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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Wallace and Gromit film premières
copyright Aardman/W&G Ltd 2002
The Soccamatic rolls into action
Oscar-winning animated duo Wallace and Gromit have returned after a six-year absence in a series of short films - and BBC News Online has exclusive footage.

Maker Aardman Animations has produced 10 one-minute movies featuring Wallace and his canny pet dog Gromit, entitled Cracking Contraptions.

The films launched on Tuesday with the world exclusive première of the first short, Soccamatic, on BBC News Online. The film is downloadable and free to view.

Launch player : Watch Soccamatic

Wallace and Gromit's first outing in six years

In Soccamatic, a football-loving Wallace has to resort to machine trickery to score against Gromit - but his canine goalie also has a few tricks up his sleeve.

"This is great news for Wallace and Gromit fans everywhere and a real coup for the BBC," said Lorraine Heggessey, BBC One controller.

copyright Aardman/W&G Ltd 2002
Wallace's Tellyscope causes trouble
""The BBC has been the home of this loveable duo since they were created, and what makes their return truly unique is the exclusive première on BBC News Online."

The other nine films each focus on a different invention that Wallace has built to help him around the home - including the Autochef, the Tellyscope, the Bullyproof Vest and the Snoozatron.

They are viewable on the internet on a pay-per-view site from Wednesday, and will be shown across BBC One TV schedules later in the year.

The pair's creator, Nick Park, is currently working on a script for the first full length Wallace and Gromit feature film with Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks studio, to be released in two years.

copyright Aardman/W&G Ltd 2002
Shaun the Sheep makes a guest appearance in Shopper 13
"We wanted to get Wallace and Gromit out there again because we missed them really," he said.

"The short films were partly to train people up for doing the feature film.

"I was nervous at first because no-one has animated them for a long time. But it's worked a treat. I've been very impressed."

Park was inspired to make the new films from a set of photos commissioned by a US magazine, to help his animators get used to working again on Wallace and Gromit after the six-year gap.

Father's influence

"Wallace and Gromit are like family to me," added Park. "I couldn't be prouder of Cracking Contraptions, which provides new insights into the unique relationship of my characters.

"And considering their love of advanced technology, BBC Online is the perfect place for this première."

Park told BBC News Online's forum that he realised Wallace was based on his father after the duo's first film, A Grand Day Out.

"He was very much based on my father. My dad works in the shed a lot making things," he said.

"He is just so full of ideas. He just acts in the same way as Wallace does."


He added that Gromit had started off as a cat, before the first film was made.

"I changed it to a dog because I like the cartoon dog shape in plasticine shape," he said.

Fans of Wallace and Gromit have been languishing since the duo's last 30-minute TV outing in A Close Shave in 1995.

The Wrong Trousers appeared earlier in 1993 and followed A Grand Day Out in 1989.

Chicken Run, from 2000, was Aardman's first full-length feature, which Park made with his friend and colleague Peter Lord.

The BBC's Robert Nisbet
"The supermodels of the British Animation industry return"

Wallace and Gromit's Cracking Contraptions

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