Somewhat overshadowed by the likes of Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins is another British Oscar-winner, Nick Park of Aardman Animation. This Christmas sees the return of his brilliant creations, Wallace and Gromit. Thom Dibdin dons The Wrong Trousers.

loquacious inventor with close set eyes and wrap-around grin whose side-kick is a dog of very few words but a long-suffering eyebrow. It doesn’t sound the stuff of Oscar nominations. Yet there were Wallace and Gromit. heroes of Plasticine and cheese lovers everywhere. up for just that accolade in 1991. That they didn’t win was neither surprise nor disappointment for their creator Nick Park. His Creature Comforts, whose Plasticine animals complaining about the weather entered the national psyche, won instead.

Wallace and Gromit receive their second outing in The Wrong Trousers on Christmas Sunday. with a full blown documentary, Inside The Wrong Trousers, on Christmas Day. It’s a story which takes Wallace and Gromit away from pure adventure into the altogether darker spaces of a Hitchcockian thriller. When their

finances get tight. the couple are forced to take .

in a mysterious penguin as a lodger. First he i takes over Gromit’s room. then he manages to g

usurp the hapless hound in Wallace’s affections: ;

things can only get darker . . .

Nick Park is a quietly spoken 35- ,

year-old. based in the resolutely: tin-Hollywood environment of,

Bristol. ‘I don’t feel that'

famous.’ he says. turning down Radio 3 as he settles back for a chat in the offices of Aardman Animation where

the Oscar sits unobtrusively in the 5

canteen. ‘The good thing is that

name really.’

people don’t know my face or myf

‘I started off at the age of thirteen, when my parents’ home movie camera ‘5 had the facility to do animation,’ says

Park. ‘I hadn’t had any lessons or been

taught or anything but I just started to

experiment. I already had an interest in

drawing cartoons. I remember seeing a documentary of Walt Disney and how he

inspired by that.’

BThe List 17 December I993-l3 January 1994

started off, and I remember being quite