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Down and Out is a 1977 short film created by Aardman Animations. It is part of the Animated Conversations series. In this short, creators David Sproxton and Peter Lord "applied the groundbreaking technique of using recorded conversations of real people as the basis for the script".[1]

Down and Out
Aardman Animations
BBC Bristol
Distributed byBritish Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (1977) (UK) (TV)
Release date
13 March 1979 (originally made in 1977)
Running time
5 min



David Sproxton said "That was the first film of five minutes we had ever made and the first we had ever done using found sound, produced by a big producer called Colin Thomas. We sent [ex-BBC producer Jeremy Isaacs] the small amount of work we had, which was basically Down and Out and some kids' stuff. And he called us up to the London office...and said 'I've seen that film Down and Out. We'd like ten of those for our first week's transmission.'"[2] These were the 5 shorts of Conversation Pieces, and later the five short of the Lip Synch series.[3]

Aardman Animation explains:

Peter and David had always thought there was an adult audience for animated films, and in 1978 made two short films using real-life soundtracks, for BBC Bristol under the guidance of Colin Thomas. Although these two films (‘Down and Out’ and ‘Confessions of a Foyer Girl’) were disregarded by the BBC [until] they were seen a couple of years later by Jeremy Isaacs who was creating the shape of the newly formed Channel Four. This led directly to the commissioning of five similarly constructed films (‘Conversation Pieces’)[4]


This was the first film to use the technique developed by Sproxton and Lordan of "animating puppet characters to spontaneous, realistic conversations, rather than prepared scripts...It impressed producer Jeremy Isaacs, who commissioned five five-minute films [entitled Conversation Pieces] for the newly established Channel 4 in London.[5] Animated Documentary explains "Confessions of a Foyer Girl and Down and Out were based on eavesdropped conversations and pair documentary sound with stop motion animation of Plasticine figures.[6]


The Los Angeles Times explains the plot: "focused on a homeless man trying to get a bed in a Salvation Army shelter".[5]

Critical receptionEdit

Confessions of a Foyer Girl received a rating of 4.8/10 at from 23 users.[7] Dr. Grob's Animation Review said "the lip-synch [in Confessions] is not as good as in Down and Out."[8]


  1. ^ "fly2help - Leading UK Aviation Charity - Lifting Horizons". Archived from the original on 10 January 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  2. ^ "The Critical Eye – David Sproxton". Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  3. ^ Stop Motion: Craft Skills for Model Animation - Susannah Shaw - Google Books. 10 September 2012. ISBN 9781136135095. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Aardman Animations - Aardman History". Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Oscar Win Caps 25-Year Partnership : Animation: Aardman duo's groundbreaking works--including 'Creature Comforts'--highlight 'British Invasion.' - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  6. ^ Animated Documentary - Annabelle Honess Roe - Google Books. 11 June 2013. ISBN 9781137017468. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  7. ^ "Down and Out (1977) - IMDb". Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Confessions of a Foyer Girl – Dr. Grob's Animation Review". Retrieved 11 January 2014.