A Close Shave

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A Close Shave
Original USA VHS artwork cover.
Directed by Nick Park
Produced by Carla Shelley
Michael Rose
Written by Bob Baker
Nick Park
Starring Peter Sallis
Anne Reid
Music by Julian Nott
Cinematography Dave Alex Riddett
Edited by Helen Garrard
Distributed by BBC (UK, TV)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (US, VHS)
DreamWorks Home Entertainment (US, DVD)
Release date
  • 24 December 1995 (1995-12-24)
Running time
31 minutes (NTSC)
30 minutes (PAL)[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £1.3 million[2]

A Close Shave is a 1995 British stop-motion animated short film directed by Nick Park at Aardman Animations. It is the third film featuring the eccentric inventor Wallace and his dog Gromit, following A Grand Day Out (1989) and The Wrong Trousers (1993). In A Close Shave, Wallace and Gromit uncover a plot to rustle sheep by a sinister dog. Like The Wrong Trousers, it won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.[3]


Wallace (Peter Sallis) and Gromit operate a window cleaning business. As they clean the windows of a wool shop, Wallace falls for shopkeeper Wendolene (Anne Reid). Wendolene mentions that she inherited the shop from her inventor father, and owns a sinister dog, Preston, who rustles sheep to supply the shop. Wallace and Gromit discover a lost sheep has wandered into their house. Wallace places him in his Knit-o-Matic, which shears sheep and knits the wool into jumpers, and names him Shaun. Preston spies on the scene and steals the Knit-o-Matic blueprints.

Wallace visits Wendolene and Gromit investigates Preston. Preston captures him and frames him for the sheep rustling; Gromit is arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment while Wallace's house is inundated with sheep. Wallace and the sheep rescue Gromit and hide out in the fields. Wendolene and Preston arrive in the lorry to round up the sheep. When Wendolene demands Preston stop the rustling, he locks her in the lorry with the sheep and drives away, intent on turning them into dog food.

Wallace and Gromit give chase on their motorcycle. When Gromit's sidecar detaches and rushes over a cliff, he activates its aeroplane mode and resumes the chase from the air. Wallace becomes trapped in the lorry and he, Wendolene and the sheep are transported to Preston's factory, where Preston has built an enormous Knit-o-Matic. The captives are loaded into the wash basin, with Shaun escaping, and Preston pulls out the nozzle to suck them into the shearing machine.

Shaun activates neon signs to reveal the factory's location to Gromit, who flies in and attacks Preston. Shaun sucks Preston into the Knit-o-Matic, removing his fur and exposing his robotic endoskeleton. Wendolene reveals that Preston is actually a robot, created by her father to serve the family, which "turned out evil".

When the Knit-o-Matic dresses Preston in a sweater made of his fur, he inadvertently hits the controls, and the entire group become poised to fall into the mincing machine. Shaun pushes Preston into the machine, crushing him. Gromit is exonerated and Wallace rebuilds Preston as a harmless remote controlled dog. When Wendolene visits, Wallace is dismayed to learn she is allergic to cheese.


Peter Sallis as Wallace Peter Hawkins as Gromit (uncredited) Anne Reid as Wendolene Frank Welker as Preston (uncredited) Justin Fletcher as Shaun the Sheep (uncredited) Various actors as sheep


After A Close Shave, Wallace and Gromit's next major outing was in a set of ten 2½ minute shorts called Cracking Contraptions, each showing one of Wallace's inventions, usually with disastrous results. These appeared on the internet, and were also released as a limited edition Region 2 DVD, later on the Curse of the Were-Rabbit DVD.

The sequel to A Close Shave is the feature film Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005). The next major short was A Matter of Loaf and Death, first broadcast in the United Kingdom on Christmas Day 2008.


Shaun, the youngest of the flock of sheep in this feature, proved popular, and in March 2007, was given his television series on the BBC, Shaun the Sheep, which has been broadcast worldwide. The first two series (80 episodes, each approximately seven minutes long) are available on DVD.

Each episode contains slapstick and situational humour, with Shaun as the leader of the flock dealing with everyday farm issues, while exhibiting a high level of intelligence and human like behaviour, to a level much like Gromit.

In April 2009, Shaun the Sheep itself spun off another series, aimed for toddlers, entitled Timmy Time. Timmy was a baby sheep in Shaun's flock, and the series was an educational one about his time at playgroup. In February 2015, Shaun the Sheep received his own feature film, Shaun the Sheep Movie. A second film began production in January 2017.[4]Titled Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie, the sequel is scheduled for an April 5, 2019 release in the United Kingdom.[5] The synopsis involves Shaun and the gang, who must face an invasion of evil aliens that want to take over Mossy Bottom Farm.


  1. ^ "A Close Shave". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  2. ^ "Production History – A Close Shave". Telepathy. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  3. ^ "The 68th Academy Awards (1996) Nominees and Winners". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 25 March 1996. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  4. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (25 October 2016). "Aardman, Studiocanal Reunite Flock For 'Shaun The Sheep Movie 2' – AFM". Deadline. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  5. ^ Reyes, Mark (2018-04-26). "Chicken Run Is Finally Getting A Sequel". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 2018-04-26. Not to mention, Shaun The Sheep Movie Farmageddon, is set to flock to theaters in the UK on April 5th, 2019.

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