Gromit gets to work in the new film
An animated history
By Caron Parsons
As Aardman prepare to bring Wallace and Gromit back to the small screen, we take a look at the 30 year history of the company which brought us that cheese-loving dynamic duo.
1976 - Aardman Animations is set up by Peter Lord and David Sproxton and named after a cartoon character they created for the BBC series Vision On. Its headquarters are in Bristol.
1977 - Lord and Sproxton create a claymation character named Morph who soon becomes a big hit on children's show Take Hart.
1982 - Channel 4 commission a short series of conversation pieces.
1985 - Fresh from the National Film and Television School, a certain Nick Park joins the animation team at Aardman. He works on completing A Grand Day Out, Wallace and Gromit's first adventure in which the duo build a rocket and blast off to the moon in search of cheese, which he had begun as a student.
Lady Tottington stars in the new film
1986 - The Aardman team produce the ground-breaking Sledgehammer video for singer Peter Gabriel.
1989 - Another commission from Channel 4 results in a series of pieces based on real people's experiences lip-synched onto animated characters. These include War Story and Creature Comforts.
1990 - A Grand Day Out is nominated for an Oscar but is beaten by another Nick Park short, Creature Comforts - which went on to become a series of highly successful Heat Electric ads before returning to TV in 2003 - but it does win a Bafta.
1993 - Wallace and Gromit's second adventure is BBC commission The Wrong Trousers in which the pair take in a lodger who turns out to be a villainous jewel thief, and penguin to boot.
1995 - A Close Shave is the third outing for the inventor and his hound and this story of a psychopathic mechanical dog and his sinister sheep dealings makes it an Oscar hat-trick for the studio.
1999 - Aardman sign a reportedly £167m deal with Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks company to make five feature films.
2000 - The first film of the new partnership, Chicken Run, filmed at a new feature department at Aztec West, is released and proves a big hit.
2002 - Cracking Contraptions - a series of 10 animated five minute stories - are launched on the web and later screened by the BBC. Each is animated by a different person and looks at weird inventions created by Wallace.
2005 - Wallace and Gromit hit the big screen in Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - which has taken three years to produce.
March 2006 - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit wins the Academy Award for best animated feature - to the delight of the whole city. A campaign is immediately mounted for a statue to be erected in Bristol in their honour.
The Aardman deal goes down the toilet
September 2006 - Aardman celebrate 30 years of animation and receive the Freedom of the City of Bristol.
2006 - Shaun the Sheep, the woolly star of the Wallace and Gromit short A Close Shave, gets his own show on CBBC.
Jan 2007 - Aardman and Dreamworks end their five-film deal early, after Flushed Away and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit reportedly underperformed. Dreamworks said the firms now had "different business goals", while Aardman said their "ambitions have moved apart".
April 2007 - Aardman agrees a three-year deal with Sony Pictures.
October 2007 - Aardman announce that Wallace and Gromit are set to return in a half-hour television adventure - the first since 1995's A Close Shave.
last updated: 16/03/2008 at 15:23