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   The hidden detail in "A Matter of Loaf and DEath" (Aardman Animations Ltd)
   A Matter of Loaf and Detail...    (27.12.12)


   I don't know about you, but the news that Wallace and Gromit's
   arch nemesis and femme fatale Piella Bakewell is alive and well
   and starring in a Google+ advertising campaign this Christmas
   is most unsettling. How did she she escape from that crocodile
   pen? - The Hound wants answers! - That's why he's popped on
   his copy of A Matter of Loaf and Death, to rewatch her doughlightful
   exploits frame-by-frame. Maybe there's some clue in the finer detail
   to explain how she cheated death?

   You know the story, don't you? - This is the one in which Wallace
   and Gromit start up their very own bakery in West Wallaby Street,
   whilst that man-eater circles like a big pink cake-filled shark.
   Wallace is all Google-eyed over her (
Google? Geddit?), but clever
   Gromit soon discovers her dark and deadly secret. Can he save
   his fuddled friend in time? - Grab your remote, and we'll find out!



                 "A Matter of Loaf and Death" (Aardman Animations Ltd)

    00.34 - Did you know, the film was originally going to be called "Trouble 'at Mill"?
                  Well, it was, but this popular northern quotation was considered too
                  colloquial for the rest of the world. So instead, we got this twist on
                  Michael Powell's inspired and inspiring war-time movie, "A Matter of
                  Life and Death" (1946)...

                 And Baker Bob, who meets his demise in the film's opening, is obviously
                 an homage to the film's co-writer Bob Baker. Bob also gets a nod in
                 "A Close Shave" and "Curse of the Were-Rabbit"...

    00.41 - Gromit is reading "The Daily Grind" (Flour = Grind = Geddit?). This
                 newspaper features Nick Park's beloved Preston North End football club
                 in the headline "Wigan to meet Preston in Cup tie". Preston feature
                 regularly in the Wallace and Gromit films and shorts (eg: Preston the
                 cyberdog). A smaller heading identifies "Canaries chasing Wolves"
                 which are references to Norwich football club (known as "The Canaries")
                 and Wolverhampton Wanderers ("Wolves")...

                  There's also the little matter of a Cereal Killer striking again.
                  Cereal Killer = Serial Killer = Geddit?

00.52 - You've gotta love that foreshadowing. Wallace's bed sports a Bake O
                 Lite duvet cover and pillowcase, and there's a fading Bake O Lite poster
                 on his bedroom wall!...

                 The Bake O Lite Bakery is a spoof on that famous olde time material
                 Bakelite, used to fashion radios and othersuch household objects, back
                 in the day. It was billed as "The material of a thousand uses!"

    01.02 - Oh, good grief. There's a bottle of Furry Liquid by the sink. That's
                 a play on Fairy Liquid, a top-selling brand of washing-up liquid, here
                 in the UK...

                 "A Matter of Loaf and Death" (Aardman Animations Ltd)

    01.08 - Wallace and Gromit's Top Bun bakery service is a spoof on the title
                  of Tony Scott's plane-crazy movie "Top Gun" (1986)...
    01.39 - We've seen that chute before, in "A Close Shave" and "Curse of the
                 Were-Rabbit". Once again we're spoofing the big opening to that
                 classic Gerry Anderson puppet series Thunderbirds, but the doughy
                 twists here keep it fresh and funny!...

                "A Matter of Loaf and Death" (Aardman Animations Ltd)

    01.49 - Hit your pause button as Gromit loads the company van and you'll
                 see the duo's old Wash 'n' Go motorbike and sidecar from A Close Shave,
                 partly-obscured by a tarpaulin in the background...

                      Oh, and does it need saying, that Austin delivery van is actually the
                 duo's old Anti-Pesto van from Curse of the Were-Rabbit...

                      "A Matter of Loaf and Death" (Aardman Animations Ltd)

    01.53 - Right. Let's look at that van door. You'll spy the "Flour to the
                 People!" sticker (1) on the right-hand side of the window. As is the door
                 handle (2). But notice how the van's metal ident is back-to-front! (3)
    02.01 -
That fuel pump can serve up Disel, Four Star, Unleaded, Tea, Coffee,
                 or Milk!

    02.02 -
And the van's number plate reads D0H NUT5 = Donuts...
    02.15 -
They''ve still got the MUTT radio in the van from "Curse of the

    02.27 -
Blowing your thumb to make your hat inflate is an old Variety trick,
                 perpetuated by the likes of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, and
                 once more Nick Park and co. are reminding us of their many
                 TV and comic influences. Their love of "The Beano" and "The
                 Dandy", Gerry Anderson's Supermarionation series and Variety
                 television really does shine through every frame...

    02.44 -
Pat O-Cakes' bakery is a play on the traditional nursery rhyme,
                 "Pat-a-cake, pata-a-cake, Baker's man..."

    02.46 - And Tank-Top Man is a spoof on that most fashionable of High Street
                 fashion chains, Top Man...

                 Oh, but wait. Here's a continuity error! -
The van's "Flour to the people!"
                 sticker has somehow moved to the left of the rear door. The Austin ident
                 is the right way round, and the door handle is now on the left!

    03.56 - Hit that pause button for two great japes. On the left of the screen,
                 it looks like someone's escaped from the zoo using a length of knotted
                 sheets. And over on the right, there's a "Missing" poster on the wall
                 featuring that pilfering penguin Feathers McGraw, the thieving star
                 of "The Wrong Trousers"....

    06.55 -
For Cheesy Jet read Easy Jet, the UK's famous budget airline.
                 Plus, the whole gondolier love scene itself is - well - it's rather
                 cheesy too!

    07.12 - Oh, good grief, here's a spoof on the classic love scene from the film
                 "Ghost" (1990), using dough instead of clay. Look at how Wallace
                  can't actually reach the dough around Piella's ample frame!

    07.22 - Gromit has a "Citizen Canine" poster on his bedroom wall. That's a
                 spoof of "Citizen Kane" (1941), of course....

                 "A Matter of Loaf and Death" (Aardman Animations Ltd)

    07.42 - Gromit also appears to have a softspot for the small films of Oliver
                  Postgate. That's because there's a Bagpuss soft toy amongst his
                  binned belongings (7m41s). And seeing as we're being so precise,
                  you'll also spy a copy of "The Beagle" comic - spoofing that classic
                  comic weekly "The Eagle", and a volume of "Pup Fiction"!

    07.52 - Piella owns several pairs of Pooch shoes. Pooch = Puccini = Geddit?

    08.09 - Wallace is being treated to a big plate of sausage and mash, with
                 the sausages poking out. It's a slap-up image that's straight out of
                 "The Beano", and once again, we get a fun reminder of Nick Park's
                 comic strip influences...

    08.53 -
When Piella's pooch, Fluffles, hands Gromit's belongings back to him,
                 we see his musical tastes include "Puppy Love" by Doggy Osmond
                 (Donny Osmond), and an album by McFlea (McFly)...

    09.35 - Dough! - Piella lives at 12a Pastry Rise...

    10.00 - And it's Hitchcock all the way, as Gromit enters. There are so many
                 classic suspense film spoofs here, in the camera angles and the
                 unspooling events... the lightning... the creaking stairs... the refracted
                 reflections in those dressing table mirrors... Brilliant!

    12.29 - We've seen a Meatabix box before, in "The Wrong Trousers"...

    14.22 - Gromit builds his security scanner with the aid of a book titled
                 "Electronic Surveillence For Dogs". It's written by B A Lert... 

    14.47 - Piella's silhouetted behind the stained glass, like the Grim Reaper!

    15.34 - Gromit's identified all those knives and sharp implements as being
                  WMD, and the skull and crossbones logo has been suitably

                 "A Matter of Loaf and Death" (Aardman Animations Ltd)

    15.54 -
Oh! - Wait up! - Hold the presses! - Here's another, bigger, continuity
                 error. Eagle-eyed viewers will see that Gromit has no tail! - That's right,
                 he's tail-less, tail-free
, sans wagging device... Well, you get the drift...
                 Poor Gromit!

    18.10 -
Ha! - Piella's decoupage petals are "weeping" with Wallace!

    19.30 -
Pause here, and look at the tree outside Piella's house. Someone's
                 etched a heart upon it, and an F and a G = Fluffles Loves Gromit!

    20.58 -
Wallace is lighting that candle with a box of Duck Matches.
              That's a spoof on the best-selling brand of Swan Matches...

    22.53 -
That Yorkshire Border sign is once again playing up the rivalry
                 between the various regions "oop north" in the UK. Walllace
                 and Gromit reside next door, in Lancashire...

    23.19 - As that bomb-fueled climax plays out, Fluffles is revealed within
                 that adapted forklift, just like Sigourney Weaver in the climax
                 of James Cameron's "Aliens" (1986)...

                "A Matter of Loaf and Death" (Aardman Animations Ltd)

    26.04 - As Piella's balloon glides down into the zoo, we can see that the
                 Crocodile pen is now sponsored by Superb Snaps - * groan *

    27.10 - And this is nice background detail. On the living room wall is a
                 framed photograph of Gromit's First Birthday. It's the same photo
                 that features at the beginning of "Curse of the Were-Rabbit"...

    27.31 - Goody. Just to reassure us that all's well - or not - here's that rear van
                 door again and you'll notice, the sticker is back to its original placement,
                 on the right-hand side of the window. Likewise, the Austin ident is
                 about-face, and the door handle has also returned to the right-hand

    27.57 - And finally, as Fluffles riffles through the LPs held in the van, we
                 can see a long player for Poochini (Puccini), McFlea again (McFly),
                 The Beagles (The Beatles), The Hound of Music (The Sound of
                 Music), and Gromit's Doggy Osmond (Donny Osmond) record!...


    So that was the film, frame-by-frame. And it's pretty clear, Piella gets some
    kind of chomping in that crocodile pen. We hear all sorts of gnasty gnashing
    and Wallace sees her younger Bake O Lite spirit rising to the heavens, on the
    remnants of her balloon. Buuuuut we don't actually see anyone being eaten,
    so Wallace may only be imagining the demise of his True Love... Dearest
    Piella, carried away into the sunset...

    So we're none the wiser. But we are certainly better informed about yet another
    detail-stuffed Aardman classic.

    Till next time!

       Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'
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