Date: 11th October 2005

Fire destroys Wallace and Gromit empire

The treasured history of the Wallace and Gromit film empire have been destroyed in a warehouse fire.

The plasticine models, props and sets used in the duo's films and the hit movie Chicken Run went up in flames at Aardman Animation's Bristol depot.

The fire came on the day the British production company's latest movie, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit topped the US box office chart.

Sets from the past, including those used in A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave were lost along with models of kids' TV icon Morph.

More than 50 firefighters were unable to prevent the roof caving in and upper storeys collapsing. Fire investigators are still probing the cause.

Aardman spokesman Arthur Sheriff said: "Today was supposed to be a day of celebration, with the news that Wallace and Gromit had gone in at No1 but instead our whole history has been wiped out."

But Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park, 46, was philosophical about the loss in comparison to the Pakistan earthquake.

"Even though it's precious stuff and nostalgic - and dreadful for the company, in light of other tragedies it's not a big deal," he said.

Source: Press Release