Think of the much missed animation studio Cosgrove Hall and you’ll probably think first of DangerMouse or Count Duckula. They were certainly responsible for a lot of the more fondly remembered, madcap and typically British animation series from my childhood, yet they also had a softer side for the younger child.
Cockleshell Bay was one such example of Cosgrove Hall bringing a more sedate and calm experience. The show was made using the stop frame animation technique, and was about the adventures of Robin and Rosie Cockle, two young twins who lived in a little seaside guest house called The Bucket and Spade, which was run by their parents.
Robin and Rosie lived an idyllic life, and I was even a little envious of them as I would have loved to have lived by the seaside when I was their age. Unlike a lot of today’s children’s entertainment, they spent their time doing normal things, like walking along the beach, playing hide and seek or just chatting with their friendly neighbours, until it was time for tea, which if I remember correctly was how the series brought most of their adventures to an end, by being called in for their evening meal.
The Bucket and Spade was owned by their parents Christopher and Helen, who had moved to the coast to escape the more madcap pace of town life. They were more than ably assisted by Gran Routy, who wasn’t actually Robin and Rosie’s grandmother, but became a sort of surrogate granny to the children.
One of their neighbours and best friends was Mr. Ship, an old retired sailor who was really Mr. Shipham, but the twins preferred Mr. Ship. They used to play in and around his old shed, and in his garden he looked after a donkey named Fury, who was actually owned by Paddy Fingle (again not his actual name, he was really Mr. Fingham). Fury used to give kids donkey rides on the beach, another aspect of seaside life which is sadly disappearing from the UK.
In all over 100 episodes of Cockleshell Bay were made, but before they were made the characters first appeared as a segment of the classic kid’s show Rainbow. These segments were narrated by Geoffrey, and were introduced as “Robin and Rosie from Cockleshell Bay”, and were obviously popular, hence why Cockleshell Bay eventually got its own series.
I’ll leave you with a video clip of the intro to the series, which perfectly sums up the laid back, restful feel of the programme.