> Aardman

Home To Much-Loved Characters Including Wallace And Gromit, Shaun The Sheep And Morph

Aardman is an independent, four times Academy Award®-winning animation studio based in Bristol, UK.

Famous worldwide for its unique and entertaining productions, it is home to much-loved characters including Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and Morph – as well as being the creative powerhouse behind dynamic and cutting-edge content for advertising partners, digital platforms, game developers and live experiences both at home and abroad.

Peter Lord and David Sproxton, co-founders

Co-founded by Peter Lord and David Sproxton in 1976, the company transferred into Employee Ownership in November 2018 – a move made to secure the independence, the creative legacy and culture of the company for many decades to come, demonstrates the studio’s innovative and forward-facing approach.

The creative partnership between Peter Lord and David Sproxton began during their school days. While still teenagers, the pair created a short 2D animated film for the BBC’s Vision On. It featured a superhero character they named Aardman. In order to bank their first cheque, they needed a company name and so Aardman Animations was born.

© Aardman Animations Ltd 1983

Peter and David continued to supply material for Vision On while they were at university. After graduating in 1976 they moved to Bristol, where the programme was made. Vision On evolved into Take Hart, presenting the pair with an opportunity to create their first clay character, Morph, to form a double act with artist and presenter Tony Hart.

Other early work included several short films, commissioned by both the BBC and Channel 4, which allowed Peter and David to develop their novel technique of animating puppet characters to the soundtrack of real-life conversations, in line with their interest in developing an adult audience for model animation.

© Aardman Animations Ltd 2014

Nick Park entered the scene in the early 80s when he met Peter and David while studying at the National Film and Television School. He was working on his graduation film, ultimately released as A Grand Day Out, which starred the eccentric cheese-loving inventor Wallace and his faithful dog Gromit. Nick was invited to come and work full time at Aardman in 1985.

A few years later, the studio was again commissioned by Channel Four, this time to create a series of short films called Lip Synch. This ground-breaking series further explored the technique of combining animated characters with real voices and included Nick Park’s Creature Comforts, which went on to win the 1990 Academy Award® for Best Animated Short Film. In the same category, that year was A Grand Day Out, which Nick had finally finished at Aardman in 1989 after having first started work on it as a student in 1982.

© Aardman / Wallace & Gromit Ltd 1993

A Grand Day Out was followed by The Wrong Trousers, Aardman’s first 30-minute film. This second outing for Wallace and Gromit went on to win the 1993 Academy Award® for Best Animated Short Film – and has become one of the most successful animated short films ever made. Their third film, 1995’s A Close Shave, confirmed the studio’s reputation as well as establishing Wallace and Gromit as household names, winning the studio’s third Academy Award® for Best Animated Short Film, and a BAFTA® for Best Short Animated Film.

Then in 2000 came Chicken Run, Aardman’s first full-length theatrical feature film, which received excellent reviews in the UK and the US and outstanding box office receipts, grossing over $220 million worldwide.

In 2005, Wallace and Gromit’s first feature, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, garnered many prestigious international awards, including the Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature Film and a BAFTA® for Best British Film. These films have been followed by a succession of critically acclaimed movies from 2013 Academy Award® nominated The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! to 2015’s Shaun the Sheep: The Movie and 2018’s Early Man.

However, Aardman has not only conquered the worlds of television and cinema. Thanks to its award-winning reputation and the quality of its output, over recent decades the company has attracted best-in-class talent in specialisms ranging from 4D and CGI to gaming, VR, attractions and live experiences, plus licensing, rights and brand development.

© Efteling B. V. and Aardman Animations Ltd 2019.

Its team of directors, designers, developers and animators use their craft and storytelling expertise to create compelling and impactful advertising campaigns, working with organisations as diverse as Change 4 Life, Serta Mattresses, Chevron, DFS and PayPal.

Recent industry-leading projects include the ‘visually astonishing’ (The Guardian) BAFTA®-nominated console game, 11-11: Memories Retold, and the four-time Gold Cannes Lions-winning StorySign app which helps deaf children learn to read. In 2019, Aardman’s first major piece of original content for the theme park market – a 4D film with brand new characters, the Bear and the Squirrel – launched at Efteling in the Netherlands.

Memories Retold™ & ©2018 BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe

Since 1995, Aardman has worked in partnership with The Grand Appeal charity to help spearhead fundraising for Bristol Children’s Hospital. To date, the charity has raised more than £50 million to help provide cutting-edge, life-saving medical equipment, helping to transform critically ill children’s lives.

The Grand Appeal also runs the most successful charity art trails in the world through Gromit Unleashed, engaging fans in Bristol, the UK, and around the world with truly innovative fundraising events. As of 2019, The Gromit Unleashed brand has raised over £5 million.

As the studio has developed and grown, what unites its productions is without fail innovative, entertaining, brilliantly characterised and full of charm, reflecting the vision, energy and passion of the talented individuals who comprise the Aardman family.

Find out more about Aardman and have a look at some of our work at www.aardman.com.

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