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House of Wallace & Gromit up in smoke

Aardman Animations rounded off a rollercoaster weekend in tragic fashion as Nick Park and his clay-moulding merry men had to stand by and watch their warehouse burn to the ground. The master clayman commented that although it was “dreadful” for the company itself, no one was hurt, so it was “not a big deal.”

But what about Wallace and Gromit, Nick!? Fortunately, the stars of The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit were with him at the time, travelling with him on the film’s global tubthumping tour. At least the fact that Were-Rabbit opened over the weekend at the number one spot in the US box office is salve to the wounds.

“It couldn’t have come on a worse day,” said Aardman spokesman Arthur Sheriff. “Everything has gone, from as far back as Morph and all the way through to Chicken Run. Everyone’s devastated.”

Scant consolation was provided by company co-founder Chris Sproxton, who confirmed that the film archive was kept elsewhere.

With all three floors ravaged by flames, police are now investigating the possibility that the blaze was started deliberately. “Our arson task force has been alerted and we are keeping a close eye on things,” says a police spokeswoman. “It may turn out to be suspicious.”