Peter Lord and David Sproxton founded Aardman Studio in 1972 and in 1983 the duo welcomed Nick Park into the team. Today it has become one of the reference schools in the international animation scene with its stop motion works, including Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run, Shaun the Sheep and The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists. An undisputed English icon, the studio distinguishes itself for having enriched the field of animation, among other things, with the introduction of lips synch in clay motion in 1989.
The name Aardman recalls that of the nerdy version of Superman created by Lord and Sproxton in 1972 for the Vision On program, which represented a launching pad for the two animators. After both graduating in 1976, the two moved to Bristol to try their hand at a professional level in animation. Here they dedicate themselves to the creation of the children’s television series Take Hart (1977/1983), which harks back to Vision On with the addition of new ingredients, including the plasticine character Murph who lives on Mr Bennet’s desk and is able to remodel and change shape at will. The show is so popular that the BBC commissions The Amazing Adventures of Murph with 26 new episodes of five minutes each. Murph’s story is picked up in several programs and is still popular on the small screen today with Brand New Morph (2014 -), Retro Morph (2019 -), The Epic Adventures of Murph (2020 -), The very small creatures (2021 – ). After the success among the children’s audience, Aardman Studio turned to new adult viewers with the shorts Down and Out (1979), Confession of a Foyer Girl (1978) and Early Bird (1983), adding a more mature and distinctive stylistic research in puppet design. The Studio then engaged in the creation of music videos My Baby Just Cares For Me (1986) by Nina Simone and Barefootin’ (1987) by Robert Parker.
In 1989, Aardman Studio made his debut with lip synch with the four short films War Story and Going Equipped by Peter Lord, Next by Barry Purves, Ident by Richard Goleszowski and Creature Comforts by Nick Park. Then it is the turn of Wallace & Gromit by Nick Park, the basis for four short films and a feature film dubbed in more than twenty languages, also the subject of the video game Wallace & Gromit in Project Zoo (2003). Unfortunately, most of the characters and the set were destroyed by a fire that broke out on the night of October 21, 1996. After collecting numerous awards, the animations about the extravagant scientist and his dog have been included in the list of the best cartoons in the drawn up history from Empire magazine. In 2010, the characters returned with a six-episode series, a website and a new interactive game. Rex the Runt (1998) by Richard Starzak is the animated series by Aardman targeting both children and adults, at the center of a debate for their exaggerated two-dimensional trait despite the use of clay animation.
The 2000s began with the production company’s first feature film, Chicken Run (2000) by Peter Lord and Nick Park, financed by DreamWork, which earned £ 220 million. In 2018, the sequel to the bustling Chicken Run at Tweedie farm was announced. Aardman Studios then engaged in the wildlife world with Shaun the Sheep (2007), also filmed in the 70-million reproductions video game Shaun the Sheep Home (2010) and the first CGI film Flushed Away (2006) for Dreamwork. The pirates return to the Aardman home with the feature film The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (2012) for Sony Pictures Animation.
Rex the Runt
Director: Richard Starzak
Rex, a strange little purple animal, and his bizarre friends realise they are being watched on television. They decide to go on amazing adventures together to entertain the audience. Most of the time, things take a turn for the worse because of the eccentric Vice.
Director: Darren Walsh
The adventures of the mischievous Angry Kid, with a plasticine head and a human body
Very Small Creatures
Director: Lucy Izzard
An animated series for children, in which small and tender creatures, Pink, Blue, Orange, Yellow and Green explore the world around them.
Director: Nick Park
Winner of an Academy Award in 1991, this funny and provocative animated short film imagines a series of interviews with animals locked up in a zoo that easily open up a debate on their conditions and deprivation of natural freedom. To add a realistic vein, Park combines recordings of real people reflecting on the conditions of their everyday environment and the conditions in zoos. The result is particularly impressive.
Director: Asa Lucander
A little girl goes on a rowing boat journey through the “allegorical” sea of life hoping to reunite with her father. Asa Lucander blends puppet animation, 2D animation and digitally painted sets to create this fantastic music video for Coldplay’s Daddy. The result is magically touching.
Director: Tom Parkinson
Big Jeff is a naturist with a passion for rollerblading, for the music of the ‘80s and cold beers. Together with his friends, he will have strange and unique adventures.
The Pearce Sisters
Director: Luis Cook
Two old sisters survive in a hovel along the coast, living off the fish they manage to catch. One day they save a castaway who, frightened by their appearance, decides to escape by diving back into the sea. His body is returned lifeless to the beach and the story takes a macabre turn.
Director: Merlin Crossingham
A TV series filled with adventures. The main character is Morph, a plasticine character who can move and change shape on the table top.
Flight before Christmas
Director: Steve Cox
Shaun’s seasonal excitement turns to dismay when a farmhouse raid to get bigger stockings for the Flock inadvertently leads to Timmy going missing. Can Shaun get Timmy back before he becomes someone else’s present?
Pib and Pog
Director: Peter Peake
In this short film by Peter Peake, Pib and Pog are two very likeable plasticine characters who relate to each other through pranks and “violent” jokes that end up tinging the scene with a very light black humour.
Director: Gavin Strange
Greenpeace and Aardman join forces and Gavin Strage makes this short film against man’s exploitation of the seas and oceans. Thanks to a family of turtles, we witness the tragic condition of the marine environment.
Director: Nick Park
Wallace builds a pair of robotic trousers to make Gromit walk in his place. He also decides to rent a room to help pay the bills. The first tenant, a shady-looking penguin, soon reveals himself for what he is, namely a criminal, and the story takes a dangerous turn.
Directors: Mikey Please and Dan Ojari
A robin who has grown up in a family of mice finds it increasingly difficult to fit in with the rodents’ thieving habits. For this reason, he decides to steal a star to demonstrate his “mouse” skills.