Grand Day Out with film royalty

Nick Park, the Academy Award-winning animator behind Wallace and Gromit, is giving a rare appearance. (s)
Nick Park, the Academy Award-winning animator behind Wallace and Gromit, is giving a rare appearance. (s)
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Cracking……just cracking Gromit.

Wallace and Gromit inventor Nick Park is coming home to Lancashire when he visits Clitheroe’s Grand Theatre next month.

The Academy Award winning director and pioneering animator will be in conversation with Neville Pierce, film maker and contributing editor to British movie magazine Empire.

“The Grand is thrilled to present an appearance by Nick Park, one of the greatest animators in the world,” said Steven Lancaster, The Grand’s Executive Director.

“It should be a very special occasion, and it is a great honour for The Grand.”

Park rarely conducts public interviews so his appearance at the York Street venue will present a fascinating insight into the life of a man who made the much-loved duo, Wensleydale-obsessed Wallace and his faithful sidekick Gromit, world famous.

He won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film for The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and has three times picked up an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for Creature Comforts, The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave.

He has also directed the movies Chicken Run and most recently the hilarious prehistoric comedy Early Man.

Preston-born Nick said: “When I come out of the woodwork with another film, it really astounds me just how recognisable our work is, and how much it sits in people’s consciousness.

“You know, people have grown up with it.

“What really knocks me over is there’s a love of the work.

“There’s a sense of admiration, which always touches me.”

Early Man follows a tribe of primitive Stone age valley dwellers, who have to defend their land from angry invaders in an association football match.

“I’ve always been attracted to the idea of cave people and Stone Age people.

“But I didn’t want to do yet another caveman adventure because, somehow, it wouldn’t seem like Aardman to do that.

“We had to find a slightly different angle.

“It was when I was doodling a caveman holding, typically, a club, that I started to think about the idea of sport.

“It all came down to the fact that I’d never seen an underdog prehistoric sports movie.

“So, that seemed to have legs and it made people laugh.

“I’m not a football fan, so I didn’t want to make a football movie.

“I wanted to make a big family adventure comedy that has a quirky element of football in it.”

Nick became interested in animation as a child and started making films in his parents’ attic at the age of 13 when he was studying at school in Preston.

One of his earliest works, Archie’s Concrete Nightmare, shot on standard 8mm film, was shown on BBC TV.

At the National Film and Television School he began working on a Grand Day Out, featuring, for the first time, Wallace and Gromit.

Shortly afterwards, both Creature Comforts and a Grand Day Out were nominated for Academy Awards, giving Park the rare distinction of having two films nominated in the same category in the same year.

Park’s first feature film, Chicken Run, grossed over £200 million worldwide, establishing the Aardman studio as a major force in the film industry.

An Evening with Nick Park, Clitheroe Grand, Tuesday, October 9th. £10.

Details, 01200 421599 or grandvenue.co.uk