Bristol-based animation studio Aardman has announced that the studio’s much-loved duo Wallace and Gromit will return for a new film in 2024, premiering exclusively on Netflix, with the exception of the UK, where it will debut first on the BBC.
The first Wallace & Gromit film since the 2008 BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated A Matter of Loaf and Death, the new film will be directed by Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park and Merlin Crossingham (Creative Director of Wallace & Gromit). It will centre on loyal sidekick Gromit becoming concerned that Wallace is a little too dependent on his inventions.
When Wallace’s “Smart Gnome” develops a mind of its own, it falls to Gromit to battle sinister forces and save his master… or Wallace may never be able to invent again!
Wallace and Gromit, Aardman’s most loved and iconic duo, have been delighting audiences for over 30 years. Since Nick Park introduced the characters in 1989’s Academy Award-nominated A Grand Day Out, the duo have appeared in four other films, including The Wrong Trousers which won 13 awards, including the Academy Award for best short film.
To date, Wallace and Gromit have won over 100 awards at festivals around the world. All of their films are currently available to watch for free in the UK on BBC iPlayer.
The inventor and his trusted canine companion are a regular highlight of primetime TV schedules, especially during the festive season. They have become British national treasures and icons in their own right, spinning off into books and comics, and continue to grow audiences internationally across multiple platforms.
The BBC has a long and successful relationship with Aardman and this announcement follows the success of the latest Shaun The Sheep caper, The Flight Before Christmas, which aired on BBC One over the festive period last year.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be taking British audiences on a cracking new adventure with Wallace & Gromit,” commented Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s Chief Content Officer, “and to be continuing our long relationship with Aardman and Nick Park following the success of Shaun the Sheep this Christmas.”
“Wallace and Gromit are so loved by everyone at Aardman – they’re like family to us, and we couldn’t be more excited to be creating a brand-new film for them to star in,” said Sean Clarke, MD of Aardman. “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.”
Ben Whitehead will, presumably, reprise his role as the voice of Wallace, who’s been the regular voice of Wallace for some time now, after Peter Sallis‘s retirement and subsequent death aged 96, in 2017.
Ben took over the role of Wallace from Peter Sallis to become the official voice for Wallace in Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures, then, Wallace & Gromit’s Musical Marvels at The BBC Proms, and also voiced Wallace in Jubilee Bunt-a-thon.
He’s also performed as Wallace in various advertisements, and in the augmented reality adventure, Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up.
(Peter Sallis’s dulcet tones as Wallace do live on – and at the touch of a button as well, not just the original stories. Staff, parents and most importantly children hear Sallis’s Wallace every single time they get in the lifts at Bristol’s Royal Hospital for Children and visit one of the seven floors).
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget Voice Cast Revealed
In separate news, Aardman and Netflix have also announced the voice cast for their upcoming feature Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, which comes home to roost exclusively on Netflix in 2023.
This eagerly anticipated action-adventure brings together an incredible cast, including Thandiwe Newton (Ginger), Zachary Levi (Rocky), Bella Ramsey (Molly), plus a host of returning voice talent from the first film, including Jane Horrocks (Babs), Imelda Staunton (Bunty) and Lynn Ferguson (Mac).
Also joining the cast are Josie Sedgwick-Davies (Frizzle), David Bradley (Fowler), Romesh Ranganathan (Nick), Daniel Mays (Fetcher) and Nick Mohammed (Dr Fry).
Directed by Sam Fell, the new film sees Ginger and all the chickens living the dream in their peaceful island sanctuary, far from the dangers of the human world. When she and Rocky hatch a little girl called Molly, Ginger’s happy ending seems complete.
But back on the mainland the whole of chicken-kind faces a new and terrible threat. For Ginger and her team – even if it means putting their own hard-won freedom at risk – this time, they’re breaking in!
Netflix and Aardman previously collaborated on musical animated short Robin Robin, released last year. Peter Lord, co-founder and creative director of Aardman and Aram Yacoubian, director of animated film at Netflix, has noted that a Chicken Run sequel “was often discussed at Aardman but the studio needed the right story and the right partner.
“Following Robin Robin, another collaboration seemed like a no-brainer and the perfect time to bring back our poultry heroes to the world,” he noted in a blog post.
An optimistic young robin raised by a family of mice makes a heartfelt wish on a Christmas star. Will she finally learn who she is — and how to fly?