Mark Hall, co-founder of Cosgrove Hall, dead at 74

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Mark Hall

Mark Hall

Producer-Animator Mark Hall, co-founder with Brian Cos­grove of famed British stu­dio Cos­grove Hall, died early Fri­day at his Man­ches­ter home after a bat­tle with can­cer. He was 74.

He died sur­rounded by his fam­ily, said his com­pany, Cos­grove Hall Fitz­patrick Entertainment.

The ani­ma­tion stu­dio he founded was respon­si­ble for Dan­ger Mouse, Vam­pires, Pirates and Aliens and The Wind in the Wil­lows, among many TV series. It also pro­duced such fea­tures as Cin­derella (1979) and The BFG (1989).

Hall met Cos­grove while they were study­ing at Man­ches­ter School of Art in the 1950s. After grad­u­a­tion, they both joined TV, doing graphic design at Granada Television.

In 1971, Hall left Granada to start Stop Frame Pro­duc­tions, which, he said in a 2006 inter­view, was “where we cut our teeth.”

They cre­ated Cos­grove Hall Films in 1976, the year after Stop Frame was wound down. They had suc­cess around the world with their series, which included Dan­ger Mouse spin-off Count Duck­ula, Jamie and the Magic Torch and Cock­leshell Bay.

Hall had “a life­time of achieve­ment” in ani­ma­tion, recalled Cos­grove Hall oper­a­tions direc­tor Adrian Wilkins. “He is one of life’s gentlemen.:

Voiced by Only Fools and Horses actor David Jason, Dan­ger Mouse was joined by bum­bling side­kick Pen­fold (voiced by Terry and June star Terry Scott) in his attempts to van­quish evil Baron Greenback.

In 2006, the series’ 25th anniver­sary year, Hall told the British Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion that the secret to Dan­ger Mouse’s suc­cess was the odd sit­u­a­tions that the the pair found them­selves in.

The adults watched because of that kind of anar­chy,” he said. “The kids watched it because they just loved the sto­ries and the absolutely stu­pid gags.”

He praised Jason’s “fan­tas­tic” voic­ing of Dan­ger Mouse and Scott’s “won­der­ful” Penfold.

Pro­duced by Cos­grove Hall for Thames TV, Dan­ger Mouse drew an aver­age audi­ence of 3.5 mil­lion when first aired in the Britain on ITV. Since then, it’s been broad­cast in over 80 countries.

Although Cos­grove Hall went out of busi­ness two years ago, both co-founders came out of retire­ment this year to form Cos­grove Hall Fitz­patrick Enter­tain­ment with Fran­cis Fitz­patrick, cre­ator of the hit kids’ series Jakers!

The com­pany has cre­ated a new char­ac­ter, Pip!, which, it says, could cre­ate at least 75 jobs in the Man­ches­ter area when pro­duc­tion begins.

Cos­grove and Hall also cre­ated the new series The HeroGlif­fix, a group of “so-called super heroes” who have “paws with flaws that get in the way of their super­pow­ers in the most incon­ve­nient and com­i­cal ways.”

Mark was instru­men­tal in design­ing the two new TV shows which we’re tak­ing to mar­ket now which are, if you like, his legacy,” said CHF’s Adrian Wilkins. “And he actu­ally saw the Cos­grove Hall name res­ur­rected which was the nicest trib­ute we could give to him.”

Added Wilkins: “One of our fel­low direc­tors summed it up the other day and said, when the his­tory of ani­ma­tion is writ­ten, you’ll have the likes of Walt Dis­ney up there, [Bob the Builder’s] Keith Chap­man, etc. But Brian Cos­grove and Mark Hall are going to be in the life­time hall of fame for their con­tri­bu­tion to the ani­ma­tion industry.”

Mark Hall is sur­vived by his wife and two chil­dren. One of them, Simon, also works in the ani­ma­tion business.

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