A Grand Day Out

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A Grand Day Out
Wallace & Gromit in A Grand Day Out.jpg
Original US cover art of the A Grand Day Out VHS.
Directed by Nick Park
Written by Nick Park
Starring Peter Sallis
Music by Julian Nott
Distributed by The National Film School Distribution Company[1]
Release dates
  • 4 November 1989 (1989-11-04) (Bristol Animation Festival)
Running time
24 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £11,000[2]

A Grand Day Out (full name A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit) is a 1989[3] British stop motion animated short film directed and animated by Nick Park at Aardman Animations in Bristol. In the film, Wallace and Gromit spend a bank holiday by building a homemade rocket to the Moon to sample cheese. The short premiered on 4 November 1989 at the Bristol Animation Festival at the Arnolfini gallery in Bristol.[4][2][5][6][7] It was broadcast on BBC One on 25 December 1989,[7][8][9][dubious ] and a year later, on 24 December 1990, it aired on Channel 4.[10][11] A Grand Day Out is followed by 1993's The Wrong Trousers, 1995's A Close Shave, 2005's The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and 2008's A Matter of Loaf and Death.


As Wallace and Gromit relax at home, wondering where to go on vacation during the upcoming bank holiday, Wallace decides to fix a snack of tea and crackers with cheese. Finding no cheese in the kitchen, he decides that the pair should go to a place known for its cheese. A glance out the window at the night sky gives them the idea to travel to the moon, since, according to Wallace, "everybody knows the moon's made of cheese." They build a rocket in the basement and pack for the trip, but after lighting the fuse, Wallace realizes that he has forgotten to bring any crackers. Hurrying to the kitchen, he grabs several boxes and returns to the rocket just in time for liftoff.

When they arrive on the moon, they discover that the entire landscape is in fact made of cheese. They set up a picnic and sample some, but are unable to match its taste to any cheese they know (Wallace thinks it tastes like Wensleydale, Stilton and Camembert). Looking for a different spot, they encounter "The Cooker," a wheeled, mechanised, coin-operated device that resembles an oven and storage cabinet. Wallace inserts a 10-pence coin, but nothing happens immediately; only after he and Gromit have left does the Cooker spring to life, popping jointed arms out of its side panels. When it finds the picnic site, it becomes agitated and gathers up the dirty dishes; finding a skiing magazine nearby, it develops a desire to travel to Earth and experience the sport. The Cooker glues a discarded spike of cheese back onto the spot from which Wallace cut it, issues a parking ticket for the rocket, and becomes annoyed by an oil leak from the craft.

The Cooker spots Wallace and Gromit in the distance, Wallace having cut another spike of cheese, and sneaks up with a truncheon in hand. Before it can hit Wallace over the head, though, the money Wallace inserted runs out and it freezes in place. Wallace takes the truncheon as a souvenir, inserting another 10 pence in exchange, and he and Gromit prepare to leave. Returning to life, the Cooker realizes that the rocket can take it to Earth and chases after them. Wallace panics, thinking that the Cooker is angry over the cheese he is taking with him, and he and Gromit prepare for an emergency liftoff. Unable to climb the rocket's ladder, the Cooker cuts its way into the fuselage with a can opener, but accidentally spills and ignites the fuel. The resulting explosion blows it backward and allows Wallace and Gromit to lift off. The Cooker is left on the moon, with nothing but two strips of metal torn from the fuselage; initially crushed by its failure to reach Earth, it fashions the strips into a pair of skis and is soon happily skiing across the lunar landscape. It waves goodbye to Wallace and Gromit as they return home.


Nick Park started creating the film in 1982 as a graduation project for the National Film and Television School. In 1985, Aardman Animations took him on before he finished the piece, allowing him to work on it part-time while still being funded by the school. To make the film, Park wrote to William Harbutt's company, requesting a long ton of plasticine. The block he received had ten colours, one of which was called "stone"; this was used for Gromit. Park wanted to voice Gromit, but he realised the voice he had in mind – that of Peter Hawkins – would have been difficult to animate.[12]

For Wallace, Park offered Peter Sallis £50 to voice the character, and his acceptance greatly surprised the young animator. Park wanted Wallace to have a Lancastrian accent like himself, but Sallis could only do a Yorkshire voice. Inspired by how Sallis drew out the word "cheese", Park chose to give Wallace large cheeks. When Park called Sallis six years later to explain he had completed his film, Sallis swore in surprise.[12]

Gromit was named after grommets, because Park's brother, an electrician, often mentioned them, and Nick Park liked the sound of the word. Wallace was originally a postman named Jerry, but Park felt the name did not match well with Gromit. Park saw an overweight Labrador retriever named Wallace, who belonged to an old woman boarding a bus in Preston. Park commented it was a "funny name, a very northern name to give a dog".[13]

According to the book The World of Wallace and Gromit, original plans were that the film would be 40 minutes long including a sequence where Wallace and Gromit would discover a fast food restaurant on the Moon. Regarding the original plot, Park said:

The original story was that Wallace and Gromit were going to go to the Moon and there were going to be a whole lot of characters there. One of them was a parking meter attendant, which was the only one that remained – the robot cooker character – but there were going to be aliens, and all sorts. There was going to be a McDonalds on the Moon, and it was going to be like a spoof Star Wars. Wallace was going to get thrown into prison and Gromit was going to have to get him out. By the time I came to Aardman, I had just started doing the Moon scene and somebody told me, "It's going to take you another nine years if you do that scene!" so I had to have a check with reality and cut that whole bit out. Somehow, I had to tie up the story on the Moon and finish the film.[14]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Animated Short Film, but lost to the short Creature Comforts, which was also a creation of Nick Park.


  1. ^ "Annual Report 1990" (PDF). Channel 4. p. 20. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 September 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Jeffries, Stuart (16 September 2005). "Lock up your vegetables!". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "A Grand Day Out (1989)". British Film Forever. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Martins, Holly (September 2000). "13th BBC British Short Film Festival". Netribution. Archived from the original on July 29, 2001. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  5. ^ "Wallace and Gromit's 20th birthday present from Google Doodle". The Guardian. 4 November 2009. Archived from the original on March 4, 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2015. Park unveiled Wallace and Gromit to an unsuspecting public on this day in 1989 at an animation festival at the Arnolfini gallery in Bristol. 
  6. ^ "2012 Annual Review" (PDF). Nick Park on A Grand Day Out when shown at Bristol Animation Festival in 1989. 2013. p. 4. Retrieved 15 August 2015. Nick Park on A Grand Day Out when shown at Bristol Animation Festival in 1989 
  7. ^ a b "Gromit! It has been 25 years". The Telegraph. 4 November 2014. Archived from the original on 7 November 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  8. ^ Robinson, Wills (23 May 2014). "'Look here lad, we haven't changed a bit': Sketches show how Wallace and Gromit were created 25 years ago (but no Wensleydale or evil penguin in sight)". Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 15 August 2015. The franchise began on Christmas Day 1989 with A Grand Day Out. The short film, which was aired on BBC,.. 
  9. ^ Clarke, Donald (24 December 2014). "Donald Clarke's Christmas movies". The Irish Times. Retrieved 15 August 2015. Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day Out (1989, BBC One, 12.10pm) 
  10. ^ Midgley, Neil (26 November 2010). "Christmas telly is a reassuring British tradition". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "A Grand Day Out". Wallace & Gromit. Retrieved 22 August 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Nigel Farndale (18 December 2008). "Wallace and Gromit: one man and his dog". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 December 2008. 
  13. ^ Nigel Kendall (20 December 2008). "Nick Park on Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death". The Times (London). Retrieved 26 December 2008. 
  14. ^ Andy Lane (2004). The World of Wallace and Gromit. BoxTree. p. 53. ISBN 9780752215587. 

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