Entertainment & Arts

'Bring back Morph' campaign launched by Aardman

Image caption Morph lived on the desk of presenter Tony Hart in the classic children's art shows Take Hart and Hartbeat

Aardman Animations has launched a campaign on crowdfunding website Kickstarter, in a bid to bring back its character Morph for an online series.

Clay model Morph was one of the first characters created by the company that later brought us Wallace and Gromit.

He started life in a programme called Take Hart more than 30 years ago, messing up presenter Tony Hart's desk.

Aardman's Peter Lord has set a target of £75,000 for the campaign, to help fund 12 new one-minute episodes.

"I'm amazed and humbled that the little guy still has such a passionate following on Facebook and YouTube," said co-founder Lord on his Kickstarter page.

"We've had so many people asking for him to make a comeback that I thought it's about time we start hatching a plan."

Lord said Aardman hoped to start production in January on the new episodes featuring Morph - named after his "metamorphosing capabilities".

By Wednesday afternoon, 205 people had backed the project, bringing the fund up to £16,931 of its target.

There are 29 days to go until the campaign ends on 28 November.

"We plan to shoot the episodes using clay and traditional stop-frame animation, in Morph's original home at Aardman studios in Bristol," said Lord.

"I will be dusting off the director's chair and there's an eager team of expert animators ready for the challenge."

'Slapstick surrealism'

In a video on the fund-raising page, Aardman co-founder Lord said the company has raised half of the budget itself and was hoping to find the other £75,000 from the public.

Those who contribute will have access to a special production blog and be eligible for various rewards based on the amount they donate.

Image caption Morph was presented with his own Blue Peter badge by Sarah Greene in 1981

"If we reach our goal, production will start in January with the aim of finishing the episodes and releasing them online by July," wrote Lord.

"I'm very keen on keeping the humour, slapstick and surrealism of the originals, whilst at the same time bringing Morph slightly more in line with the modern world."

Lord said he had "plenty of ideas" for scripting new Morph adventures but insisted involvement from backers was welcomed so they could "work directly" with the audience.

"The world has changed a lot since Dave [Sproxton, Morph's co-creator] and I were first sat in a tiny studio, away from civilisation, making little films about a clay character that messed up Tony Hart's desk and simply hoping that an audience would like them," wrote Lord.

"Something wondrous came along called 'the internet' which broke down the divide between programme creators and their audience so that nowadays we don't have to second guess what our audience want."

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