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Toonhound presents...






  Short British Films &  TV Specials  

A Grand Day Out

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A Grand Day Out  (1989)
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producers: Aardman Animation
                     NTFS / BBC
   animation: stop-motion animation
      run time:
22 mins


    "That's it Gromit... cheeeeese....
     We'll go somewhere where there's cheese!"


     It's Bank Holiday and in the snug confines of his West Wallaby Street semi,
     Wallace is in a quandry. There's no cheese in the fridge for his crackers. Wallace
     is partial to a bit of cheese. It's simply not the same having crackers without
     cheese, is it Gromit? Gromit is Wallace's long-suffering canine companion, all
     too aware of his companion's quirks and foibles - one of which being Wallace's
     apptitude for invention. And Wallace's grandest plan is about to be revealed
     because - Eureka! - he decides that they'll go and find somewhere with cheese.
     And what better place to find it than on the moon?

     The one that kick-started the phenomenom that is Wallace and Gromit, the
     Oscar-winning plasticene double-act who invaded our hearts, minds and wallets
     through the nineties and into the new millenium. "A Grand Day Out" was filmed
     over a six year period by a then unknown student animator called Nick Park,
     working out of the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, Bucks.
     This first film makes for fascinating viewing still, especially when compared to the
     technical delights of the later Wallace & Gromit films. Look at the contrast in
     character design, see how Wallace's head is of thinner proportion without
     that famous extra-wide toothy smile. The animation is more staccato and the
     tale more simplistic, with odd incongruous elements like that looney lunar
     oven-thingy. The thumbprints in the plasticene remind you of the laborious
     processes involved. It's quite remarkable.

     Although the animation may be slightly less slick, the detail is all present and
     correct from the very first shot. Wallace's home and world is microscopically
     realised with its flock wallpaper and framed pictures, cracker boxes, holiday
     brochures, and more. Every nook and cranny of background space is filled
     with props and furniture and all are specifically pertinent to the character.

       That looney lunar oven-thingy from 'A GRand Day Out'  Wallace & Gromit - porthole logo

     This film broke new ground, not only technically, but arguably with its whole
     approach too. Here is an intensly worked and observed animated film that
     is also great fun. An animated Beano strip of sorts. It's accessible to the
     masses. And how. Wallace, Gromit, their rocket ship and ship's porthole
     have become licensing icons, gracing a thousand-and-one products,
     promotions and publications (witness Cracking Collectibles). The film was
     justly rewarded with an Oscar-nomination, but ironically lost out to another
     Nick Park film, the equally remarkable, and equally ground-breaking
     "Creature Comforts".

     Wallace and Gromit have gone on to even bigger and better things, of course.
     They've since foiled that devious jewel thief Feathers McGraw in "The Wrong
     Trousers", unmasked a mechanical sheep rustler in A Close Shave and
     revealed more of Wallace's remarkable inventions in the "Cracking Contraptions"
     films. Better still, their first feature length adventure involved a Jeckyl and
     Hyde bunny and an extraordinary vegetable plot
. Most recently, they've
     battled a baker-bashing bride in A Matter of Loaf and Death, achieving top
     ratings and reviews across the board...


     Grand facts

» For Pub Quiz fans everywhere, Wallace's very first words are spoken
        to a snoozing Gromit, as he peruses a Picnic Guide, in the midst of
        a living room strewn with holiday brochures:

       "Ee, these Bank Holidays, it's a problem to decide!"

    » One of the best visual puns in the film involves Gromit and a revolving
        rotor drill. The
pun is so good it's referenced again in A Close Shave,
        when Preston the cyberdog grabs Gromit's plane by the propeller.

» As they travel in their rocket, Wallace picks up a newspaper which
       declares: CHICKEN SAVED BY BANTOM. This curious headline may
       appear to be an early reference to Chicken Run, but in fact it refers
       to a very real incident from Nick Park's childhood. When his sister's
       chicken (called Penny) fell in the pond, the other pet chickens saved
       her by raising the alarm for the family!

» Once they get to their cheesy moon, our pals encounter a strange
       coin-operated skiing cooker character - surely the most eccentric
       creation to have appeared in any of the Wallace and Gromit films.

       But if you think that's eccentric, in his DVD commentary on the film,
       Nick Park reveals how, originally, his script included scenes featuring
       a bizarre Star Wars Cantina-come-McDonald's burger bar chock full
       of alien creations!


    Grand figures

    To celebrate Wallace and Gromit's 20th Anniversary, the fine folks at
    Robert Harrop Designs recently kick-started their new range of figurines
    with three magnificent limited edition pieces, and an extra-special Rocket
    music box, based on this first film. As with all of their Wallace and Gromit
    figures, each piece has been restricted to just 1000 editions...

    But, but, but better still, in July 2009 they went one not-so small step
    further when, to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing, they
    issued 40 extra-special time-limited sets that were hand-signed and
    certified by Robert Harrop himself!

    Wallace by Robert Harrop Designs  Gromit by Robert Harrop Designs  The Cooker by Robert Harrop Designs The Rocket Music Box  by Robert Harrop Designs


    See also

    Curse of the Were-Rabbit
    A Close Shave 

     A Matter of Loaf and Death


    Broadcast info

"A Grand Day Out" premiered on BBC2, 25th December 1993 at 5.40pm.


    A Grand Day Out on Blu-ray

W&G: The Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
               Region 2 / all four short films / BBC / November 2009

    A Grand Day Out on DVD

UK DVD W&G: The Complete Collection
               Region 2 / all four short films / BBC / November 2009

UK DVD W&G: 3 Cracking Adventures
               Region 2 / the first three short films / BBC / September 2007

    USA DVD Wallace and Gromit in 3 Amazing Adventures
               Region 1 / MCA Home Video / September 2005


photographed and directed by Nick Park

     writer:                 Nick Park
                                with thanks to Steven Rushton
     music:                 Julian Nott
     sound fx
      & sound editing:
   Adrian Rhodes, Danny Hambrook   
                               with thanks to Chris Billing
     rostrum camera:  Danny Boon, Jeremy Moorshead
     production:          Soozy Mealing
     editor:                 Rob Copeland   
     anim & design:     Nick Park
      Janet Sanger, Michael Hort,
                                Michael Wright, Andrew Davies
     b/w dream seq:    Joan Ashworth, Andy Staveley and
                                Martin Greaves of 3 Peach Animation
     spec thanks to:     Peter Lord, David Sproxton,
                                Richard Goleszowski, Sara Mullock,
                                Melanie Cole, Glen Hall and
                                Alan Gardner of Aardman Animations
     voices:                 Peter Sallis (Wallace)


      On the web

       Wallace & Gromit
       Aardman's official W&G site...

       Aardman Animations
       The official Aardman site showcases all of the Wallace & Gromit films,
       of course. Plus there's news on the feature, the studio, and lots more
       besides. A very smart site, is this...

       Grand Appeal            
       This one's for charity, folks, so pop on by and make a donation to a
       very-needy fundraiser sponsored by our crackin' duo...

      index »    previous »   next »      

© Nick Park / AArdman Animation / F2009