Company Overview

Ian Mackinnon and Peter Saunders are Creative Directors / Executive Producers and co-founders of Mackinnon & Saunders Ltd.

Ian and Peter’s talented team have worked on a huge range of TV series, short films, commercials and feature films. Their work includes puppets for popular TV shows such as Postman Pat, Bob the Builder, Scream Street, Pingu, Koala Brothers, Rastamouse, Strange Hill High, Raa Raa the Noisy Lion, Twirlywoos and the new Clangers. Feature film work includes Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie.

Mackinnon & Saunders also produce TV commercials (Taco Bell for Deutsch LA, 2017) and develop entertainment programmes for children's TV, including the award-winning BBC TV series Frankenstein’s Cat and Raa Raa the Noisy Lion.

The Mackinnon & Saunders stop motion studio team produces animation for NBCUniversal/DreamWorks Classics ( Raa Raa the Noisy Lion and Postman Pat SDS™ for CBeebies), Komixx Entertainment (Toby’s Travelling Circus for Channel 5) and Ragdoll (Twirlywoos for CBeebies).

In 2013, Mackinnon & Saunders Digital Studios was launched as a joint venture with Komixx Entertainment. The studio’s first production was a 2D digital animation series called Wanda and the Alien (Channel 5).

A Very Brief History

Ian Mackinnon and Peter Saunders began working together in the 1980s at one of Europe’s largest animation companies, Cosgrove Hall Films. They pioneered new techniques in puppet making on productions such as the BAFTA-winning The Reluctant Dragon and Emmy Award-winning The Fool of the World and The Wind in the Willows.

At the start of the 1990s, Ian and Peter set up their business partnership. At the same time Ian produced The Sandman with colleagues Colin Batty and Paul Berry. This dramatic short film won many awards on the international festival circuit and received an Oscar nomination in 1993. The film is used in UK schools by the British Film Institute as an introduction to film language.

1995 saw the business expand internationally when director Tim Burton asked Mackinnon & Saunders to design and construct the Martian characters for the feature film Mars Attacks! M&S set up a design studio in Los Angeles to make animation puppets and life-size Martian characters for the film, and increased its Manchester-based team from 5 to 45 people.

Following their collaboration on Mars Attacks!, Tim Burton asked Ian and Peter to create the puppets for Corpse Bride. Working from designs by Tim Burton and Carlos Grangel, the team produced an incredibly intricate cast of characters.

Tim Burton said

“...there was no question in my mind that these were the guys to do it...They do such beautiful work, very sensitive and textural; you really do believe the characters are alive.”

In 2006, Ian and Peter were awarded the Ub Iwerks Award at the ASIFA 33rd Annual Annie Awards in Hollywood. This Special Jury Prize for Technical Achievement honours the ingeniously machined face controls designed especially for Corpse Bride.

The fabulous furry puppets for Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox were created in the M&S workshops in 2007.

In 2009, Mackinnon & Saunders collaborated with Tim Burton again, working closely with the director to create the characters for Frankenweenie.

In 2013, Ian and Peter were presented with the Bradford Animation Festival Lifetime Achievement Award.

In November 2013, Mackinnon & Saunders received a special Judges Award from the Royal Television Society North West.

The Mackinnon & Saunders studio production team received a BAFTA nomination in 2014 for Best Children’s Pre- School animation of Postman Pat SDS™, produced for DreamWorks Classics.

In 2015, Ian and Peter received Honorary Doctorates from Staffordshire University in recognition of their special contributions in the field of stop motion animation.

Production Work

Numan Health commercials
Numan / Agency Uncle Sunshine
Coca Cola Interstitial “World without waste”
M&C Saatchi / Coca Cola
The House
Nexus Studios / Netflix
Moon and Me
Foundling Bird / Sutikki / CBeebies
Red Tractor
Red Tractor / Love Agency
2018 / 2019 / 2021
Taco Bell – National Taco Day
TV commercial 2017
Co-production with Loose Moose for Deutsch Los Angeles
Raa Raa the Noisy Lion
NBCUniversal 2016 - 2017
Animation production for live action/animated series x 3
Ragdoll for CBeebies 2015, 2016, 2017
Tulah & Floss
Hettie Makebelieve
Pilot 2016
Mattel Creations
Toby's Travelling Circus
Pilot and series
Komixx Entertainment for Channel Five 2012 -2013
Postman Pat SDS
DreamWorks Classics 2012 – 2013
*BAFTA nomination 2014
Raa Raa the Noisy Lion
TV series developed by Mackinnon & Saunders
A co-production with Chapman Entertainment
For CBeebies 2011
Frankenstein's Cat
TV series developed by Mackinnon & Saunders
A co-production with Kayenta Production, Paris
For CBBC - first aired in 2007
Tim Burton Retrospective
Stop motion and CGI animation promo – online use
MoMA New York 2009
ACMI, Australia 2010
Toronto International Film Festival, Canada 2010
LACMA Los Angeles, USA 2011
La Cinematheque Francaise, Paris, France 2012
SeMA Museum of Art, Seoul 2013
Max Ernst Museum, Bruhl, Germany 2015
Puffs Tissues
TV commercials/print advertising/online
Publicis NY/Procter and Gamble 2000–2011
Spot the Signs with Jess the Cat
Short educational animation – online use
Pegasus PR 2011
Jeff the Chef
Pilot for series
HoHo Entertainment 2011
Everything's Rosie
Pilot for series
VGI for CBeebies 2008
Curious Cow
TV interstitials
Nickelodeon UK 2000

Puppet Making for Feature Films

Disney/Tim Burton 2012
Fantastic Mr Fox
Fox Searchlight/Wes Anderson 2007/08
Max & Co
Cinemagination/Fred & Sam Guillaume 2006
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
Warner Bros./Tim Burton 2004/05
League of Gentleman's Apocalypse
BBC Films/Steve Bendelack 2004/05
Mars Attacks!
Warner Bros./Tim Burton 1995

Puppet Making Support Services for Feature Films

The Boxtrolls
Laika Studios 2014 Graham Annable & Anthony Stacchi
Laika Studios/Chris Butler & Sam Fell 2012
Laika Studios/Henry Selick 2008
Chicken Run
Aardman/Nick Park & Peter Lord 1998/99

Puppets & Modelmaking for TV Productions, Short Films & Feature Films

Raa Raa the Noisy Lion
TV series
NBCUniversal for CBeebies 2017
TV Series
Ragdoll for CBeebies 2015, 2016, 2017
Tulah & Floss
World of Wishes 2017
Poles Apart
Short Film
Paloma Baeza/National Film & TV School 2016
Postman Pat SDS
TV Series
Dreamworks Classics for CBeebies 2015
Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm
Anderson Entertainment 2015
Second to None
Short Film
Caboom Dublin 2016 (armatures only)
We Wish you a Merry Walrus
TV Special
Factory/Disney Club Penguin 2014
Scream Street
TV Series
Factory/Coolabi for CBBC 2015
The Clangers
TV Series
Factory/Coolabi for CBeebies 2014
Strange Hill High
TV Series
Factory for CBBC 2011-2012
Toby's Travelling Circus
TV Series
Kommix Entertainment for Channel Five 2011-2013
Short Film
Simon Partington 2011
Short Film
Barry Purves 2011
Compost Corner
TV Shorts
CITV 2011
Raa Raa the Noisy Lion
TV Series
Mackinnon & Saunders/Chapman Entertainment 2010
Tian Keng
Feature Film (in development)
Greatwall International Trade 2011
Paralympics Ade & Iwan
TV Promo
Flickerpix for C4 2011
TV Series
The Rastamouse Company 2010
Blue Nose Island
Aardman Animations 2010
Short Film
Dark Prince/Barry Purves 2010
Short Film
Erik de Luna 2010
Short Film
Alex Cooke 2010
The Village
Short Film
Stelios Polychronakis 2009
Made On Monday
Les Paillard Castards 2007
Roary The Racing Car
TV Series
Chapman Entertainment 2006/08
Rupert the Bear
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall 2006
Fifi & the Flowertots
TV Series
Chapman Entertainment 2004/08
Little Robots
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall 2002/05
Bob the Builder
TV Series/Specials
HOT Animation 1998/2006
TV Series
HOT Animation 2004/05
Koala Bros
TV Series
Spellbound Entertainment 2003
Postman Pat
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall/Entertainment Rights 2002/08
Rubber Dubbers
TV Series
HOT Animation 2002
Engie Benjy
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall 2001
Andy Pandy
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall 2001
Short Film
Treasure Films Dublin 2001
Hamilton Mattress
TV Special
Harvest Films 2000/01
Rotten Ralph
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall 1998/2001
Fetch The Vet
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall 2000/01
Bill & Ben
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall 2000
CD Ron
Simon Paul 1999
Winnie the Pooh
Disney / Cosgrove Hall (maquette/puppets) 1999
Interrogating Ernie
Ken Lidster/Loose Moose 1999
Dinosaur Roar
Hot Animation 1999
Cabbage Patch Kids
TV Specials
Famous Flying Films 1994/1998
Animal Shelf
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall 1998
Gilbert & Sullivan
Short Film
Bare Boards 1998
Brambly Hedge
TV Series
Hot Animation 1998
Rocky & the Dodos
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall 1997/98
The Suspect
Short Film
Zeppelin Films Portugal (armatures) 1998
The Ice Warriors
Granada TV (maquettes) 1998
Jelly Bean Beach
Siriol (maquette) 1997
Tom & Vicky
LWT (armatures) 1997
The Periwig-Maker
Short Film
Ideal Standard 1997
Tales of the Little Wood
Cosgrove Hall 1997 (maquette)
Ozzie the Elf
TV Special
Will Vinton Studios 1997
Quest For Camelot
Warner Bros. 1996/97 (maquettes)
The Iguana Brothers
Warner Bros. 1996/97 (maquettes)
Toonder Studios 1996
Krazy Kat
Short Film
Spitting Image/Hearst Entertainment/BBC 1996
The Happy Prince
Channel 4 (armatures) 1996
Combination Skin
Short Film
Screwball Films/Channel 4 1996
Cosgrove Hall 1996
Country Companions
Cosgrove Hall 1996
Animal Shelf
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall 1996/97
Lavendar Castle
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall/Carrington Productions/Gerry Anderson 1997
Short Film
Bare Boards - 1995
The Big Story
Short Film
Tim Watts & David Stoten/Spitting Image (armatures) 1994
Ah Pook
Short Film
Philip Hunt (armatures) 1994
Bump in the Night
TV Series
Danger Productions (armatures) 1994
The Story Store
TV Series
Carlton TV 1994/95
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall/BBC 1991/95
Oakie Doke
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall/BBC 1995/95
The Odyssey
Cosgrove Hall 1995
Cosgrove Hall 1994
Short Film
Bare Boards 1993
Short Film
Bare Boards 1992
Short Film
Bare Boards/S4C/BBC 1993
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall 1992
Creepy Crawlies
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall 1987/89
Oh! Mr Toad
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall 1990
Short Film
Aardman Animations/Channel Four 1989
Wind in the Willows
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall 1983/89
Cockleshell Bay
TV Series
Cosgrove Hall 1980/86

Puppets & Modelmaking for Advertising, Promotions & Exhibitions

BBC1 Christmas The Supporting Act
Blinkink for BBC 2017
Taco Bell
Deutsch 2017
Sainsbury’s The Greatest Gift
Passion Pictures/AMV BBDO 2016
Holiday Elf
Brookstone 2011
Puffs Tissues
Publicis NY/Procter & Gamble 2000 - 2011
United Utilities Sewer Monster
APS Group 2010
Tiger Woods
Louis Tussaud’s 2008
Chips Ahoy
Loose Moose 2001 - 2007
Bing Can Sing
Moby (music video) 2005
GE Money Piggy Banks
TCS Advertising 2007
Dairylea Lunchables
Loose Moose 2001/2005
Brisk Tea
Loose Moose 1996 -2001
Duracell Bunny
Passion Pictures 2000
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish
Loose Moose 1999
Passion Pictures 1998/99
Michelin Man
Spitting Image 1998
Four Seasons Salad Dressing
Loose Moose 1998
Medical Dummy
Bare Boards 1998
Cabbage Patch Kids (Commercial)
Famous Flying Films 1998
Alka Seltzer Tequila Worm
Passion Pictures 1997
Stagg Chilli
Loose Moose 1997
A Life Less Ordinary
Passion Pictures 1997
Reebok - Ryan Giggs Doppleganger
Passion Pictures 1997
Target - Skeleton
Loose Moose 1997
US Postal Service - Statue Of Liberty
Hellzapoppin 1997
Hellzapoppin 1996
Cheesy in a Scrape
Ocean Graphics 1996
Software Creations 1996
Pritt Stick
Hellzapoppin 1994
Britannia Building Society
BDH 1994/97
Tuborg Lager
Cosgrove Hall 1994
Chewits Munch Monster
Bare Boards 1994
Christmas Irish National Lottery
McConnells Advertising 1994
Fred Astaire Teapot
Catalyst Pictures 1993
Squashed Chick
Smarts Advertising 1993
Dancing Champagne
BBC Christmas ident 1993
Creature CDI Game
Red Rat Software 1993
Akura CD
Catalyst Productions 1993
Toilet Duck Japanese Samurai
Bare Boards 1993
Lost World CDI Game
Red Rat Software 1993
Irish National Lottery
McConnell’s Advertising 1992
Newcastle Transport Network
Catalyst Productions 1992
Burmatex Carpets
Geoff Smith Photography 1992
Twardy Rabbit
Spitting Image 1991
Christmas on BBC1 (Idents)
Bare Boards 1989/1990
Cherry Blossom Shoe Polish
Reel One Films 1987
Angel Delight Magician
Aardman Animations 1987
Jordans Muesli Bar
Aardman Animations 1986
Clydesdale Bank
Orchid Productions 1981

These are some of the awards and nominations received by productions that we’ve worked on:


Academy Award Oscar® nomination Best Animated Feature Film 2013
Golden Globe nomination 2013
BAFTA nomination 2013
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
Academy Award Oscar® nomination Best Animated Feature Film 2006
British Animation Awards Best Feature Film 2006
Venice Film Festival Future Film Digital Award 2005
Los Angeles ASIFA Annies: Ub Iwerks Award for Technical Achievement awarded to Mackinnon & Saunders for animated head mechanisms 2006
Fantastic Mr Fox
Academy Award Oscar® nomination Best Animated Feature Film 2010
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Animation 2009
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Animated Film 2009
Annecy Animation Festival Cristal Award for Best Feature Film 2009
Frankenstein’s Cat
Cartoons on the Bay Pulcinella Award Best Kids’ TV series 2008 awarded to Mackinnon & Saunders
Bradford Animation Festival Best TV series 2008 awarded to Mackinnon & Saunders
The Sandman
Academy Award Oscar® nomination Best Short Animated Film 1993
Hiroshima Animation Festival Grand Prix 1992
Annecy Animation Festival Best Short Film 1993
Stuttgart Animation Festival Best Short Film 1993
Ottawa Animation Festival Best Animated Film 1994
Espinho Animation Festival Best Animated Film 1994
Bob the Builder
BAFTA Best Animation 2003
The Periwig Maker
Academy Award Oscar® nomination Best Short Animated Film 2001
BAFTA nomination Best Animated Short Film 2000
Ottawa Animation Festival Best First Professional Film 2000
Seattle International Film Festival Short Film Award 2000
Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films Best First Film 2000
The Big Story
BAFTA Best Short Animated Film 1995
Melbourne International Film Festival Best Short Animation 1995
Academy Award Oscar® nomination Best Short Animated Film 1995
Palm Springs International ShortFest Jury Award 1995
Chicken Run
British Animation Awards Best European Feature Film 2002
Evening Standard British Film Awards Peter Sellers Award for Comedy 2001
BAFTA nomination Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film 2001
Golden Globe Awards nomination Best Comedy/Musical
Puffs Tissues “Rhonda” and “Rudy”
Mobius Awards Gold & Silver 2000 awarded to Mackinnon & Saunders
Leipzig Golden Dove Award 1995
Animexpo Korea Special Jury Prize 1997
Barcelona Film Festival Audience Prize 1996
Hiroshima Animation Festival Special Jury Prize 1996
Bilbao Silver Medal for Animation 1995
BAFTA nomination Best Short Animated Film 1996
Treviso Mr Linea Prize for Technical Achievement 1994
Ottawa Animation Festival Special Prize 1994
Cinanima Honourable Mention 1994
Chicago International Film Festival Silver Plaque 1994
Shanghai Grand Prix 1992
British Short Film Festival Best Animation 1993
Chicago Film Festival Gold Plaque 1993
Hiroshima Animation Festival Best 5 – 15 minutes Film1994
Academy Award Oscar® nomination Best Short Animated Film 1993
Oberhausen Film Festival Best Animated Film 1993
Annecy Animation Festival Special Distinction for Artistic Merit 1993
Hiroshima Animation Festival Best Debut Film 1990
Espinho Best 5 - 15 minutes Film 1990
British Animation Awards Best Technical Achievement 1990
Gilbert & Sullivan – the very models
Carolina Film Festival Best Animation 1999
Academy Award Oscar® shortlisted for nomination Best Short Animated Film1999
Krok Animation Festival Best 15 – 30 minutes film 1999
Ottawa Animation Festival Best Object Animation 1999
Hamilton Mattress
Annecy Animation Festival Grand Prix 2002
British Animation Awards Best TV Special 2002
Chicago International Children’s Film Festival Children’s Jury Award 2002
Florida Film Festival Audience Award Best International Short Film 2002
RTS North West Awards Best Animation/Puppetry 2017
Chicago International Children’s Film Festival Best Production for Young Children 2016
RTS North West Awards Best Children’s Programme Preschool 2016
RTS North West Awards Best Animation/Puppetry 2015

RTS North West Judges Award 2013
Sainsbury’s “The Greatest Gift”
British Arrows 2017 Gold Award for Animation: 3D

Mackinnon & Saunders was founded after Ian Mackinnon and Peter Saunders had established their puppet making team at Cosgrove Hall in Manchester. Productions worked on there included:

The Pied Piper of Hamelin
BAFTA 1982
The Wind in the Willows
BAFTA 1983
International Emmy Award 1983
The Reluctant Dragon
BAFTA 1987
The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship
International Emmy Award Best Children’s Program 1991
Chicago International Children’s Festival First Prize 1991