Ladies n Genminminmin (er, min...), yes it's a 'cracking day' (see what I'm doing there?!) in 'The Clearing' as I have the great pleasure of welcoming the warm and wonderful Peter Lord, co-founder of Aardman Animations to the show!
Aardman Animations is (as I'm sure you know!) the globally renowned 4 times Academy Award Winning Clay Animated & Short Films company based in Bristol.
"Nice Cheese Gromit!"
4 Academy awards, The Freedom of the City of Bristol and a GOLD Blue Peter Badge to his name, in the bag and in the Clearing!
Peter Lord also created and gifted "Morph" to the world; Morph being the wonderful plasticine comedy sidekick to Tony Hart and the iconic children's TV programme "Vision On" back in the day, that formed part of the fabric of my (and our) childhoods!
Peter also Directed one of my very very favourite Aardman Films "Chicken Run", with "Chicken Run 2" being in production as we speak.
More about Peter Lord:
Born in Bristol, if Peter Lord had taken the Van Gogh advice, which he quotes, he might now be playing cricket. Or the piano. Instead he followed his father’s suggestion and made the most of whatever came his way. Aged 12, on his first day at school in Woking, he took the only desk left. This placed him next to a lad known there as ‘Sproxton D A.' (none other than Aardman Animations co-founder Dave Sproxton!)
45+ years later these two are still working together. What started as a ‘hobby for a dreary afternoon’ is now creating career opportunities for literally hundreds of others at Aardman Animations.
‘Pete and Dave’ were the co-founders of this extraordinarily successful creative enterprise, which now belongs to its staff - a bit like the John Lewis model but Aardman’s models are much more famous on a worldwide basis. They include the amazing Morph, Chas and many others, like "Shaun the Sheep"; "Wallace and Gromit"; "Chicken Run"; "Flushed Away" to name but some of an absolutely extraordinary canon of work on which we've all brought our children up (and ourselves!)
It all started with ordinary plasticine and Peter still remembers his artist mother making a plasticine loaf for him when he was aged around 4. Then cutting it into slices!
At age 10, he credits his teacher in his School for Gifted Children in Australia in sharing his enthusiasm for Ogden Nash, Ray Bradbury and Marcel Marceau. That enthusiasm inspired him, more than the poetry or the prose or the mime. It kept him going through the ‘long days and long nights’ of building an international business in animation. Good decisions, good timing, good luck and hard work - simple as that, apparently!
Peter is clear: “There are no secrets. Stop-motion is magic!” The work-side of Peter Lord’s career is already well documented. As a delightful bonus, the personal side of his life is gently revealed here - like his love for wet walnuts and bagpipe music! Like his questionable but credible claim to being the first (or at least among the front runners) ever to publish work by the teenage Kazou Ishiguro, now Sir Kazou Ishiguro, the Nobel Prizewinning writer responsible for a variety of masterpieces from ‘Remains of the Day’ to the new awards-contender ‘Living’’, starring Bill Nighy.
Peter Lord’s own awards include an Oscar or two, Freedom of the City of Bristol and the presentation of a Blue Peter Gold Badge, which he found “ridiculously pleasing.”
He describes the world of animation as an ‘esoteric community, low on ego, where drawing is a great way of thinking’. In this curious community, Peter Lord is a shining example of delightful, understated talent.
Please lend him your ears!