Wallace & Gromit set to return in new BBC film - this is how famous duo first took shape in Sheffield

Wallace & Gromit fans can rejoice after the BBC confirmed the plasticine pair are set for a long-awaited return in a new film.

By Robert Cumber
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 7:24 am

The Wensleydale cheese-loving inventor and his canine sidekick are preparing for a new adventure which is scheduled to air on BBC One over Christmas 2024.

The as-yet-untitled feature will be the first Wallace & Gromit film since the 2008 BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated A Matter of Loaf and Death.

When will the new Wallace & Gromit film air, how can you watch it and what is the plot?

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A new Wallace & Gromit film - the first since 2008 - is due to air on BBC One over Christmas 2024. Nick Park, creator of the duo, studied at Sheffield Polytechnic, now Sheffield Hallam University. He is pictured here at the unveiling of a bench sculpture in his native Preston, Lancashire (pic: Danny Lawson/PA)

The Beeb has revealed how it will revolve around Gromit’s concern that Wallace has become too dependant on his inventions, a fear which is realised when – in an echo of The Wrong Trousers – his companion invents a ‘smart gnome’ that seems to develop a mind of its own.

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“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 blurb reads.

The film will be produced by Aardman, which made the latest Shaun The Sheep film The Flight Before Christmas.

How Wallace & Gromit took shape in Sheffield

Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park studied communication arts at Sheffield Polytechnic, now Sheffield Hallam University, and it was while he was there his most famous characters first took shape.

He told the Financial Times how he was always doodling and came up with a character initially called Mr Norris who had a flying bike and kept a cat in his basket, adding ‘that was Gromit before he became a dog’.

Although he made a couple of short films in Sheffield, before graduating in 1980, it was later at the National Film and Television School where he began work on the first Wallace and Gromit film, A Grand Day Out, as part of his final year project.

He explained how he had got those sketches out and thought ‘what if he built a rocket?’, adding ‘and so he became Wallace’.

Mr Park, who hails from Preston in Lancashire, was awarded an honorary doctorate by Sheffield Hallam University in 1991.

He has been nominated for six Academy Awards and won four, three of which were for the Wallace & Gromit films The Wrong Trousers, A Close Shave and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Who is involved in the new Wallace & Gromit film?

BBC chief content officer Charlotte Moore said: “It’s incredibly exciting to be taking British audiences on a cracking new adventure with Wallace & Gromit and to be continuing our long relationship with Aardman and Nick Park following the success of Shaun the Sheep this Christmas.”

Sean Clarke, Aardman’s managing director, added: “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 and Merlin Crossingham (creative director on Wallace & Gromit and animation director on 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). The screenplay is by Mark Burton and the producer is Claire Jennings (Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit and Coraline).