The Future Of Wallace And Gromit In Doubt

"No more cheese, Gromit?"

Wallace and Gromit... part of BFI scheme to plough £500 million into UK film (Copyright: Rex)

Nick Park, the creator and director of Wallace and Gromit, thinks his animated double act may never return to our screens.

The frail health of actor Peter Sallis, who voices the enterprising inventor Wallace, casts a shadow over the future of the series.

“It is a big question for us,” Nick Park told The Times, “We do have an understudy who has stepped up sometimes. Ben [Whitehead, a London-based actor] started doing stuff Peter didn’t want to do – video games with tons of phrases, or if we needed a voice for an exhibition, a ride at Blackpool, stuff like that. He is quite convincing.

“Some people have spotted it, but he is getting quite good now. Whether he will stand in [for feature films] I’m not sure.”

Peter Sallis, who is 93 now, has played Wallace for over three decades now. Park first contacted Sallis in 1982 as the ‘Last of The Summer Wine’ actor was his number one choice to voice the jug-eared inventor in his first film ‘A Grand Day Out’.

[Gallery: A history of Aardman Animation studio]

Park told The Times Sallis was paid just £25 to voice the character in his student film which would go on to win a BAFTA when it was finally finished in 1990.

He also revealed that Wallace’s trademark wide-mouthed grin was inspired by Sallis.

“It was the way he said ‘cheese’” explains Park. “Wallace didn’t have a wide mouth until Peter said ‘cheese’.”

Wallace in Gromit have appeared in four short films, and one feature-length adventure ‘The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’, with their last outing ‘A Matter of Loaf and Death’ broadcast back in 2008.

Park himself is currently working on two plasticine animation features, ‘Shaun The Sheep’ and another featuring new characters, which he admits he’s struggling to raise funding for.

“Before the recession, Dreamworks or Sony took you under their wing, and there was development time and money. Now they want the finished film first.”

‘Shaun The Sheep’ is coming to cinemas in 2015. Watch the first teaser below...