Cosgrove Hall Films

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Cosgrove Hall Films
PredecessorStop Frame Productions
Cosgrove Hall Productions
Founded1993; 31 years ago (1993)
FoundersBrian Cosgrove
Mark Hall
Defunct2009; 15 years ago (2009)
FateFolded by ITV plc
SuccessorCosgrove Hall Fitzpatrick Entertainment, Ltd.
Key people
Brian Cosgrove
Mark Hall[1]
OwnerITV plc
ParentAnglia Television Entertainment/ITEL (Anglia Television/HBO) (1993–2000, 75%[2])
Granada Media Group/Granada plc (2000–2004, 75%[3])
ITV plc (2004–2009)

Cosgrove Hall Films was a British animation studio founded by Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall, headquartered in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester. Cosgrove Hall was a major producer of children's television and animated programmes/films, which are still seen in over eighty countries.[4] The company was wound down by its then owner, ITV plc, on 26 October 2009.[5] It was mainly known for its series Danger Mouse, The Wind in the Willows and Count Duckula.


Stop Frame Productions[edit]

Stop Frame Productions
Founder Mark Hall
SuccessorCosgrove Hall Productions
OwnerBrian Cosgrove
Mark Hall

Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall first met while both were students at Manchester College of Art and Design, which is now part of Manchester Metropolitan University.[6] They later became co-workers at Granada Television, where they produced television graphics.[6]

Hall left his job in 1969 and founded his own production company, Stop Frame Productions.[6] Cosgrove joined the company shortly after its establishment.[6] Their first projects, for Stop Frame, included public service films and television commercials for such companies as the TVTimes.[6] From 1971 to 1972, the company released the animated series, The Magic Ball, which they created in a renovated shed located in the yard of Cosgrove's father-in-law.[6] Hall directed two animated productions for Stop Frame, Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo, which was released in 1972, and the television series, Noddy, which aired in 1975.[6] The company also produced opening credits and graphics for children's TV series such as Rainbow in 1972.[6]

Stop Frame Productions halted production, and was closed in 1975.[6]

Cosgrove Hall Productions[edit]

Cosgrove Hall Productions
FounderBrian Cosgrove
Mark Hall
FateClosed following Thames Television's loss of ITV franchise, re-formed as Cosgrove Hall Films
SuccessorCosgrove Hall Films
OwnerThames Television

Following the closure of Stop Frame Productions, Cosgrove and Hall were able to find new work in animation, specifically due to their earlier work on the 1972 series Rainbow. The producer of Rainbow, Thames Television, an ITV company, created a new, subsidiary, animation studio called Cosgrove Hall Productions in the following year, 1976.[6] Thames hired and commissioned Cosgrove and Hall as lead animators to create new animated programmes, for this new studio, based on their earlier work with Rainbow. Thames Television also hired John Hambley as Cosgrove Hall Films' first executive producer.[6] Its first series was Chorlton and the Wheelies, the lead role being named after the suburb of Manchester where the company was based (the other characters were placed on wheels as this made the stop-frame animation easier). The pop singer and musician Bernard Sumner worked for Cosgrove Hall from its founding until 1979 as a tracer.

Danger Mouse was one of the studio's earliest international successes. The studio made 161 episodes between 1981 and 1992. In each one, Danger Mouse, the world's greatest secret agent, and his well-meaning but useless sidekick Penfold, outwit the evil Baron Silas Greenback and various scoundrels. In 1983, the studio made a 75-minute film, The Wind in the Willows, based on Kenneth Grahame's classic story of the same name. It won a BAFTA award and an international Emmy award. Subsequently, the studio made a 52-episode TV series based on the characters between 1984 and 1990. All the music and songs for the feature and series were written by Keith Hopwood, late of Herman's Hermits and Malcolm Rowe. The Stone Roses guitarist John Squire worked on this series. Count Duckula was a spoof on the Dracula legend; its title character is the world's only vegetarian vampire. He aspires to be rich and famous. Originally he was a villain/henchman recurring in the Danger Mouse series, but got his own spin-off series in 1988 that rapidly became one of Cosgrove Hall's most successful programmes, and a Cosgrove Hall staple to spin-off characters from each successive cartoon. Both shows also aired on Nickelodeon in the U.S. during the late 1980s, and were popular in the ratings for the channel. In 1989, the studio produced a full-length feature based on Roald Dahl's The BFG.

Truckers, the first book in The Bromeliad, was the studio's first collaboration with the best-selling author Terry Pratchett. The 1992 series follows the efforts of a group of nomes, whose spaceship crash-landed on Earth 15,000 years ago, to return home.

The studio downgraded its operations following Thames' loss of ITV franchise, and eventually went defunct after 1993.

Cosgrove Hall Films[edit]

On 15 November 1993, Anglia Television and HBO announced the formation of Cosgrove Hall Films, a restructured version of the previous company. The studio would be 75% owned by Anglia and HBO's joint-venture Anglia Television Entertainment, while Cosgrove and Hall would hold the remaining 25%, with Anglia/HBO's distribution arm ITEL holding international distribution to projects produced by the studio. Cosgrove Hall Films' first two projects were Avenger Penguins and new episodes of Noddy's Toyland Adventures.[7] Nearer the end of the 1990's, ownership was placed under ITEL itself, with then-Anglia owners United News & Media purchasing HBO's stake in November 1999.[8]

In 1997, Cosgrove Hall Films produced two series for Channel 4 based on Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music, two novels from Pratchett's Discworld series.

One of the studio's specialities was producing programmes for young children, such as Noddy's Toyland Adventures, Bill and Ben, and Andy Pandy for the BBC. The latter two series were based on classic characters from the 1950s. In the mid 2000s, Cosgrove Hall worked on a new version of Postman Pat. The studio also animated Ghosts of Albion, the BBC's first fully animated webcast. Website visitors could learn about the production and help to develop the story. Cosgrove Hall produced Scream of the Shalka, a Doctor Who animated story for the BBC website. In 2006, they animated the missing first and fourth episodes of the Doctor Who serial The Invasion for a DVD release.

In 2008, ITV started to overhaul the operations of the Cosgrove hall, which was in part to complete overhaul of its operations which started with the reduction its ITV own children department in 2006.[9] Toward the end of 2008, all except six staff were made redundant by ITV, and Cosgrove Hall moved 'in house' to the Granada Television Studios in Manchester, ending over 30 years of the studio in Chorlton, with many ex staff moving Chapman Entertainment ITV made a claims that Cosgrove had no work at the min but believed “It is on the verge of a commission that will lead to the next recruitment drive.” However the UK was going thought its deepest recession and ITV was not interested in investing in Cosgrove Hall, and a financial review decided that the company was no longer viable.[10][11][12]

The company was again put under review by ITV plc in October 2009, being absorbed, and ceasing to exist a few months later. Cosgrove Hall was developing Theodore, a CGI-animated series, when ITV absorbed the company. Despite being absorbed, the company is still classified as an "Active" business on Companieshouse.[13] [14]


The land occupied by Cosgrove Hall's studios, in Albany Road, Chorlton, adjacent to the town's telephone exchange, which had stood empty for two years, was finally sold in the summer of 2010 to a housing development company. The intention was to demolish the historic studios and build retirement flats.[citation needed] During 2012, the studios were eventually demolished as part of the above development. Urban explorers who visited the site during the demolition found and photographed some models and backgrounds used in previous productions.[citation needed] Coincidentally, during April of that year it was announced that during the past summer, prior to the death of Mark Hall, he and Brian Cosgrove had pitched the idea of resurrecting the brand to possible investors.

Brian Cosgrove became the executive producer at CHF Entertainment, (defunct 2019), as was Hall until his death. On 18 November 2011, Cosgrove Hall Films closed down due to Mark Hall’s death of cancer at the age of 75.[1] CHF Entertainment had actively worked on a number of television series, including Pip Ahoy!, which was aimed at preschool children, and HeroGliffix, which was aimed at older children.



Short films[edit]

  • The Sandman (Channel 4, 1991) (short film)
  • Welcome to the Discworld (1996) (short film) (co-production with Carrington Productions International)
  • Blink (2001) (short film)
  • One Night (2001) (short film, directed by Brian Demoskoff)
  • The Trojan Horse (2001) (short film) (followed by Tindersticks: Dying Slowly)

Television series[edit]






  • Danger Mouse The Great Bone Idol (1979)(later redone into the episode of the same name in 1983)
  • Danger Mouse The Mystery of the Lost Chord (1980)(Also re-edited and re-dubbed, becoming Who Stole the Bagpipes? (episode 2 of season 1)08))
  • SuperTed (1975)
  • Trash (Nickelodeon, 1989)
  • The Crowville Chronicles (Nickelodeon, 1989)
  • The Mutinearlies (1993) (co-production with BBC Enterprises Ltd)
  • Mungie (1996) (co-production with BBC Animation Unit)
  • The Story of Odysseus (1996) (co-production with Carrington Productions International)
  • The Wot-a-Lots (later known as The Beeps) (directed by Sarah Ball) (1997)
  • Meet the Frankensteins (1998)
  • The Little Grey Men (written by Steve Walker) (1998)
  • Winnie the Pooh (1999) (pilot for a stop-motion direct-to-video version of the popular Disney adaption by Bridget Appleby)
  • Eloise (2000) (co-production with The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company and Cartoon Saloon)[15]
  • Mouth and Trousers (2000)
  • The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew (2001)
  • Porter and Daughter (2001) (Engie Benjy pilot, co-production with ITEL)
  • Junglekids (2001)
  • F1: Race for the Future (2001)
  • Saturday Night Livestock (2001)
  • The Inbreds (2002) (pilot for adult animated series, once launched an official website)
  • The Kittens (2002) (Failed pilot for an Atomic Kitten animated series)
  • Shelltown (2003)
  • CodeWarriors (2004) (co-produced with Granada)
  • The Rag Pack (2004) (co-production with VGI Entertainment)
  • The Slums (2004) (co-production with Streetplay Design Ltd)
  • Super Hero High (2004)
  • Harold's Planet (2004)
  • Beat Freaks (2004) (co-production with Spin Entertainment and Mainframe Entertainment)
  • The Wumblers (2005) (co-production with Peak Entertainment and The Silly Goose Company)
  • Octopus and Worm (2005)
  • The Carrotty Kid (2005) (once launched an official website)
  • Wobbly Horse (2005)
  • The Mystics (2005)
  • The Boy Who Kicked Pigs (2005)
  • Hamster in a Cage (2006)
  • A Break From The Old Routine (2007) (co-production with S4C)
  • My Neighbour is an Evil Genius (2007)
  • Roger to the Rescue (2007)
  • The Princess Bumblees (2007)
  • Squidge and the Hardnuts (2008)
  • Ruby to the Rescue (CBeebies, 2009) (co-production with Nelvana)



  1. ^ a b "Danger Mouse co-creator Mark Hall dies". BBC News. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "CiTV orders Cosgrove Hall pre-schooler".
  4. ^ Brown, Maggie (2 October 1992). "ITV upheaval threatens Toytown home of Noddy". Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  5. ^ Graham, James (18 June 2010). "Cosgrove Hall quietly shut down". Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Hayward, Anthony (18 November 2011). "Mark Hall obituary, Animator whose TV cartoon series created with his friend Brian Cosgrove included Danger Mouse and The Wind in the Willows". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "ITV to shut up kids shop". Broadcast. 20 June 2006. Retrieved 7 January 2024.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "the Cartoon Saloon". Archived from the original on 10 June 2002.

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