Cosgrove Hall quietly shut down

DOCUMENTS filed at Companies House confirm that the legendary Manchester animation house Cosgrove Hall has ceased trading.

The last official word on the plight of the business, which was responsible for Danger Mouse, Jamie and the Magic Torch and Chorlton and the Wheelies, came in October when its owner ITV said it was “under review”.

Annual accounts covering the 12 months to December 31, 2008, contain a paragraph which states: “On October 26, 2009, the directors took the decision to cease trading as a result of continuing losses and increasing difficulties with financing children’s programmes.”

Cosgrove suffered from cutbacks to children’s programming, stemming partly from the loss of advertising revenues following Ofcom’s decision to ban junk food ads during children’s programmes.

Although its back catalogue includes classics like Count Duckula and Wind in the Willows, it did not earn revenue from them because the rights are held by Fremantle Media.

In 2008, a year in which the workforce was halved to around 40, pre-tax losses doubled to £1.6m on sales of £4.7m, down 19%. In January 2009 a pared back team left the firm’s long-term premises in Chorlton to move to Granada’s headquarters in Quay Street.

Adrian Utley, who left in 2008 after running Cosgrove Hall for three years, told TheBusinessDesk at the time: “It’s in a very difficult position as it makes this transformation from work for hire to being an intellectual property-owning entity in a really difficult market. It needs nurturing and support but it’s not getting that at the moment.”