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   Mark Hall (1936-2011) - an inspiration to so many (image from "Jamie & The Magic Torch" / Cosgrove Hall Productions Ltd)
  Mark Hall: 1936-2011   (21.

   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 as
   graphic designers for Granada TV. In 1971 Mark left to
   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
   in 1976.

   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
   (CHF Entertainment)..."

   Media City's release also includes some memories from
   Pete Saunders of Mackinnon & Saunders:

  "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
   unparalleled success.

   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 for
   thirty years:

  "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 a
   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 brought
   together an amazing creative team to do this, and gave them the
   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 2D
   adventures. Why, they were positively Pythonesque. And in
   stop-motion realms, well, the studio beguiled us with a slate
   that pushed at the envelope of animated perfection.

   When I was growing up, Cosgrove Hall were the biggest name
   in UK animation. They dominated our teatime tv schedules on
   ITV, and each year I would scour the Christmas edition of
   Radio Times, eager to pinpoint the date and time of their next
   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...


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