makers - Cosgrove and Hall's Noddy|
Cosgrove Hall animation
studios in Chorlton is where some of the nation's favourite children's cartoons
have been created - classics like 'DangerMouse', 'Noddy' and now 'Fifi and the
As Cosgrove Hall celebrates its 30th anniversary Inside Out's
Jacey Normand goes on a behind-the-scenes tour of the studios to meet some of
the stars of kids TV.
Home of animation
have been making hit shows since 1976 and it's now the largest animation studio
and Hall struck up a partnership in the 1970s|
Hall makes children's television programmes which are shown all over the world,
and it takes teams of animators to create favourites like 'Fifi and the Flowertots'
and 'Postman Pat'.
Co-founders Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall set up
the studios in an old warehouse in Chorlton in 1976.
For them it was the
realisation of a dream which had started, of all places, in Brian's garden shed:
remember somebody found out and named it the magic shed
and in a way it
was because that's where the dream started because in truth it was very hard work,
working full-time in television and working on backgrounds at night for Brian
in that shed." Mark Hall.
Their first big hit on TV was
the aptly named 'Chorlton and the Wheelies'.
It was followed by the 'Wind
in the Willows' which remains very special to the duo till this day:
was a very big favourite of mine from my childhood.
were sensational, you know - Edwardian gentlemen basically... for me 3D animation
is better when, you get characters that come from an animal background rather
than a human background."
Hall's big breakthrough came in 1981 when 'DangerMouse' hit the screens. The show
was a huge success.
"The nearest thing I can say in talking about
'DangerMouse' was it was pure us," says Brian Cosgrove.
barmy... it's the barminess of the story lines that were the essence of 'DangerMouse',
and then, of course, the voice qualities - David Jason was fantastic as DangerMouse
and Terry Scott was wonderful as Penfold."
behind the character - Jane Horrocks|
Animation has changed
a lot in the last 30 years. Nowadays all the drawn animation is done on computer,
much of it using the latest CGI techniques.
Animators at the studio are
currently busy working on the next series of the award-winning 'Fifi and the Flowertots',
which Cosgrove Hall makes for 'Bob the Builder' creators Chapman Entertainment.
Each scene has to be shot frame by frame and incredibly it takes an entire
day to shoot just 12 seconds.
It take a long time to make just one episode.
depends on how much action is going on within the story. If there's a lot of action
it could take more than a week and a half, but normally two weeks, fingers crossed,
with no hiccups," say the team.
Fifi is being voiced by British actress
she's very earthy and she works
in a garden and makes cakes and, you know, works with compost. She's such a sweet
has been involved in the creation of many of Cosgrove Hall's most famous stop-frame
She has her own distinctive style:
Hall- making memorable animated films|
"I hope what you
see in them is quality because it's quality stuff. I like to try and give a different
look to every show that comes in.
"We don't have a visual style.
It depends on the project.
"It surprises me when people come into this
room here and they recognise various characters and they say they've grown up
with them, shared their childhood with them.
"For them not to forget
those characters and for me to have had a hand in giving them those memories is
a great privilege."
There's all kinds
of amazing things happening at Cosgrove Hall.
There's even a puppet
hospital, and Inside Out watches as Fifi has some emergency dental work.
the world of animation every second counts so a team of puppet specialists make
sure Fifi's fixed up and ready to return to the set as quickly as possible.
also an extensive puppet wardrobe.
character is costumed and cared for|
All the costumes are made
in house based on approved designs from Cosgrove's clients.
team goes shopping to find the right fabrics, the right scale, print and colour.
One of the character's hats, for example, came from a pair of old jeans
bought in an Oxfam shop. Jumpers are often made from socks.
All the characters
have their own wardrobes and their outfits are washed and ironed like human beings.
are seven animators on 'Postman Pat' and another seven on 'Fifi and the Flowertots',
so there's a lot of handling of the puppets on a daily basis.
an awful lot of washing, ironing maintenance work including repairing worn out
costumes and replacing lost buttons.
Thirty years of excellence
Hall has come a long way from Brian and Mark's 'magic shed' thirty years ago.
think Mark and Brian are exceptional men. They brought this company on from nothing,
literally nothing, and against all advice they've built it into a major powerhouse
of animation around the world."
Anthony Utley, Managing Director of Cosgrove
From their modest roots with 'Chorlton and the
Wheelies' 30 years ago, the shows have now been seen by millions of viewers in
over 120 countries worldwide.
That's a fantastic achievement for this North
West animation team.
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