So sad to hear of the
passing of Mark Hall this week. Mark passed
away peacefully after a short illness, surrounded by his
family at his
home on Thursday 17th November 2011.
Here's Media City's press release:
"Mark Hall, one of the original founders of award-winning
Manchester based Animation Company Cosgrove Hall has
passed away after a short illness.
Hall, who founded Cosgrove Hall in 1969 with Brian
Cosgrove, went onto change the face of childrenís
television, making iconic programmes including
DangerMouse, Count Duckula, Jamie and his Magic
Torch, Wind in the Willows and Chorlton and the
Mark and Brian met at Manchester's Regional College
of Art in the late 1950ís. In the 1960ís they worked
graphic designers for Granada TV. In 1971 Mark left
form Stop Frame Animation, and Brian joined him a year
later. Their first production, The Magic Ball was an
award-winning series filmed in Brian's garden shed.
Cosgrove Hall Productions eventually came together
Mark and Brian and their dedicated team created some
amazing shows from their base in Chorlton. One of their
most loved shows Dangermouse was commanding
audiences of 19million at its peak.
Mark and Brian retired in early 2000, but sadly the
company ceased trading in 2009. However, last month
it was announced that Cosgrove had been resurrected
and that Mark and Brian had come out of retirement
and were working with Dublin-based entrepreneur
Francis Fitzpatrick to form Cosgrove Hall Fitzpatrick
Media City's release also includes some memories from
Pete Saunders of Mackinnon
"Both Ian Mackinnon and myself had the good fortune
to know Mark when we were employed at Cosgrove Hall
in the puppet animation department. He was an
exceptional person to work for; a great creative talent
but also a very generous and considerate employer who
treated his staff with respect and great affection.
Mark and Brian built up a unique company that was a
joy to work for and it is no surprise that it soon became
such a hothouse of creativity with, in its time, such
The demise of Cosgrove Hall's parent company, Thames
Television, in the early Nineties brought about a brief hiatus
for the company and it was during this period that many
ex employees, like ourselves, established companies of
our own - so it is true to say that Mark and Brian were
not only responsible for creating one of the most
successful animation companies in the country, but
also for establishing a whole animation industry here
in the North West that continues to thrive today.
Mark's friendship with Ian and myself endured over the
years, and he was always unstinting with his support,
enthusiasm and encouragement. We will miss him
tremendously and our thoughts go out to his lovely
wife Margaret and their family..."
And here's Jean Flynn, who worked with Mark and Brian
"Mark Hall was so well loved and was such an inspirational
and fantastic boss. He fostered such encouragement and
creativity and had a terrific generosity of spirit; helping
hundreds of people start out in the animation industry.
He had such a love for life and brought so much life into
Cosgrove Hall. His love for life sparked all his ideas and
characters and he was completely and utterly passionate
about telling animation. He will be dearly missed..."
From a historical viewpoint Cosgrove Hall was a studio with
distinct and unique persona. They were a bridge between
SmallFilms and the rise of Aardman Animation. They moved
mainstream UK animation on from those Watch With Mother
years, reaching out to a worldwide audience. The studio
together an amazing creative team to do this, and gave them
oppurtunity to flourish and to progress down their own
equally-amazing career paths.
The films and series Mark Hall and Brian Cosgrove produced
were both inspired and inspirational. They could be gleefully
absurd at times, especially when they took us off on their
adventures. Why, they were positively Pythonesque. And in
stop-motion realms, well, the studio beguiled us with
that pushed at the envelope of animated perfection.
When I was growing up, Cosgrove Hall were the biggest
in UK animation. They dominated our teatime tv schedules
ITV, and each year I would scour the Christmas edition
Radio Times, eager to pinpoint the date and time of
festive premiere. Losing one half of that amazing company
name makes this commentator feel like the little boy, left
behind by the Pied Piper
of Hamelin. Sam, Chorlton, Jamie,
DM, Toad, Ratty, Mole and so many more favourite characters
have been led away into some fading magic hillside,
ne'er to return...