New Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit adventures in the works from Aardman

Aardman Animation Studio has announced the cast lineup for its latest feature film Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, and confirmed a brand-new Wallace & Gromit adventure for 2024.

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, the sequel to Chicken Run, the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all time, will be coming exclusively to Netflix in 2023.

Like its 2000 predecessor, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is a comedy action-adventure, in which our chicken heroes have to break into an impenetrable fortress. Ginger and Rocky will be played by Thandiwe Newton and Zachary Levi, respectively, while Bella Ramsey will voice their headstrong daughter, Molly. Reprising their roles are Jane Horrocks (Babs), Imelda Staunton (Bunty) and Lynn Ferguson (Mac), joined by new additions Josie Sedgwick-Davies (Frizzle), David Bradley (Fowler), Romesh Ranganathan (Nick), Daniel Mays (Fetcher) and Nick Mohammed (Dr. Fry). Sam Fell (Flushed Away and Oscar-nominated ParaNorman) will direct the film, on which production is already underway.

The BBC has also announced a brand-new Wallace & Gromit adventure for British audiences in 2024.

From the creative mind of Nick Park and the first Wallace & Gromit film since the 2008 BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated A Matter of Loaf and Death, the as-yet-untitled new film focuses on Gromit’s concern that Wallace has become over-dependant on his inventions – which proves justified when Wallace invents a “smart gnome” that seems to develop a mind of its own. As events spiral out of control, it falls to Gromit to put aside his qualms and battle sinister forces or Wallace may never be able to invent again…

The BBC has a long relationship with Aardman and this announcement follows the success of the latest Shaun the Sheep caper The Flight Before Christmas, which aired on BBC One over the festive period.

Sean Clarke, MD of Aardman, says: “Wallace and Gromit are so loved by everyone at Aardman – they’re like family to us, and we couldn’t be more excited to be creating a brand-new film for them to star in. When Nick came up with the concept for a ‘smart gnome’, we all agreed that Wallace would find the idea irresistible – despite warnings from Gromit, who is wise beyond his (dog) years. We’re sure audiences will find the story irresistible too.”

The film will premiere on the BBC in the UK, and on Netflix in the rest of the world. It will be directed by Nick Park (creator of Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep) and Merlin Crossingham (Creative Director, Wallace & Gromit and Animation Director, Early Man) with the story written by Nick Park and Mark Burton (Madagascar, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Shaun the Sheep Movie) and the screenplay by Mark Burton.

Signature Publishing launches first Aardman arts and crafts magazine, Colour It! Aardman: Get Crafty

The entirety of the Aardman cast of characters are being brought together for the very first time, through the launch of a children’s magazine titled, Colour It! Aardman: Get Crafty.

The result of a new partnership between the Bristol-headquartered studio and Signature Publishing, Colour It! Aardman: Get Crafty will celebrate the much loved Aardman characters, including the likes of Shaun the Sheep, Wallace & Gromit, Morph and Timmy Time, as well as the creativity that goes into drawing and modelling them.

The magazine will feature activities like colouring, crafting and baking, while covering topics like How to Draw Wallace & Gromit, and how to create a Shaun figurine from the supplied modelling clay.

“We are thrilled to work on this very special collaboration with such an esteemed studio as Aardman, bringing their iconic characters to life through creative play and colouring in their very own unique children’s magazine,” said Rachel Craven, commercial and advertising manager at Signature Publishing.

Ian Downes of Start Licensing, said: “We are delighted to be working with Signature Publishing on this Aardman magazine.  They were quick to recognise how well Aardman and their characters were suited to an arts and crafts magazine. They have used the characters really well and this is a great example of how a focussed licensing partnership should work.”

Colour It! Aardman: Get Crafty launched on August 4th and is billed as the ‘ideal magazine to entertain and inspire children during the summer holidays.’ Each issue comes with a bumper colouring set including modelling clay to craft Shaun with, pens, colouring pencils and stickers.

Aardman lines up raft of new partners including online cheese retailer Pong Cheese

The multi-award winning independent animation studio, Aardman, has secured a raft of new licensing deals for Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, spanning a range of core categories, including an officially licensed cheese box.

The studio has lifted the lid on a new partnership with the online cheese retailer, Pong Cheese that will see the launch of a Wallace & Gromit themed cheese box, a variety box containing a selection of the pair’s favourite cheeses. It’s joined by a partnership with the online pet fashion store, Urban Pup for a raft of on trend dog items.

Meanwhile, Shaun the Sheep and the Scout Store have come together to celebrate a mutual love of adventure, creating an exciting range of apparel and accessories to be sold via the Scout Shop network. The collection will be available to purchase this summer.

Also in development is an Aardman arts and craft magazine from specialist children’s publisher Signature Publishing. The new deal will mark the first time that all of the Aardman characters will be brought together to celebrate the creativity that goes into each of Aardman’s popular film titles. The magazine will include pens, modelling clay, crafting activities and colouring pages, and launches in August, in time for the summer holidays.

Aardman continues to work with licensees on design guides and assets targeted at specific market sectors, and this clutch of new deals underpins the effectiveness of this strategy.

Ian Downes from Start Licensing said: “Taking a bespoke and focussed approach to new business development has been rewarding in our work with Aardman. We have prioritised developing new deals with licensees that can benefit from using Aardman’s characters in a way that maximises their effectiveness in the market.

“Wallace & Gromit are closely linked with cheese and the product is an integral part of the characters’ storylines. With this in mind, working with a specialist like Pong Cheese makes perfect sense.”

Spotting Wallace & Gromit’s renowned love of artisan cheese, Pong Cheese has seized the opportunity to align the duo with its own proposition of celebrating hand-made cheese and supporting artisan cheesemakers.

“This allowed Pong Cheese to amplify its marketing message whilst delivering a great new product to its consumers,” contiued Downes. “Meanwhile, Gromit is a natural fit for dog wear and accessories, as one of the UK’s most recognisable dogs.”

Elsewhere, Signature Publishing’s Aardman themed arts and craft magazine has been billed as “a natural development” for the brand, drawing on Aardman’s “tremendous archive of arts and craft material” as well as its “proven pedigree in the category.”

“Working with the Scout Store and developing a co-branded range with Shaun the Sheep makes creative sense. The two are a good match thematically,” concluded Downes.

Forget the crackers, Gromit: Dean’s launches a range of Wallace & Gromit shortbread and biscuits

The Aberdeenshire-based bakers Dean’s has launched a collection of shortbread and biscuits in collaboration with Aardman Studio and its iconic characters, Wallace and Gromit.

The new range features five biscuit flavours, three special keepsake tins containing Dean’s melt in the mouth all butter shortbread and will extend to include an assortment tin in time for Christmas.

The biscuit range features postcard images of Wallace and Gromit on holiday at popular spots around the UK. Using these images as inspiration, Dean’s developed five biscuit flavours: chocolate chunk, stem ginger, oat and honey, strawberries and cream, and savoury cheddar bites. 

Dean’s managing director, Bill Dean, said: “We are incredibly excited to be launching this new range featuring Wallace & Gromit. Wallace & Gromit have enormous appeal across age ranges from eight to 80. Collaborating with such a well-loved British institution in this way will help introduce Dean’s baking to a wider customer base. It is exciting to think of a new audience engaging with the Dean’s brand and enjoying our shortbread and biscuits.”

Adam Vincent-Garland, category manager, Interactive & Toys at Aardman added: “Just like the rest of us; Wallace & Gromit have been staying in the UK this year. But the unique partnership with Dean’s has allowed the duo to share beautiful images of their travels around the country.

“Along with some delicious complimentary biscuit flavours. Including; Honey and Scotch Oats beside the Loch Ness and Savoury Cheddar at the foot of Cheddar Gorge, to name just a few. Working with Dean’s has been an absolute pleasure and we can’t wait to see the mouth-watering biscuits in stores coming soon.”

The collaboration with Aardman for the Wallace and Gromit range follows in the footsteps of successful partnerships with Steven Brown Art in 2017, Oor Wullie in 2019 and Villager Jim in 2020.  

The Wallace and Gromit biscuits and shortbread are available to buy now from WH Smith travel retail stores, Harvey Nichols Foodmarket and on Dean’s website. 

Wallace & Gromit head to Kickstarter and Aardman and The Vine Lab celebrate 25 years of A Close Shave

Wallace & Gromit is heading to the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter in a bid to bring to life a detailed collectors’ model to celebrate the silver anniversary of the Academy Award winning short film, Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave.

The project is the combined work of Aardman and The Vine Lab, who together are looking to celebrate the 1995 film, the third in director Nick Park’s trilogy, recognised as the team’s most ambitious project to date.

Designed using rare production images from the making of the film, the intricately detailed, silver-effect model will depict the moment that Gromit flies into the air in his sidecar plane at the end of the sequence that ultimately leads to the demise of the film’s villain, Preston.

The model will include a host of special features to add to its collectability, including limited edition numbering and a unique Aardman fingerprint signature.

In a nod the film’s original release date, there will be just 1,995 models available as part of the special edition release. However, in order to make the concept a reality, The Vine Lab is asking fans to pledge their interest in securing one of the unique models via Kickstarter.

The site will be live from 22nd October and will remain open for just 35 days, or until all the models have been claimed.

Pledgers will not only get their hands on one of the ultra-rare anniversary models but, in a first for Wallace & Gromit fans, will also be invited to become a vital part of the product development team. Throughout the project, fans who back the campaign will be able to see how the product develops as well as gain access to never-seen-before seen photos and videos from the original production.

Merlin Crossingham, creative director of Wallace & Gromit said: “We are really excited to have teamed up with The Vine Lab to create a very special 25th anniversary collectable. It’s obvious to us that the team at The Vine Lab are huge fans of our work and they have crammed in all of the amazing detail we expect from our models into this collectable and the packaging.

“We are so pleased to offer something truly unique to our fans and know that they will value getting involved in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

There are a number of pledge packages available across various price brackets, each offering buyers the opportunity to access original sketches and unseen behind-the-scenes content from the making of the film.

Early-bird prices for the model start at £225, and come complete with white handling gloves, a certificate of authenticity, a storyboard print, behind the scenes art cards, and an acknowledgement in the end credits. In addition, there are five deluxe packages available for £2,500, which include an illustration signed by Nick Park, The Making Of book signed by Merlin Crossingham, and the money-can’t-buy opportunity for pledgers to receive an Aardman model of themselves.

Emma Beeson, co-founder of The Vine Lab, commented: “At The Vine Lab, we live and breathe pop culture and are huge fans of Aardman.

“We have worked painstakingly to recreate Gromit’s plane using hundreds of archived images and rare footage in order to guarantee an intricately detailed collectors’ model that we know will appeal to film fans, collectors and investors alike. We’re looking forward to working alongside our pledgers to create something truly unique.”

Pledges will be open until 26th November via:

The Art of Aardman – Shaun the Sheep and Friends plots up in The Netherlands

The international exhibition, The Art of Aardman – Shaun the Sheep and Friends has opened at Forum Groningen in the Netherlands, the latest leg of a tour that has so far seen it entertain fans across Paris, Melbourne, Frankfurt, and Seoul.

The popular exhibition offers fans of Aardman an insight into the work of the Academy Award winning Aardman Studios. Its latest exhibition in Groningen officially opened today, Friday, September 18th.

The latest iteration brings to life the weird and wonderful characters and creations from the Aardman portfolio that includes Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run, and Wallace & Gromit, and takes visitors on a journey of discovery past original versions of Gromit’s famous vegetable garden, the flying machine from chicken Run, and the five metre tall galleon from The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

In addition to a host of clay models and film sets, Forum Groningen has also added a number of interactive elements to the exhibition. 

Hans Poll, director of programming and marketing, said: “Standing in their shoes for a bit helps you appreciate and understand Aardman’s work even more. In our exhibition, you can learn how to make a storyboard and create your own work in our stop-motion studio.” 

Throughout the exhibition, Forum will also be showing Aardman’s entire film oeuvre in its cinemas, while a programme of claying workshops will also be organised.

The Art of Aardman is the second major exhibition at Forum, the landmark culture giant in the centre of Groningen. The programming is spearheaded by popular visual culture, current affairs and technology. The previous exhibition, AI: More than Human, was about artificial intelligence. 

Ngaio Harding-Hill, head of attractions & live experiences, Aardman, added: We are delighted that, after journeying to the other side of the world, to venues in South Korea and Australia, the Art of Aardman exhibition is returning to Europe.  The stunning Groningen Forum is the perfect cultural venue to host the exhibition and we hope it delights its visitors in The Netherlands as it has around the world.

The Art of Aardman – Shaun the Sheep and Friends will be on show until 9 May 2021.