The DYR blog

The blog with general chat about all things from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s plus news about new features and developments on the website.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mark Hall, 1936 - 2011

We all know the names of our favourite programmes from when we were younger - maybe it was Dangermouse or The Wind in the Willows, Count Duckula, Jamie and the Magic Torch or Cockleshell Bay? Though, the chances are that we probably don't know the names of the writers or creators of those programmes a fraction as well - however large a part of our childhood they were.

Well Mark Hall was one of those almost anonymous creators. Astoundingly, Hall created ALL (!) of the programmes I mentioned above. Alongside his college friend Brain Cosgrove he made surely some of the best childrens programmes of the 1970's and 80's.

Hall, was born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and was an artistic child who put on his own string-puppet shows for friends and then used those skills to good effect in his working life (so buy your kids some puppets now, if his work is anything to go by....) From 1969 he worked as a stop-frame animator, immediately working on some of the 1970's iconic kids programmes - such as the Noddy series.

Then, along with Brian Cosgrove, he started the hugely successful "Cosgrove Hall Productions" in 1976. First came the cartoon Jamie and the Magic Torch (1976-79), then the surreal Chorlton and the Wheelies (1976-79), then Danger Mouse, 1981-92, the secret agent operating out of a London postbox, Count Duckula (1988-93), about a vegetarian vampire duck, Cockleshell Bay (1980-86), Creepy Crawlies (1987-89), Noddy's Toyland Adventures (1992-94), they even made the brilliant 1989 film version of Roald Dahl's book The BFG - one of my all time favorite films.

I had no idea how far and wide Mark Hall's influence stretched into my childhood imagination! I think, in homage, tonight I will crack open a DVD of "Chorlton and the Wheelies" I have from a few years ago. I've been meaning to watch it for a while and this seems a fitting tribute. What a brilliant imagination Mark Hall had, he will undoubtedly be missed.


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