Is Early Man the new Wallace and Gromit? Behind the scenes of Nick Park's new Aardman adventure

Eddie Redmayne, Maisie Williams and Nick Park take a selfie on the set of Early Man Credit: Chris Johnson 

As anybody familiar with scripture will know, conjuring a new universe from scratch is not a feat to be scoffed at. For the better part of the past two years, though, Aardman Animations has been attempting to do just that. In plasticine. One painstaking frame at a time.

It is a stifling Wednesday in the summer of 2017 at Aztec West, a business park nestled at the meeting of the M4 and the M5 near Bristol. This heroically uninteresting estate – named not for any semblance of exoticism but for its promise to contain the West Country’s ‘A to Z of technology’ – has been home to Aardman since 1999, when a reported £167 million deal with DreamWorks saw it able to take its famously cosy operation up a few notches.

Forever loyal to the gruelling art of ‘claymation’ (moving pliant models infinitesimal amounts at a time to create stop-motion animation), it’s from here that the studio built on the Oscar-winning...

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