A Grand Night In: The Story of Aardman

Jan 11, 2024 | Art, Videos

Aardman Animation studios have been producing the most incredible stop motion clay – or plasticine – animation films for over 45 years, and with them they brought to the world their unique Bristol brand of humor. Their characters such as Morph, Wallace and Grommit, Shaun the Sheep, and Timmy the lamb have become iconic symbols of British comedy.

Their work has been met with great success and acclaim from critics everywhere, earning them nine Oscar nominations and three Academy Awards—an astonishing feat. Not just that, their movies have made a whopping $1.1 billion in global box office too!

The story of Aardman began in the early 70s when Peter Lord and David Sproxton created short interstitial sequences and features for “Vision On,” a BBC series for deaf children. They then introduced their first character Morph – a brown sculpted Gumby-like character that had his own successful tv series. From mid-70s to late 80s, Aardman was hard at work producing other BBC sequences, animating commercials and music videos as well. They even won a record nine MTV Video Music Awards for their work in Peter Gabriel’s 1987 hit “Sledgehammer”—still a record today!

In 1989 they met Nick Park who was finishing up a student film about an everyday man named Wallace who is obsessed with cheese and his smart dog Grommit. Lord and Sproxton helped him finish it up resulting in two Oscar-nominated shorts: Creature Comforts (which went on to win the award) and “Wallace & Grommit: A Grand Day Out”. Two more shorts followed suit – “The Wrong Trousers” (1993) which won an Oscar alongside “A Close Shave” (1995).

From 1997 to 2007 Aardman partnered up with DreamWorks Animation leading to some gloriously successful movies like Chicken Run (2000) – still the most successful stop motion animated movie ever – , Wallace & Grommit’s The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005), as well as Aardman’s first foray into computer animation Flushed Away (2006). In 2011 they released Arthur Christmas, while 2012 saw The Pirates! movie come out; both were Oscar-nominated features. Other successes include TV shows like Timmy Time (2008), spin-off from world famous TV hit Shaun the Sheep; featured length films Shaun The Sheep Movie (2015) and its sequel A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon(2019); both were also nominated for Oscars.

During pandemic times Aardman collaborated with Netflix to deliver 2022’s Oscar-nominated animated short “Robin Robin”, which marks Aardman’s first experiment using felted puppets instead of clay.

Each one of these productions is a stunning visual delight that brings out each animator’s creativity, passion, dedication, patience – breathing life into these clay figures through every frame..

What really sets apart Aardman from other big animation studios is that it always focuses on storytelling before marketing or merchandise; something reflected beautifully in every single one of its projects.

So whether you are looking for some hearty belly laughs or unadulterated joyousness , why not take some time out your day to watch one of those fantastic masterpieces? You are sure to be delighted by this truly special British brand of humor coming alive in front of your eyes!

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David B