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Wallace and Gromit is a British clay animation comedy series created by Nick Park of Aardman Animations. The series consists of four short films and a feature-length film. The series centres on Wallace, a good-natured, eccentric, cheese-loving inventor, along with his companion Gromit, a silent yet loyal and intelligent anthropomorphic dog. Wallace was originally voiced by veteran actor Peter Sallis, but as of 2011, this role has been passed on to Ben Whitehead. Gromit remains silent, communicating only through means of facial expressions and body language.

Wallace and Gromit
Wallace and gromit.jpg
Wallace and Gromit
Genre Clay animation
Comedy
Adventure
Suspense
Written by
Directed by
  • Nick Park
  • Steve Box
  • Merlin Crossingham
Starring
Theme music composer Julian Nott
Opening theme "Wallace and Gromit"
Composer(s) Julian Nott
Country of origin United Kingdom
United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes
  • 4 30-minute films
  • 1 feature film
  • 1 6-part TV series
  • 10 2-minute shorts
  • 1 BBC Proms special
Production
Location(s) Bristol, England
Cinematography
Running time
  • 4 × 30 minutes
  • 1 × 85 minutes
  • 6 × 30-minute TV episodes
  • 10 × 2 minutes
  • 1 × 45-minute Proms special
Production company(s)
Release
Original network
Picture format
  • 4:3 (1990–1993)
  • 16:9 (1995–2010)
Original release 24 December 1990 – present
Chronology
Related shows
External links
Official Site www.wallaceandgromit.com

Because of their widespread popularity, the characters have been described as positive international icons of both modern British culture and British people in general. BBC News called them "some of the best-known and best-loved stars to come out of the UK".[1] Icons has said they have done "more to improve the image of the English world-wide than any officially appointed ambassadors".[2] The films have received critical acclaim, with three of the short films, A Grand Day Out (1989), The Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1995), having 100% positive ratings on the aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes; the feature film, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005), gained a 95% rating. The feature film is also the second highest-grossing stop motion animated film ever, only behind Chicken Run, another Nick Park creation.[3]

Wallace and Gromit spearhead the fundraising for two children's charities, Wallace & Gromit's Children's Foundation, which supports children's hospices and hospitals in the United Kingdom, and Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children's Hospital Charity.

Contents

HistoryEdit

The first short film, A Grand Day Out, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1990, but lost to Creature Comforts, another animated creation of Nick Park. The short films The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave followed. The full-length feature The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was released in 2005. The latter three each earned Academy Awards.

In January 2007, a five-film deal with DreamWorks and Aardman fell through after only three films, due to creative differences, as well as the box office failure of Flushed Away. Park said later that DreamWorks executives wanted to Americanise the very British Wallace and Gromit after test screenings, which would have tarnished some of the duo's nostalgic charm. A Matter of Loaf and Death was Nick Park's first production since the end of the DreamWorks deal. It was the most watched television programme in the UK in 2008.[4] A Matter of Loaf and Death won the 2008 BAFTA Award for Best Short Animation and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2010.[5] In 2013, Peter Lord stated that there were no plans at the moment for a new short film, and Nick Park announced in the following year that the declining health of Wallace's voice actor, Peter Sallis, had the possibility of preventing any future films despite the availability of Ben Whitehead.[6] On 4 May 2017, Peter Lord stated that more projects with the characters are likely while speaking at an animation event in Stuttgart, Germany. He said, "When Nick [Park]'s not drawing cavemen, he's drawing Wallace & Gromit ... I absolutely assume he will do another, but not a feature. I think he found it was too much. I think he liked the half-hour format."[7]

The original voice of Wallace, Peter Sallis, died on 2 June 2017.[8]


OverviewEdit

 
Creator Nick Park with his characters in 2005 promoting Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

WallaceEdit

Voiced by Peter Sallis (until 2010), and Ben Whitehead (in 2009 and since 2011) in Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures and Wallace & Gromit's Musical Marvels,[9] commercials and apps. Wallace can usually be found wearing a white shirt, brown wool trousers, a green knitted pullover, and a red tie. He is best known for his love of cheese, especially Wensleydale,[10] and crackers. His birthday is 7 August. The thought of Lancashire hotpot keeps him going in a crisis. He enjoys tea, and on special occasions a little Bordeaux red. He reads the Morning, Afternoon and Evening Post, and lives at 62 West Wallaby Street, Wigan, along with his dog Gromit. His last name is never given.

Wallace is an inveterate inventor, creating elaborate contraptions that often do not work as intended. He is a self-proclaimed genius, evident from his exclamation when he discovers Hutch's borrowed skill, a talent for mechanical things. Most of Wallace's inventions look similar to the designs of W. Heath Robinson and Rube Goldberg, and Nick Park has said of Wallace that all his inventions are designed around the principle of using a "sledgehammer to crack a nut." Wallace's official job varies; in A Close Shave he is a window washer. In The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Wallace runs a humane pest control service, keeping the captured creatures (nearly all of which are rabbits) in the basement of his house. In the most recent short, A Matter of Loaf and Death, he is a baker. While he has shown himself to be skilled to some degree in the businesses he creates, an unexpected flaw in the inventions he uses to assist him in his latest venture or simple bad luck often end up being his downfall.

Some of Wallace's contraptions are based on real-life inventions. For example, his method of waking up in the morning utilises a bed that tips over to wake up its owner, an invention that was exhibited at The Great Exhibition of 1851 by Theophilus Carter.

He has a kindly nature, and is perhaps a little over-optimistic. At times he can be inadvertently selfish and inconsiderate, but has a good heart and always means well. Nick Park, his creator, says: "He's a very self-contained figure. A very homely sort who doesn't mind the odd adventure." He is loosely based on Nick Park's father,[11] whom Park described in a radio interview as "an incurable tinkerer". He described one of his father's constructions, a combination beach hut and trailer, as having curtains in the windows, bookshelves on the walls, and full-sized furniture bolted to the floor. The way he dresses and his passion for cheese is based on an eccentric school teacher.

In the first photo shown on The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, it was revealed that once, when Gromit was little, Wallace had a full head of hair and a very thick mustache with muttonchops. On the photo that shows Gromit's graduation at Dogwarts, he had lost his beard, but still had a little hair, in the form of side burns just above his ears. As shown in The Wrong Trousers, he still uses a hair-dryer. In A Matter of Loaf and Death, when Wallace is talking to Gromit, a picture is seen behind Gromit of Wallace with a brown beard and brown hair.

Wallace has had three love interests. The first was Wendolene Ramsbottom,[12] which ended quickly when Wendolene told Wallace that she had a calcium allergy. The second was Lady Tottington in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, whom Wallace fondly calls "Totty". In A Matter of Loaf and Death, Wallace becomes engaged to Piella Bakewell,[13] but this ended when she turned out to be a murderess who hated bakers, and was eaten by crocodiles upon trying to escape justice. He remembers all three though, since in Musical Marvels, after the montage of his three love interests, he refers to them as "the ones that got away".

GromitEdit

Gromit is Wallace's pet dog and best friend. Gromit is generally more intelligent, more intuitive, and less naive than Wallace. His birthday is 12 February.[14] Gromit graduated from "Dogwarts University" ("Dogwarts" being a pun on "Hogwarts," the wizard school from the Harry Potter books) with a double first in Engineering for Dogs.[15] He likes knitting, playing chess, reading the newspaper, tea and cooking. His prized possessions include his alarm clock, dog bone, brush, and a framed photo of himself with Wallace. He is very handy with electronic equipment and an excellent aeroplane pilot. Though this is not mentioned a lot, according to Wallace or any other person he is a beagle.[16] More often than not, he is seen as a threat to the plans of the various villains he and Wallace have encountered in their adventures.

Like his owner, Gromit has a good nature and kind heart; he is always looking out for Wallace and others. Gromit is more aware and less eccentric than Wallace, and thinks carefully before making actions. Gromit has no visible mouth and does not express himself through spoken words, but his facial expressions and body language speak volumes. Peter Hawkins originally intended to voice Gromit, but Park dropped the idea when he realised how Gromit's expressions could easily be made through small movements.[17][18]

Many critics believe that Gromit's silence makes him the perfect straight man, with a pantomime expressiveness that drew favourable comparisons to Buster Keaton.[19] He does at times make dog-like noises, such as yelps and growling.[20] Nick Park says: "We are a nation of dog-lovers and so many people have said: 'My dog looks at me just like Gromit does!'"

Generally speaking Gromit's tastes are more in vogue than those of Wallace; this being one of the many ways they contrast against each other as characters. Gromit seems to have a significant interest in encyclopaedic, classical and philosophical literature, and popular culture, including film and music. Electronics for Dogs has been a firm favourite since A Grand Day Out, and in The Wrong Trousers Gromit's bookshelves feature titles such as Kites, Sticks, Sheep, Penguins, Rockets, Bones, and Stars, while he is seen reading The Republic, by Pluto (a nod to the Disney character of the same name and a pun on Plato) and Crime and Punishment, by Fido Dogstoyevsky (a pun on Fyodor Dostoyevsky). In general Wallace and Gromit is full of wordplay, but Gromit's various possessions and their recurrent use of puns have become a particular source of understated witticism. A Matter of Loaf and Death is the best example of this, featuring: "Pup Fiction" (Pulp Fiction), "The Dogfather" (The Godfather), "Where Beagles Dare" (Where Eagles Dare), "Bite Club" (Fight Club) and "The Bone Identity" (The Bourne Identity) all as book titles, and "Citizen Canine" (Citizen Kane) as a film poster. His taste in music has been shown to cover Bach (which comes presumably as a result of being pronounced "bark"), "Poochini" (a play on Puccini) and "McFlea" (McFly). Gromit also knits, and solves puzzles with ease.

Sometimes, Gromit refuses to take (or simply ignores) Wallace's orders, such as in A Close Shave and Shopper 13, wherein Wallace orders him to get rid of Shaun, but Gromit does not.

NASA named one of its new prototype Mars explorer robots after Gromit in 2005.[21]

On 1 April 2007, HMV announced that Gromit would stand in for Nipper for a three-month period, promoting children's DVDs in its UK stores.[22]

Gromit gains his own love interest in A Matter of Loaf and Death, when he becomes attached to Fluffles, a poodle. Fluffles reciprocates his affection and joins Wallace and Gromit delivering bread at the end of the film, and the three drive off into the sunset. making a delivery, listening to "Puppy Love" (performed, according to the record cover, by "Doggy Osmond").

In 2010, Empire magazine placed Gromit first in their list of "The 50 best animated movie characters". Empire wrote that: "Gromit doesn't ever say a word, but there has never been a more expressive character (animated or otherwise) to grace our screens."[23]

LocationEdit

 
Gromit sorts the mail at his house where he hopes to find a birthday card (scene from The Wrong Trousers)

Although not overtly setting the series in any particular town, Nick Park had previously hinted that its milieu was inspired by thoughts of 1950s Wigan, reinforced by an A–Z Wigan being displayed on Wallace's Anti-Pesto van in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.[24] In The Wrong Trousers, Gromit picks up a letter at the Wallace and Gromit residence addressed to "62 West Wallaby Street, Wigan".[24] The address includes a postcode of WG7 7FU, though this does not match any street in Wigan, whose postcodes begin with the letters WN.[25] This address can be seen in the Cracking Contraptions episode "Shopper 13".

Wallace's accent (voiced by Peter Sallis) comes from the Holme Valley of West Yorkshire.[26] Near the beginning of A Matter of Loaf and Death, Wigan is referenced on the newspaper Wallace is reading, and near the end, while looking for somewhere appropriate to dispose of a bomb, Gromit sees the Yorkshire border from their home (a joke referencing the rivalry between Lancashire and Yorkshire).

In the Cracking Contraptions episode "The Soccamatic", Wallace says to Gromit, "How do you like my Preston North End soccamatic, Gromit?". Whether this is the team they support, or where they live, is unknown. The episode references famous English footballers of the 1950s and 60s, including Nobby Stiles (who played for Preston later in his career), Geoff Hurst, and Stanley Matthews.

Both Ramsbottom and Tottington are small towns near Bury in Greater Manchester, and are the names of love interests of Wallace.

The nostalgic quality of Wallace and Gromit's world has been compared to 1950s Beanotown.[27]

ProductionEdit

Stop motion techniqueEdit

The Wallace and Gromit films are shot using the stop motion animation technique.[28] After detailed storyboarding, set and plasticine model construction, the films are shot one frame at a time, moving the models of the characters slightly to give the impression of movement in the final film. In common with other animation techniques, the stop motion animation in Wallace and Gromit may duplicate frames if there is little motion, and in action scenes sometimes multiple exposures per frame are used to produce a faux motion blur. Because a second of film constitutes 24 separate frames, even a short half-hour film like A Close Shave takes a great deal of time to animate. General quotes on the speed of animation of a Wallace and Gromit film put the filming rate at typically around 30 frames per day — i.e. just over one second of film is photographed for each day of production.[dubious ]. The feature-length The Curse of the Were-Rabbit took 15 months to make.

Some effects, particularly the fire, smoke, and floating bunnies in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, proved impossible to create in stop motion and were rendered by computer animation specialists, MPC film.[29]

Most models were destroyed in the 2005 Aardman studio fire, but a set from A Matter of Loaf and Death is presently on display at the At-Bristol science centre.[30]

MusicEdit

The music featured in every film was written by Julian Nott, a British film composer.

The theme song was used to wake up astronauts aboard space shuttle mission STS-132 in May 2010.[31] It has been suggested on BBC Radio 4's PM that the theme should become the England football supporters' song, instead of the main title theme of The Great Escape.[32]

FilmographyEdit

Short filmsEdit

Name Premiere Length
Main series
A Grand Day Out 24 December 1990[33] 24 minutes
The Wrong Trousers 26 December 1993[34] 30 minutes
A Close Shave 24 December 1995[35] 31 minutes
A Matter of Loaf and Death 25 December 2008 29 minutes
Spin-offs
Timmy Time – Timmy's Christmas Surprise 12 December 2011 22 minutes
Timmy Time – Timmy's Seaside Rescue 13 July 2012 22 minutes
Shaun the Sheep – The Farmer's Llamas[36] 26 December 2015[37] 30 minutes
Others
Jubilee Bunt-a-thon 2 June 2012 1 minute
Musical Marvels 29 July 2012 (Radio)
27 August 2012 (TV)
9 February 2013 (tour)
45 minutes

Feature filmsEdit

Name Premiere Length
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit 7 October 2005 (US)
14 October 2005 (UK)
85 minutes
Shaun the Sheep Movie[38] 24 January 2015 (Sundance Film Festival)
6 February 2015 (UK)[39]
5 August 2015 (US)
85 minutes[40]
Shaun the Sheep Movie 2[41] TBA TBA

TV seriesEdit

Name Originally aired Series Episodes
First aired Last aired
Wallace and Gromit's Cracking Contraptions 15 October 2002 1 10
Shaun the Sheep 5 March 2007 Present 5 150
Timmy Time 6 April 2009 13 July 2012 3 78
Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention 3 November 2010 8 December 2010 1 6
Shaun the Sheep 3D 7 March 2012 13 June 2012 1 15
Shaun The Sheep Championsheeps 2 July 2012 13 July 2012 1 21

Box office performanceEdit

Title Budget Gross
UK Opening Weekend UK Total Overseas Total Total Overall
Main series
The Best of Aardman Animation $2 million[42] $1 million[43] $1 million[43]
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit $30 million[44] $16.6 million[45] $56.8 million[46] $135.8 million[47][48] $192.6 million[48]
Main series total $32 million $16.6 million $56.8 million $136.8 million $193.6 million
Spin off
Shaun the Sheep Movie[41] $25 million $3.2 million[49] $22 million[49] $84.3 million[50] $106.2 million[50]
Total $57 million $19.8 million $78.8 million $220.9 million $299.9 million
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film.

† US-only, limited release

Critical and public receptionEdit

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore[51]
A Grand Day Out 100% (19 reviews)[52] N/A N/A
The Wrong Trousers 100% (25 reviews)[53] N/A N/A
A Close Shave 100% (19 reviews)[54] N/A N/A
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit 95% (179 reviews)[55] 87(35 reviews)[56] B+
Shaun the Sheep Movie 99% (152 reviews)[57] 81 (30 reviews)[58] B+

Academy AwardsEdit

Award Main series Spin-offs
A Grand Day Out[59] The Wrong Trousers[60] A Close Shave[61] The Curse of the Were-Rabbit[62] A Matter of Loaf and Death[63] Shaun the Sheep Movie[64]
Animated Short Nominated Won Won Nominated
Animated Feature Won Nominated

Other mediaEdit

Video gamesEdit

A Wallace and Gromit interactive CD-ROM game from 1996, named Wallace & Gromit Fun Pack, was released for the PC, containing the Crackin' Compendium with three mini games based on the three original animated shorts as well as brief video clips. The other program in the Fun Pack the Customise-O-Matic contained wallpapers, screen savers, and sounds that could be assigned as system sounds.[65] A sequel Fun Pack 2 was released in 2000 featuring enhanced graphics and two new games as well as a remake of the Great Train Game.

The characters were associated with a 144-issue fortnightly digest called Techno Quest, published by Eaglemoss Publications starting in 1997. It was designed to get children interested in science and technology.[66]

In 1997 an animated screensaver themed video game entitled Wallace & Gromit Cracking Animator was released. Screensaver games were made by Dibase.[67] Players could create their own multimedia animations through the collation of things like sound effects, sets, characters, and props. Players could manipulate the facial movements of characters in order to synchorise their expressions with dialogue.[68] Players could chose to make their finished creation their screensaver, or choose one of the premade screensaver games.[68] The manual can be found at the British Library.[69] The Mail on Sunday deemed the program "disappointing".[70] Meanwhile, The Boston Herald offered a rating of 2.5 stars, noting that creativity is limited.[71]

In September 2003, Wallace & Gromit in Project Zoo was released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, and Microsoft Windows.[72] This separate story sees the duo take on Feathers McGraw (of The Wrong Trousers) again. Still obsessed with diamonds, he escapes from the penguin enclosure of West Wallaby Zoo, where he was "imprisoned" at the end of The Wrong Trousers, and takes over the entire zoo, kidnapping young animals and forcing their parents to work for him, helping him turn the zoo into a diamond mine.[72] Wallace and Gromit, meanwhile, have adopted one of the zoo's baby polar bears, named Archie. As they go to visit the zoo to celebrate his birthday, they find it closed. A quick spot of inventing back at the house, and they prepare to embark on their latest adventure. Hiding inside a giant wooden penguin, a parody of the famous Trojan Horse, they infiltrate the zoo, and set about rescuing the animals and undoing Feathers' work.

In 2005, a video game of The Curse of The Were-Rabbit was released for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, following the plot of the film as Wallace and Gromit work as vermin-catchers, protecting customers' vegetable gardens from rabbits, using a "BunGun".[73]

Gameplay for the Project Zoo involve players exclusively controlling Gromit, as Wallace functions as a helper non-player character, but in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, gameplay shifts between the two, and includes two-player cooperative play.[74]

Both games were developed by Frontier Developments with the assistance of Aardman, with Peter Sallis reprising his role as Wallace. Project Zoo was published by BAM! Entertainment, while The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was published by Konami.[74]

In July 2008, developer Telltale Games announced a new series of episodic video games based on the characters, called Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures.[75] The first episode in Grand Adventures, "Fright of the Bumblebees", was released on 23 March 2009.[76] The second episode, "The Last Resort", was released on 5 May 2009.[77] Two more episodes, "Muzzled!" and "The Bogey Man" were released in later 2009. The four episodes have separately been released on Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360.

ComicEdit

British publisher Titan Magazines started producing a monthly Wallace and Gromit comic after the debut of Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The characters still run Anti-Pesto, and both Shaun and Feathers McGraw have appeared in the comic.[78]

A comic based on the spin-off series, Shaun the Sheep, is being published, also by Titan Magazines. The first issue was released on 29 March 2007.

The two characters appeared in the monthly BeanoMAX comic until its closure in June 2013, and now appear every four weeks in The Beano.[79] They are heavily featured in 'Aardmag', the free online magazine that is unofficial but supported by Aardman Animations.[80] Nick Park guest-edited the 70th birthday issue of The Beano weekly, and so this issue contained numerous Wallace and Gromit references.[81]

On 17 May 2010, they began appearing daily in The Sun.[82] It is credited to Titan and Aardman, with scripts written by Richy Chandler, Robert Etherington, Mike Garley, Ned Hartley, Rik Hoskin, David Leach, Luke Paton, J.P. Rutter, Rona Simpson and Gordon Volke, art by Sylvia Bennion, Jay Clarke, Jimmy Hansen, Viv Heath, Mychailo Kazybrid and Brian Williamson. It replaced George and Lynne. A graphic novel compiling all 311 daily strips was released on 8 October 2013, and a second volume is set to follow in October 2014.[83] The newspaper strip ended on 27 October 2013.

The comic is available as a series of apps on iPod Touch and iPhone.

TheatreEdit

In November 1997 the characters appeared in a play called Wallace And Gromit™ Alive On Stage In A Grand Night Out.[84]

Cast and charactersEdit

Characters Short films Compilation Video games Theatrical films Spin-off television series Television series Musical
A Grand Day Out
(1989)
The Wrong Trousers
(1993)
A Close Shave
(1995)
A Matter of Loaf and Death
(2008)
Cracking Contraptions
(2002)
Project Zoo
(2003)
Wallace and Gromit's Grand Adventures
(2009)
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
(2005)
Shaun the Sheep Movie
(2015)
Shaun the Sheep
(2007–present)
Timmy Time
(2009-2012)
World of Invention
(2010)
Musical Marvels
(2012)
Wallace Peter Sallis Ben Whitehead Peter Sallis Peter Sallis Ben Whitehead
Gromit Silent Silent
Cooker Silent
Feathers McGraw Silent Photograph Silent Archive footage
Shaun the Sheep Silent Silent Justin Fletcher Archive footage
Wendolene Ramsbottom Anne Reid Archive footage
Preston Silent Archive footage
Piella Bakewell Sally Lindsay
Sarah Laborde (singing voice)
Archive footage
Fluffles Melissa Collier Archive footage
Lord Victor Quartermaine Ralph Fiennes Archive footage
Lady Tottington Helena Bonham Carter Archive footage
Philip Silent Archive footage
Police Constable Mackintosh Peter Kay
Reverend Clement Hedges Nicholas Smith
Mr. Mulch Dicken Ashworth
Mrs. Mulch Liz Smith
Mr. Growbag Edward Kelsey
Mr. Leaching Ben Whitehead
Miss Thripp Geraldine McEwan
(uncredited)
Geraldine McEwan
Hutch Peter Sallis
The Were Rabbit Peter Sallis Archive footage
Anthony Trumper Omid Djalili
Slip Tim Hands
Merly Kate Harbour
The Celebrity Jack Paulsen
Timmy Justin Fletcher
Timmy's Mum Kate Harbour
Bitzer John Sparkes
The Farmer John Sparkes
Shirley Richard Webber
Note: A grey cell indicates character did not appear in that medium.

CrewEdit

Film Director Producer Writer Composer Editor
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Nick Park
Steve Box
Nick Park
Claire Jennings
Peter Lord
Carla Shelley
David Sproxton
Nick Park
Steve Box
Bob Baker
Mark Burton
Julian Nott David McCormick
Gregory Perler
Shaun the Sheep Movie Richard Starzak
Mark Burtom
Paul Kewley
Julie Lockhart
Richard Starzak
Mark Burton
Ilan Eshkeri Sim Evan-Jones

Promotional appearancesEdit

Wallace and Gromit appeared in the Christmas television idents for BBC One, having appeared in the BBC Two Christmas idents in 1995.

In 2003, Aardman produced a cinematic commercial for the Renault Kangoo starring Wallace and Gromit. The ad played in front of several summer blockbusters in top British cinemas. The commercial, entitled "The Kangoo-matic", was Wallace and Gromit's first advertisement. Later Wallace and Gromit commercials were made for Jacob's Cream Crackers, energy supplier Npower and beverage PG Tips. The characters also appeared in a commercial for Children In Need in 2009, as well as in the Christmas advert for Marks and Spencer.

The duo were used to promote a Harvey Nichols store that opened in Bristol (where Aardman is based) in 2008. The pictures show them, and Lady Tottington from The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, wearing designer clothes and items.[85] They were used to prevent a Wensleydale cheese factory from shutting down because of financial difficulties after a member of staff came up with the idea of using Wallace and Gromit as mascots, as Wensleydale is one of Wallace's favourite cheeses.[86][87]

On 28 March 2009, The Science Museum in London opened an exhibition called "Wallace & Gromit present a World of Cracking Ideas." The family-oriented show, open until 1 November 2009,[88] hoped to inspire children to be inventive.[89] Wallace and Gromit were featured in many exhibition-exclusive videos, as well as one announcing the opening of the exhibition.

In December 2010, appearing on Desert Island Discs, Nick Park announced that he was working with Pleasure Beach Blackpool to build a theme park ride based on the characters.[90] The Wallace & Gromit: The Thrill-O-Matic dark ride opened at Pleasure Beach Blackpool in 2013.

Wallace and Gromit appeared in a one-minute special for the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II called Jubilee Bunt-a-thon.[91]

In 2012, Wallace and Gromit featured on an advert saying "Inventing For Britain" which was part of a poster campaign to promote British trade and business aboard in the year they hosted the Olympics. In 2013, sculptures of Gromit went on display in Bristol, many decorated by famous artists; they were auctioned off in October 2013 in aid of the Wallace and Gromit Foundation charity and raised over £2 million.

In August 2012, they presented an edition of The BBC Proms, Wallace & Gromit's Musical Marvels, as Prom 20 of the 2012 season.[9] Because of its popularity, Wallace & Gromit's Musical Marvels became a full touring show in 2013. It premièred at The Plenary in Melbourne, Australia on 9 February 2013. It was performed at other venues throughout 2013, with A Matter of Loaf and Death screened at each performance.[92]

In 2013 and 2014 the pair appeared in a nationwide TV, press and cinema campaign promoting the British government's "Holidays at Home are Great" directive, called Wallace & Gromit's Great UK Adventure.[93] The TV ad follows the mischief that ensues when Wallace attempts to fire the pair abroad from one of his inventions, while Gromit tries in vain to show him how much there is to see and do in the UK. Produced in partnership between Aardman Animations and VisitEngland, the campaign featured a series of animated postcards documenting their trip.

CharityEdit

Wallace and Gromit spearhead the fundraising for two children's charities,[94] Wallace & Gromit's Children's Foundation,[95] which supports children's hospices and hospitals in the United Kingdom, and Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal,[96] the Bristol Children's Hospital Charity. In July 2013, 80 giant fibreglass decorated sculptures of Gromit were distributed around Bristol as part of a Nick Park-inspired project to raise funds for the charity. The project is named Gromit Unleashed and sculptures were decorated by a range of artists and celebrities, including Joanna Lumley, Sir Peter Blake, Trevor Baylis and Jools Holland.[97] In 2015 a similar event took place featuring Shaun the Sheep sculptures.

Spin-offsEdit

Shaun the Sheep (2007-present)Edit

In 2007, a spin-off series Shaun the Sheep was created for the character of Shaun, first introduced in 1995's A Close Shave. In the series, Shaun lives with his flock at Mossy Bottom Farm, a traditional small northern English farm. In each episode, their latest attempt to add excitement to their dull mundane life as livestock somehow snowballs into a fantastic sitcom-style escapade, most often with the help of their fascination with human doings and devices. This usually brings them into conflict—and often into partnership—with the farm sheepdog Bitzer, while they all are simultaneously trying to avoid discovery by the Farmer. Following the success of the series, two series of 1-minute shorts were created – Mossy Bottom Shorts and Championsheeps – followed by the short film The Farmer's Llamas, and a feature film with a second in production.

Timmy Time (2009-2012)Edit

In 2009, another spin-off series, Timmy Time, was created centering on the character from the Shaun series. In the series, Timmy and his friends[98] have to learn to share, make friends and accept their mistakes.[99] They are supervised by two teachers, Harriet the Heron and Osbourne the Owl. The show is aimed at pre-school aged children which the company described as "a natural step for Aardman".[100] two short films were created Timmy's Christmas Surprise and Timmy's Seaside Rescue.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Wallace and Gromit's cracking careers. By Ian Youngs. BBC News. Published 10 October 2005.
  2. ^ Wallace and Gromit. icons.org.uk. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
  3. ^ "The Longer View: British animation". BBC. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Robinson, James (26 December 2008). "Wallace and Gromit lead BBC to Christmas ratings victory". London: Guardian.co.uk. Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2008. 
  5. ^ "Film Winners in 2009". BAFTA. Archived from the original on 11 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
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