton And The
    Wheelies', titled after the Manchester suburb - Chorlton-Cum-Hardy - where
    the fledgling studio was now based. 'Jamie And The Magic Torch' followed
    swiftly on Chorlton's heels (or wheels, even?), and a TV-adaptation of Gerald
    Durrell's 'The Talking Parcel'. Animated inserts for 'Rainbow' continued through
    from the Stop Frame days and included a mixture of traditional animation -
    'Lines And Shapes' - and stop motion - 'Grandma Bricks of Swallow Street',
    'Sally and Jake', and 'Robin And Rosie of Cockleshell Bay'. The latter spawned
    its own extraordinarily successful series, of course...

    The 80s were dominated by three towering creations - 'DangerMouse', 'Count
    Duckula' and 'The Wind In The Willows'. The mouse and the duck were bright,
    sprite, and utterly ridiculous. 'Willows', meanwhile, was steeped in a golden glow
    of nostalgia. Between them, these series broke America via Nickelodeon,
    collected an armful of prestigious awards and ingrained themselves upon the
    minds of a generation. The world appeared to be Cosgrove Hall's oyster.
    But then, incredibly, in 1993 the studio hit a Big Wall. Their parent company,
    Thames TV lost its broadcast franchise. The studio's funding looked doomed.
    One casualty of the ensuing chaos was 'Truckers', the first series in a trilogy
    based on Terry Pratchett's Bromeliad books. Both planned sequels were
    swallowed up into development hell. But the company was rejuvenated via
    a brand new deal with Anglia TV and a slightly-tweaked name, Cosgrove
    Hall Films. With it came a slate of spanking-new animation favourites for
    a plethora of different companies. The leaner, sharper Cosgrove Hall had its
    eye firmly on the world market and some extremely interesting production
    partnerships. 'Noddy' and 'Oakie Doke' were both tailored into huge hits
    for BBC Worldwide, 'The Animal Shelf' for that all-conquering Mouse House,
    Disney and 'Lavender Castle', a co-production with another British toon
    god, Gerry Anderson...

    The last few years have seen Cosgrove Hall building on established successes.
    A third generation of fans have discovered 'Foxbusters', 'Fetch The Vet', 'Bill
    & Ben' and 'Andy Pandy', and there are new fans for 'Albie' and 'Engie Benjy'.
    Development work has continued alongside the series. Cosgrove Hall Digital was
    launched to exploit the new computer-driven world. Their cgi-short 'Blink' has
    'wow' the industry in 2002. And in development is 'The InBreds', their first
    attempt at a truly 'adult' series since the days of their 'Captain Kremmen' inserts
    for 'The Kenny Everett Video Show' in 1978. Both Brian and Mark have now
    stepped down from active duty at the studio, but their influence is still there
    alongside the array of talent who appear able to churn out success after success
    almost at will. By 'eck, they've done well, so they 'ave...

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    Of mice and toads

    Everyone has their own particular Cosgrove Hall favourite, but in terms of
    their cel-based successes one figure stands head and shoulders above their
    mountain of success. He's white, stares calmly in the face of evil, and wears
    an eye-patch. 'DangerMouse' was a gem, conceived in 1976 as an extension of
    Patrick McGoohan's 'Danger Man' character from the sixties, DM developed via
    a rather ponderous and ill-voiced pilot in to a world-beating, crime-fighting
    superstar. With the series launch in the eighties, DM and his bumbling spectacled
    sidekick Penfold took on board liberal dollops of Bond pastiche and, in the
    process, took the company's success 'across the pond' to America, stopping
    New York in its tracks (almost literally). When a New York TV station cancelled
    the show to broadcast a Mayoral event there were howls of protest. The series
    spawned an almost-as-successful spin-off too, in the form of the vegetarian
    'Count Duckula'. Even now, twenty years on, DangerMouse is a 'hot property' ,
    his name helping to shift a brand-new wave of associated merchandise
    and apparel...

    For many it is in the 3D realm that Cosgrove Hall truly excel, and it's the
    timeless enchantment of 'The Wind In The Willows' which steals that particular
    crown for brilliance. This is the definitive telling of Kenneth Grahame's oft-told
    tale. The woodland folk were beautifully designed and modelled by Brian
    Cosgrove and Bridget Appleby, who produced so many classic characters
    during the company's 'golden years'. Each ball and socket model cost a cool
    £5,000 to make - no surprise when you se the finished films. Those 'Willows'
    characters were exquisitely animated down to every last twitching whisker.
    The budget was pushed up by a microscopic attention to background details,
    with each set seemingly planted with individual flora and miniaturized implements,
    items and object d'art. The woodland world was complimented by a haunting,
    melancholic theme tune and spot-on casting for the voices. The original film
    went on to win a BAFTA, and the subsequent series and second film,
    'Oh, Mr Toad!' collected another hearty helping of awards and prizes from
    around the globe...

    Jamie - with his magic torch...       Noddy - the little man with the red and yellow car...   DangerMouse - Amazing! - Astounding!    Oh, Mr Toad!    Robin & Rosie - of Cockleshell Bay...

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    Cosgrove Hall/Stop Frame filmography

     Stop Frame

     The Magic Ball (1972)
     Rainbow titles (1972 )
     Rainbow: Line and Shapes (1972)
  Sally and Jake (1974)
     Noddy (1975)

     films and specials:  
     Capt. Noah and His Floating Zoo (1974)

    Cosgrove Hall

films and specials:   
     The Talking Parcel (1978)
     Cinderella (1979)
     The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1981)
     The Wind In The Willows (1983)
     The Reluctant Dragon (1987)
     A Tale of Two Toads (1989)
     The BFG (1989)
     The Fool Of The World &
     The Flying Ship (1990)
     On Christmas Eve (1992)
     Peter and the Wolf (1996)
     Father Christmas and the Missing
     Reindeer (1997)




Cosgrove Hall


Chorlton and the Wheelies  (1976 - 1979)
Jamie and the Magic Torch (1977)
Grandma Bricks of Swallow St. (1977)
Captain Kremmen (1978 - 1981)

Cockleshell Bay (1980 - 1986)
DangerMouse (1981 - 1992)
The Wind in the Willows (1984 - 1987)
Alias the Jester (1985)
Creepy Crawlies (1987 - 1989)
Count Duckula (1988 - 1992)
Victor And Hugo (1991 - 1992)   
Truckers (1992)
Oh! Mr Toad! (1990)
Noddy (1992 - 1994)
Avenger Penguins (1993 - 1994)
Oakie Doke (1995 - 1996)
Fantom Cat (1995 - 1996)
Brambly Hedge (1996)
Discworld - Wyrd Sisters (1997)
Discworld - Soul Music (1998)
Enid Blyton's Enchanted Lands (1998)
Sooty's Amazing Adventures (1997)
The Animal Shelf (1997 - 2000)
Rotten Ralph (1999 - 2000)
Rocky and the DoDos (1998 - 1999)
Foxbusters (1999)
Lavender Castle (1999 - 2000)
The Little Grey Rabbit (2000)
Vampires, Pirates & Aliens (2000)
Fetch the Vet (2000)
Bill And Ben (2001)
Andy Pandy (2002)
Engie Benjy (2002 -)
Albie (2002)
Little Robots (2003)
Postman Pat (2004 -)

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      On the web

      Cosgrove Hall Films
      The official site. Very bright and quick loading with bites of info on their
      entire CV, plus regular bulletins of company news and more...
      Cosgrove Hall Digital 
      Cosgrove Hall have a digitial facility, and this 'flash' site details the people
      behind it and the facilities on offer, as well as some handy info on recent work...

      Cosgrove Hall Ate My Brain
      Nyanko's excellent fan site details the whole Cosgrove Hall CV - Slick,
      colourful presentation here, with licensing info, up-to-the-minute news,
      and much more besides - a top place!

      Screen Online
      The BFI and Alistair McGown profile Cosgrove Hall here...

      Remember the Eighties
      'Remember The Eighties' remembers Cosgrove Hall in this most
      informative interview with Mark Hall...

      Classic Television
      And 'Classic Television' presents an interview with both Brian Cosgrove
      and Mark Hall, concentrating on DangerMouse, but covering all bases
      in the process....

      Pearson TV
      This is the 'Thames Animation Programme Library' from Pearson Television
      providing credits for a raft of Cosgrove Hall's productions...

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    © Cosgrove Hall Films / F2000-2005