Miles Bullough, the head of TV at Aardman Productions, the makers of Wallace and Gromit, has said the company may have to halt production of its famous stop-frame animations in the UK because it has become too expensive. Aardman is most famous for the Wallace and Gromit television shorts and feature film, but it has also had a big TV hit with Shaun the Sheep which is now seen in more than 180 countries.
Mr Bullough told Radio 4 programme World This Weekend that home-grown shows were being lost to cheaper foreign competitors. The main problem was that while films made in the UK can receive government help in the shape of a 15-20% tax credit, UK TV animation receives nothing. As a result, many British companies were either sending their shows abroad to be made or were being bought out altogether.
He said, ‘When a company like Aardman is considering putting its stop-frame animation off-shore, which we are at the moment, something’s got to be wrong. There is genuinely a crisis. HIT, a beacon of excellence in children’s animation in the UK and maker of Bob the Builder and Pingu, has just been bought by US company Mattel.’
Wallace and Gromit is currently still made in the UK at Aardman’s Bristol studios but if companies are increasingly having to outsource their shows overseas, Mr Bullough said, ‘It could threaten the country’s cultural heritage. Bob the Builder could be driving on the right-hand side of the road! That is what will happen if we don’t watch out.’ (BBC, 6th November 2011)
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