The Manchester-based prodco has three 26 x 10-minute, model-animated preschool series in various stages of production. All three carry price tags of about US$260,000 per half hour (or US$87,000 per episode), and ITEL handles worldwide distribution rights for each.
Cosgrove Hall just went into production with partner Flextech Rights of the U.K. on Fetch the Vet, slated to air on ITV in September 2000. The series centers around Tom Fetch, village vet of Duckhurst, who always comes to the rescue. He responds to the ‘Fetch the vet!’ cry of distress in each episode, and sets about to rescue beasts of all descriptions.
Flextech is also a co-pro partner for Porter and Daughter, scheduled to air on ITV in early 2002. Moving into preproduction, the series deals with the exploits of Rusty Porter, who runs her father’s small engine repair shop in Pineapple Place, while he runs the office in the back. ‘It’s about a girl in a traditional boy’s environment where she fixes trucks and train sets,’ says Oliver Ellis, ITEL’s head of programming.
Jungle Kids is the other model-animated series now in development. The series follows the exploits of three children who live next door to each other and meet in a tree house. ‘It’s about a club mentality,’ Ellis says. Co-pro deals are under negotiation, and the series is slated for a 2001 delivery. Cosgrove Hall is also currently in preproduction on Albie, a dead-clever, 2-D animated series for the six to 12 set that’s budgeted at about US$275,000 per half hour (or US$92,000 per episode). The charming 52 x 11-minute series, which is based on an idea by Andy Cutville, is slated for a fall 2001 delivery to France’s TF1. Albie is a six-year-old with an active imagination. He’s convinced there is a hippo in his bathing pool, for one thing. Albie encounters all sorts of beasts, like Dave and Arthur-the camels in his sandbox. Are Albie’s animal friends imaginary, or not? ‘No one really knows,’ Ellis says, ‘except for the neighbor Silent Trevor-and he’s not about to say anything.’
Vampires, Pirates and Aliens is a co-pro with France’s Millimages. The 2-D animated, 26 x half-hour series carries a price tag of about US$275,000 per episode. Based on the books by Colin and Jacqui Hawkins, the series is made up of seven-minute segments, each featuring-you guessed it-vampires, pirates and aliens. ‘But the vampires also have cameos in the aliens stories,’ Ellis says, making it fun for kids ages six to 12 to pick out the ‘guest stars’ in each story. The series, currently in production, will air on ITV in January 2001.
Mouth and Trousers is a 52 x 10-minute series in development for the eight to 12 set. Cosgrove Hall is currently negotiating co-pro deals for the US$4.8-million series, which is slated to air on ITV in September 2001. Based on the slapstick stylings of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy, the series is about ‘one character who has a large mouth, and one who has a large pair of trousers,’ Ellis says.
Finally, Cosgrove Hall is rolling out Little Grey Rabbit at NATPE. The 26 x 11-minute, 2-D toon is based on the classic book series by Alison Uttley, and follows the exploits of the Little Grey Rabbit and her friends who live on the edge of the wood. The rustic series, also budgeted at US$275,000 per half hour (or US$92,000 per episode), is ready for delivery now and will air on ITV.
ITEL handles worldwide distribution rights for all series.