||This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2012)|
|Founder(s)||Tony Collingwood and Christopher O'Hare|
|Headquarters||London, England, United Kingdom|
Collingwood O'Hare is a TV animation studio based in London headed by writer/director Tony Collingwood and producer Christopher O'Hare. Responsible for animated TV series 'Oscar's Orchestra', 'Dennis the Menace', 'Gordon the Garden Gnome', 'Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!' and 'The Secret Show', among others.
Collingwood O’Hare Entertainment began in 1988 when Collingwood’s graduation film RARG attracted the attention of The Muppets’ Jim Henson at its very first screening. The film was an instant hit and went on to win numerous awards, including The British Animation Award’s Best Film for Children. It received a BAFTA nomination and won the outstanding achievement award for Best Short Animated Film in 1988. RARG premiered on Channel 4 in the UK and was a centerpiece of PBS’ Long Ago and Far Away children’s strand in the USA.
A commission from ITV and Scottish Television for 26 x half-hour episodes of the original series, Captain Zed and the Zee Zone, created by Tony Collingwood, quickly followed through 1991-2, establishing the company as producers of long-form series animation.
The company continued to expand and in 1992, Helen Stroud, former development executive at Primetime/RPTA, joined as Head of Development. She remains a core member of the Collingwood O’Hare team.
In 1994 Collingwood O’Hare was approached to produce a classic Dr Seuss property, Daisy-Head Mayzie for Hanna-Barbera and the Turner Network Television. Tony Collingwood adapted the partially completed Dr Seuss manuscript for the small screen and Christopher again produced. The half-hour special achieved a Primetime Emmy Nomination in 1995, and scooped a prestigious US CableACE Award for Best Children’s Program the same year.
At around the same time, Collingwood O’Hare fully created, developed and produced the international music-based animation series Oscar’s Orchestra for the BBC and Warner Bros. Television. This original and innovative series, starring Dudley Moore as Oscar the Piano, went into US syndication.
In 1997, Collingwood O’Hare brought The Beano’s classic comic character, Dennis the Menace ‘to life’ for the small screen, with 26 half-hour shows called Dennis & Gnasher. Dennis & Gnasher was the BBC’s number one rated children’s show and was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Children’s Animation in 1998. This classic series continued to air on CBBC until 2006 and rates particularly well with 6-9s.
Collingwood O’Hare’s next original production was the charming Animal Stories, a series of 52x5-minute animated poems for CiTV and Disney Channel, affectionately narrated by the Oscar nominated actor Sir Nigel Hawthorne (UK) or Alan Marriott (USA). The series, which follows the life, loves and problems of different members of the animal kingdom, was created by Trevor Ricketts and Christopher O’Hare and developed for television by Tony Collingwood. Animal Stories won the 2001 Children’s BAFTA for Best Pre-School Animation.
Animal Stories has successfully driven a programme of ancillary exploitation, including 16 Animal Stories book titles, published by Harper Collins in the UK, with a 2-book tie-in deal in the US with Random House and a 26 title anthology in France with Atlas, released with plush collectable toys. Animal Stories was released on video on the HiT Video label, with an exclusive to M&S, and two volumes on DVD in the USA through Blast Films. Animal Stories continues to sell well around the world via international distributor Foothill Entertainment, and has recently sold back into the UK on Cartoonito.
Also produced at this time was the second series of Candy Guard’s acclaimed adult animation sitcom Pond Life, for Channel 4. The series had its first run in the USA on Oxygen in Spring 2001. Target Entertainment distributes the series.
Collingwood O’Hare returned to the pre-school arena with the production of the half-hour special Eddy & the Bear, based on Jez Alborough’s best-selling children’s book trilogy Where’s My Teddy?, It’s the Bear and My Friend the Bear. Set in a beautiful wood, during the perennial summer of childhood, Eddy & the Bear is the delightful story of a little boy’s first ever friendship - with a ten-foot tall bear! Bear is voiced by Robert Lindsay, with Frances de La Tour narrating.
The Eddy & the Bear special premiered on ITV on Christmas Day 2001. A series of 26x11 minute episodes followed, airing in two parts, April 2002 and Spring 2003. Walker Books published four tie-in storybooks and two sticker books in the UK and is distributed by Granada – excluding UK and USA rights, which remain with Collingwood O’Hare.
The Eddy & the Bear series and special scooped two awards at Cartoons on the Bay 2001, for Best Series and Best Characters. The half-hour special also received nominations in 2002 from both the RTS and the British Animation Awards. The series won the BAFTA for Best Pre-School Series in 2002.
After almost ten years gestation, Collingwood O’Hare also completed an original 75-minute television feature, The King’s Beard, for CiTV and Granada in 2001. The King’s Beard was a key fixture in ITV’s 2001 Christmas schedule, airing on Christmas Eve and repeated the following festive season 2002.
In 2003 Collingwood O’Hare expanded their production expertise with the creation of their first computer animated series. 52x5-minute episodes of Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto! were animated entirely in house on CelAction 2D, for CiTV. Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto! is a vibrant celebration of the friendship between Yoko (a bird), Jakamoko (an armadillo) and Toto (a monkey). The stories are told solely through music and action, with a look and sound inspired by traditional Spanish, Latin American and African art and music. Roger Jackson composes the inspirational score. The series was designed and co-directed by Andrea Tran, another key member of the Collingwood O’Hare team. 26 x 1-minute ‘Fez Moment’ interstitials have also been produced.
Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto! has already won numerous industry awards: ‘Best Pilot’ at the 26th Annecy International Festival of Animation and at Cartoons on the Bay 2000. Best TV Series for Children at The Bradford Animation Festival 2003. Best Writer award for Tony Collingwood at the British Animation Awards 2004 and two BAFTAs, including Best Writer for Tony Collingwood again, and Best Pre-School Animation 2004.
Collingwood O’Hare’s next major production was 52x10-minute episodes of Gordon the Garden Gnome for CBBC, CBeebies & ZDF. Starring gardening guru Alan Titchmarsh as the voice of Gordon Gnome, the series takes a humorous look at gnome society, helping to raise awareness of nature and the environment amongst young children in a familiar garden setting.
Gordon made his public debut in 2002 at Eureka! the UK’s only dedicated children’s museum, in Halifax, as part of their new £2m interactive Global Garden installation. Gordon Gnome premiered on the BBC in 2005 and has continued to enjoy regular transmissions on the CBeebies Channel each year since. Endemol have sold the series worldwide, and secured three seasonal DVD Volumes, Spring, Summer and Back to School Adventures, released through Paramount Video, plus licensing a range of garden gnomes and accessories in stores.
Building on the company’s success in the pre-school market, 2004 also saw Collingwood O’Hare embark on a major co-production with CCI Canada, in association with Silver Fox Films, for 52x10-minute episodes of Harry & His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs. (Channel 5/Playhouse Disney UK/Cartoon Network USA.) A second 52 episodes was produced through 2006/7.
This delightful series is a journey into the imagination of a 5-yr old boy as he jumps into his bright blue bucket, crammed full of toy dinosaurs, and discovers magic and adventure in dinoworld. The series was adapted for television by Tony Collingwood, from the best selling books by Ian Whybrow and Adrian Reynolds.
Harry is proving a success in other areas too. An initial DVD release in 2006 will be followed by two further titles in 2007. Story, sticker, activity and colouring books are also planned through 2007-8. With a master toy license already signed with Fisher Price, plus outdoor toys and apparel already signed up, and a touring theatre show already in the pipeline, little Harry is heading for big things.
Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!, Gordon the Garden Gnome and Harry & His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs all received their USA premiere in the launch line-up for Cartoon Network USA’s pre-school initiative Tickle U.
Collingwood O’Hare’s largest and most ambitious series to date is The Secret Show, a quirky secret agent show cool enough for today’s sharp and demanding 7-12 year olds.
The Secret Show is an original, comedy adventure series, created by Tony Collingwood, Like Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!, it was animated entirely in the company’s London studio using the computer software CelAction2D and is another successful collaboration with composer Roger Jackson, with Tony Collingwood and Andrea Tran co-directing.
It’s about ‘secret people doing secret things’ and follows two U.Z.Z secret agents, Victor Volt and Anita Knight as they save the planet from assorted villains intent on world domination.
The scale and complexity of this 52x13-minute production has been to a level that the company could not have dreamt of producing only a few years ago. A major commission from CBBC and BBC Worldwide, the series was financed within only a few months of the presentation of its pilot episode at Cartoon Forum Spain in fall 2004. It was in full-blown production through 2005-6.
The Secret Show premiered on CBBC in September 2006 with an initial run of 26 episodes within TMi. The second season premiered in a dedicated slot in BBC2's new Saturday morning kids’ line-up in February 2007 and currently features as a key part of CBBC’s autumn re-branding 2007.
Re-packaged into half-hour episodes for the USA, season one of The Secret Show kicked off to a terrific start in January 2007 on Nicktoons Network, with the second season premiering in June 2007.
Alongside the production of the series, the Collingwood creative team has also produced substantial new animation segments and special features for inclusion on three DVD releases planned for 2007. These include three live-action mini-documentaries on the production process, original Outtakes/Gags, a Martian Dub, Character Profiles and Commentaries, plus a series of animated Professor Professor ‘totally untested and highly dangerous’ lectures.
In conjunction with BBC Worldwide and Penguin books a range of storybooks, joke and activity books were created for release in 2007.
And for CBBC/BBC WW, with new media company Complete Control, Collingwood O’Hare has created a Secret Show web game for CBBC ( www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc ) - be a Secret Agent and help U.Z.Z retrieve a secret object from THEM base), as well as writing for and developing a fully interactive dedicated Secret Show website, ( www.thesecretshow.com ), including its two additional web games. This is the largest web site to ever accompany the launch of a British children’s animated series.
Future projects include the company’s first CGI animation series Parpazoids, to be ‘aired’ initially as musical, gag-based shorts, online games and ring tones, followed by 52 x 10-minute adventures; a fantasy comedy-adventure series, Thorgar, (‘He’s bigger than you are!’); Ding! Dong! Ping! Pong!, 52 x 11-minute multiple choice adventures for pre-schoolers and the live-action comedy drama series NinCOMproof.
List of cartoons 
- Animal Stories (1999–2002)
- Bebe's Kids (1991)
- Busy Buses (1999–2003)
- Captain Zed and the Zee Zone (1991)
- Daisy-Head Mayzie (1995)
- Dennis and Gnasher (1996)
- Eddy and the Bear (2001)
- Gordon the Garden Gnome (2005–2007)
- Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs
- The King's Beard (2002)
- Oscar's Orchestra (1994–1997)
- Pond Life (1998–2000)
- RARG (1988)
- The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! (2010-)
- Rufus the Chipmunk and Friends (TBA-TBA)
- The Magic Key (2000–2001)
- Thumbelina (1992)
- The Secret Show (2006–2009)
- Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto! (2002–2005)