Danger Mouse co-creator Mark Hall dies
Animator Mark Hall, co-founder of Cosgrove Hall, responsible for Chorlton and the Wheelies, Danger Mouse and The Wind in the Willows, has died of cancer at the age of 74.
He died in the early hours of Friday at his home in Manchester surrounded by his family, his company Cosgrove Hall Fitzpatrick Entertainment said.
Operations director Adrian Wilkins hailed "a lifetime of achievement" in the world of animation.
"He is one of life's gentlemen."
Hall, together with Brian Cosgrove, set up production company Stop Frame in the late 1960s before forming Cosgrave Hall Films.
They enjoyed international success with their productions which also included Danger Mouse spin-off Count Duckula, Jamie and the Magic Torch and Cockleshell Bay.
Danger Mouse - voiced by Only Fools and Horses actor David Jason - was joined in his quest to defeat the evil Baron Greenback by bumbling sidekick Penfold, voiced by Terry and June star Terry Scott.
In 2006, the 25th anniversary year of Danger Mouse, Hall told the BBC that the programme had succeeded because of the strange scenarios 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 as well as Scott's "wonderful" Penfold.
He said that Danger Mouse, who lived inside a postbox in London's Baker Street, was "a sort of cross between Bond and all sorts of things".
"He was supposed to be suave but he was a mouse with big ears."
The show, produced by Cosgrove Hall for Thames TV, attracted an average audience of 3.5 million when it was first shown in the UK on ITV.
It has since been seen in more than 80 countries.
Cosgrove Hall went out of business two years ago but both Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall came out of retirement this year to form Cosgrove Hall Fitzpatrick Entertainment (CHF) with Francis Fitzpatrick, creator of children's TV hit Jakers!
The company has created a new character Pip! which it says could create at least 75 jobs in the Manchester area when production gets under way.
They have also created new series The HeroGliffix, a set 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".
CHF's Adrian Wilkins said: "Mark was instrumental in designing the two new TV shows which we're taking to market now which are, if you like, his legacy.
"And he actually saw the Cosgrove Hall name resurrected which was the nicest tribute we could give to him."
Mr Wilkins added: "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] 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."