Wallace and Gromit
|Wallace and Gromit|
Wallace and Gromit
|Genre|| Stop motion
|Created by||Nick Park|
|Written by|| Bob Baker
|Directed by||Nick Park|
|Starring|| Peter Sallis
|Theme music composer||Julian Nott|
|Opening theme||"Wallace and Gromit"|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||4 30-minute films
1 BBC Proms special
1 feature film
|Producer(s)|| Peter Lord
|Location(s)||Bristol, Somerset, England|
Dave Alex Riddett
|Running time||4 x 30 minutes
10 x 2 minutes
1 x 85 minutes
|Production company(s)|| Aardman Animations
|Original channel|| BBC One
S4C in the BBC Cymru
|Picture format|| 4:3 (1989 - 1995)
|Original run||25 December 1989 – present|
|Related shows|| Shaun the Sheep
Wallace and Gromit are the main characters in a British series consisting of four animated short films and a feature-length film by Nick Park of Aardman Animations. The characters are made from moulded plasticine modelling clay on metal armatures, and filmed with stop motion clay animation.
Wallace, an absent-minded inventor living in Wigan, Lancashire, is a cheese enthusiast who is especially fond of Wensleydale. His companion, Gromit, is an anthropomorphic intelligent dog. Wallace is voiced by veteran actor Peter Sallis; Gromit remains silent, communicating only through facial expressions and body language.
Because of their endearing (if quirky) personalities and widespread popularity, the characters have been described as positive international icons of both modern British culture in particular and the British people in general. BBC News has called them "some of the best-known and best-loved stars to come out of the UK". Icons has said they have done "more to improve the image of the English world-wide than any officially appointed ambassadors". The short films The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave and the full length feature The Curse of the Were-Rabbit all received Academy Awards. The first short film, A Grand Day Out, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, but lost to Creature Comforts, another animated creation of Nick Park. The most recent short film A Matter of Loaf and Death was likewise nominated in 2010, but lost to Logorama. The films have received critical acclaim, with all four of the short films having 100% positive ratings on aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes and the feature film having a 95% rating, placing it in the top 20 animated feature films on the site.
The two characters appear in the monthly BeanoMAX comic and daily in The Sun. They are also heavily featured in 'Aardmag', the free online magazine that is unofficial but supported by Aardman Animations.
Wallace & Gromit: The Thrill-O-Matic is due to open at Pleasure Beach Blackpool in 2013.
In August 2012, they presented an edition of The BBC Proms, Wallace & Gromit's Musical Marvels, as Prom 20 of the 2012 season.
Voiced by Peter Sallis and by Ben Whitehead in Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures and Wallace & Gromit's Musical Marvels, 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, and crackers. His birthday is 7 August. The thought of Lancashire hotpot keeps him going in a crisis. He enjoys tea or a drop of Bordeaux red for special occasions. He reads the Morning, Afternoon and Evening Post.
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 all things mechanical. Most of Wallace's inventions look not unlike 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 extermination service, keeping the captured creatures (nearly all of which are rabbits) in the basement of his house. In the most recent short he is a baker.
Some of Wallace's contraptions are based on real inventions. For example, his method of getting up in the morning incorporates a bed that tips over to wake up its owner, an invention that was exhibited at The Great Exhibition of 1851 by Theophilus Carter, and is similar to a device sold in Japan that is used to ensure the sleeper awakens on time by inflating a pillow under their normal pillow and rolling the person, thus waking them up.
He has a kindly nature, and is perhaps a little over-optimistic. At times he can be a little selfish and inconsiderate, but he 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, whom Nick 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 love 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 much more hair and a beard. 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. The reason behind Wallace's loss of hair is unknown. 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, which ended quickly when Wallace realised that she was allergic to cheese. 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, 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".
Gromit is Wallace's pet dog and also is generally more intelligent than Wallace. His birthday is 12 February. 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. He likes knitting, playing chess, reading the newspaper and cooking. His prized possessions include his alarm clock, bone, brush, and a framed photo of himself with Wallace. He is also very handy with electronic equipment and an excellent aeroplane pilot. Though not mentioned a lot but according to Wallace or any other person he is a beagle. 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.
Gromit has no visible mouth and he does not express himself with spoken words, but his facial expressions and body language speak volumes. Original plans were that Peter Hawkins was going to voice him, but Nick dropped the idea of it when he realized how clear Gromit's expressions could be made just through small movements. Many critics believe that Gromit's silence makes him the perfect straight man with a pantomime expressiveness that drew favourable comparisons to Buster Keaton. He does at times make dog-like noises, such as yelps and growling. 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!'" Gromit enjoys eating "KornFlakes" and reading many books, including The Republic, by Pluto (a nod to the Disney character of the same name and a pun on Plato); Crime and Punishment, by Fido Dogstoyevsky (a pun on Fyodor Dostoyevsky); and a "how-to" guide entitled, Electronics for Dogs. In A Matter of Loaf and Death, a copy of "Pup Fiction" is seen in the bin, a pun on Pulp Fiction. He also listens to Bach, 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 doesn't.
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.
Gromit has had one love interest: Fluffles, a poodle and pet to Piella. Fluffles does not share her mistress's hatred of bakers and joined Wallace and Gromit delivering bread at the end of A Matter of Loaf and Death, where she is seen with Gromit making a delivery, while 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."
|A Grand Day Out||25 December 1989||24 Minutes|
|The Wrong Trousers||26 December 1993||30 Minutes|
|A Close Shave||24 December 1995||30 Minutes|
|A Matter of Loaf and Death||25 December 2008||29 Minutes|
|The Curse of the Were-Rabbit||7 October 2005||85 Minutes|
|Cracking Contraptions||15 October 2002||Series of Short Films||1 to 3 Minutes each|
|Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention||3 November 2010||TV Series||30 Minutes each|
Spin-off TV series
|Shaun the Sheep||5 March 2007||TV series||7 Minutes|
|Timmy Time||6 April 2009||TV series||10 Minutes|
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.
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 hopes to inspire children to be inventive. Official Page, Science Museum Page, The exhibit was open until 1 November 2009. Wallace and Gromit were featured in many exhibition-exclusive videos, as well as one announcing the opening of the exhibition.( viewable on the Aardman YouTube channel)
In 2010, the Royal Mail announced that a series of Wallace and Gromit images would feature on the 2010 Christmas postage stamps
Wallace and Gromit appeared in a 1 minute special for Queen Elizabeth II diamond jubilee called Jubilee Bunt-a-thon.
While 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. In The Wrong Trousers, Gromit picks up a letter at the Wallace and Gromit residence addressed to "62 West Wallaby Street, Wigan". The address includes a postcode of WG7 7FU, though this does not match any street in Wigan, whose postcodes begin with the letters WN. This address can also be seen in the Cracking Contraptions: Shopper 13 episode.
Wallace's accent (voiced by Peter Sallis) comes from the Holme Valley of West Yorkshire. 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 rather where they live, is unknown.
Both Ramsbottom and Tottington are small towns near Bury, and both are the names of love interests of Wallace.
At the end of A Grand Day Out, Wallace tells Gromit to set coordinates for "62 West Wallaby Street" as they are returning to Earth.
Other people have said that Wallace's home town is not unlike Beanotown.
The Wallace and Gromit movies are shot using the stop motion animation technique. After detailed storyboarding, set and plasticine model construction, the movies 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 well. 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 photographed for each day of production. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is an example for how long this technique takes to produce quality animation; it took 15 months to make.
As with Park's previous movies, the special effects achieved within the limitations of the stop motion technique were quite pioneering and ambitious. In A Close Shave, for example, consider the soap suds in the window cleaning scene, and the projectile globs of porridge in Wallace's house. There was even an explosion in "The Auto Chef", part of the Cracking Contraptions shorts. Some effects (particularly fire, smoke, and floating bunnies) in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit proved impossible to do in stop motion and so were rendered on computer.
Park has consistently turned down requests for an ongoing television series due to the time and effort that would be required for even a single episode.
Most of the 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.
A Wallace and Gromit interactive CD-ROM game from circa 1995, named W&G: Cracking Contraptions, has been released for the PC, containing mini games based on the three original animated shorts as well as brief video clips, wallpapers, screen savers, and sounds that could be assigned as system sounds.
In September 2003, Wallace & Gromit in Project Zoo was released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, and Microsoft Windows. 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.
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 the zoo 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, Xbox, following the plot of the film as Wallace and Gromit work as vermin-catchers, protecting customers' vegetable gardens from rabbits, using a "BunGun".
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 even includes two-player cooperative play.
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.
In July 2008, developer Telltale Games announced a new series of episodic video games based on the characters, called Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures. The first episode in Grand Adventures, "Fright of the Bumblebees", was released on 23 March 2009. The second episode, "The Last Resort", was released on 5 May 2009. 2 more episodes, "Muzzled!" and "The Boogey Man" were released in later 2009. The four episodes have separately been released on Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360.
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.
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 Wallace and Gromit comic strip also appears in BeanoMAX. Nick Park guest-edited the 70th birthday issue of The Beano weekly, and so this issue contained numerous Wallace & Gromit references.
On 17 May 2010, they started appearing in The Sun. It is credited to Titan and Aardman, with art by Mychailo Kazybrid. It replaced George and Lynne.
The comic is now available as a series of apps on iPod Touch and iPhone.
Wallace and Gromit have been used in numerous advertising campaigns down the years. 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. They were also used to prevent a Wensleydale cheese factory from shutting down due to financial difficulties after a member of staff came up with the idea to use Wallace and Gromit as mascots, as Wensleydale is one of Wallace's favourite cheeses.
Wallace and Gromit have also been used as the TV Station Ident for Christmas periods for the BBC, in both 1995 and 2008.
The duo were parodied as Willis and Crumble in an episode of The Simpsons entitled " Angry Dad: The Movie". Nick Park also made a voice cameo as himself in the same episode.
The theme song was used to wake up astronauts aboard space shuttle mission STS-132 in May 2010. It has been suggested on BBC Radio 4's PM that the theme should become the England football supporters' song, instead of The Great Escape main title theme.
In December 2010, while 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.
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.
The music featured in all the films was written by Julian Nott, a British film composer.