Aardman Animations plan new Shaun the Sheep film

Shaun the Sheep
Image caption Shaun the Sheep is filmed at Aardman's Bristol studio

Aardman Animations, the Oscar-winning company behind Shaun the Sheep, has started work on a new feature film starring the character.

Writers at Aardman's Bristol HQ have begun developing a script for the film, which is hoped to be ready by 2013/14.

The company won an Oscar in 1993 for the Wallace Gromit film "The Wrong Trousers" and then again in 1995 for "A Close Shave".

The first TV episode of Shaun the Sheep was shown on the BBC in March 2007.

'Slapstick films'

Aardman creative director Richard Goleszowski, 51, said one of the inspirations behind Shaun the Sheep was the 1920s silent movie star Buster Keaton.

Mr Goleszowski said: "My goal is to make a modern day silent movie starring Shaun. When we started writing the television series we stuck a picture of Buster Keaton on the studio door.

"I grew up watching slapstick films and some of the jokes have become embedded in my psyche."

He said that the senior team at Aardman had been thinking about running screenings of silent films to help the newer animators develop their skills.

'Remain silent'

He said one of the reasons he had originally developed Shaun the Sheep as a non-speaking character was because animation with dialogue is time consuming and expensive.

He said: "I thought making him silent would make it cheaper and easier but it makes life more difficult.

"Telling a story through pictures means you can't cut corners. It's very cinematic and involved."

Richard Goleszowski will be speaking at the Silent Comedy Festival in Bristol on 30 January at 1400 GMT at the Watershed.

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