Morph (animation)

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Morph
Morph-NMM-Bradford.jpg
A model of the main character, Morph on display at the National Media Museum, Bradford
First appearance Take Hart, 15 February 1977
Created by Peter Lord

Morph is a series of clay stop-motion comedy animations, named after the main character. This character was initially seen interacting with Tony Hart, beginning in 1977, on several of his UK TV programmes, notably Take Hart and Hartbeat.

History

Morph was produced for the BBC by Aardman Animations, later famous for the "Sledgehammer" music video and Wallace and Gromit. Morph appeared mainly in one-minute "shorts" interspersed throughout the show. These were connected to the main show by having Hart deliver a line or two to Morph who would reply in gobbledygook but with meaningful gestures. Later on, Morph was joined by cream-coloured Chas, who was much more badly behaved.

Morph can change shape, he would become spheres in order to move around, or extrude into cylinders to pass to different levels. He can also mimic other objects, or creatures. Morph lived in a wooden microscope box on an artists desk, and he and Chas both loved to eat cake, as seen in many of the shorts.

Some of the early plasticine models of Morph were destroyed in a fire at the warehouse where they were being stored, on 10 October 2005.[1]

Morph and Chas appeared in shorts on the British children's TV programme SMart from 1994 onwards.

Morph's 30th birthday was celebrated in 2007 by creator Peter Lord and celebrity fan and comedian Phill Jupitus at events for the Encounters Film Festival in Bristol.

In March 2009, shortly after Hart's death, a flashmob of Morph characters was organised in London outside the Tate Modern art gallery.[2]

In 2009, the BBC drama Ashes to Ashes featured Morph in a guest appearance as a representation of a present-day medic.[3]

On 29 October 2013, Peter Lord (co-founder of Aardman Animations) created a fund raising project on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. The campaign set a target of £75,000 to be used to fund 12 new one minute episodes. The target was reached on 6 November 2013 after only 9 days, attracting contributions from over 1,700 backers who will receive a variety of rewards, including early access to the new animations and a small box of clay used in the production, depending on the individual's level of funding.[4][5]

In January 2014, Peter Lord and Aardman started production on 15 brand new episodes of Morph, with the help of donations from fans. The new series premiered on Morph's official YouTube channel from 4 July 2014 to 30 January 2015.

In 2015, a Morph experience will open at Land's End. The Land’s End signpost will be rebranded 'Lamb’s End' with original sets, models and characters from a range of Aardman productions. Visitors can also star in a real Shaun the Sheep scene, using green screen technology, and meet other characters from the Aardman family, including Shaun the Sheep and Wallace & Gromit.[6]

From 20 March to 2 October 2015 The Amazing Adventures of Morph have been restored in HD on YouTube.

In the summer of 2015, Morph returned to TV on CBBC with the new episodes.[7]

From 6 November 2015 to 7 January 2016, The Lost Tapes from 2001 are revealed and they have been redubbed and remastered on YouTube.

In March 2016, it was announced that Sky plc had made a deal with Aardman Animations to produce new Morph material to be directed at its child audience.[8]

From 6 May 2016 to 15 September 2017, all clips captured from Take Hart are revealed on the Morph YouTube channel.

In August 2017, new Morph merchandise was shown at Wallace & Gromit's Charity Shop.[9]

Films, shorts, and TV series

1977–83 Take Hart
1980–81 The Amazing Adventures of Morph*
1984–93 Hartbeat
1994–2005 SMart
1995 The Morph Files
1997 Morph TV (with Tony Hart)
1998 On Your Marks
2001 The Lost Tapes*
2006 Morph (TV series)
2009 Ashes to Ashes (guest appearance)
2012 Ricky's Radical Reinventions
2014–2016 Brand New Morph#
  • (*) means that it's been restored on YouTube.
  • (#) means that it's made for YouTube.

Series overview

Season Episodes
First aired Last aired
1 19 4 November 2013 26 June 2014
2 17 4 July 2014 6 March 2015

Season 1: 2013–14

The First Season of Morph was aired on 4 November 2013 and ended on 26 June 2014.

# Episode Original airdate
101 Hats 4 November 2013
102 No Entry 4 November 2013
103 Magic Boots 4 November 2013
104 Invisimorph 4 November 2013
105 Sweet Showdown 4 November 2013
106 The Amazing Mimic 6 November 2013
107 Get The Picture 11 November 2013
108 Cake 14 November 2013
109 Robomorph 27 March 2014
110 Messy April Fools 1 April 2014
111 Card Trick 1 May 2014
112 Ice Cream 8 May 2014
113 Row Your Boat 15 May 2014
114 Sailors 22 May 2014
115 Cleaning 29 May 2014
116 Minimorph 5 June 2014
117 Football 12 June 2014
118 Sitting Comfortably? 19 June 2014
119 Pudding Time 26 June 2014

Season 2: 2014–15

# Episode Original airdate
201 (20) Twin Decks 4 July 2014
202 (21) Portable Hole 18 July 2014
203 (22) Great Outdoors 1 August 2014
204 (23) Stand Up 15 August 2014
205 (24) Fetch 29 August 2014
206 (25) Bin It To Win It 12 September 2014
207 (26) Stick Up 26 September 2014
208 (27) Hiccups 10 October 2014
209 (28) Box of Tricks 24 October 2014
210 (29) Selfie 7 November 2014
211 (30) Clean Sweep 21 November 2014
212 (31) Goal 5 December 2014
213 (32) Xmas 19 December 2014
214 (33) Sloped World 2 January 2015
215 (34) Chas Express 17 January 2015
216 (35) Picture Perfect 30 January 2015
217 (36) Red Nose Day 6 March 2015

Season 3: 2016

A third season will air on the Sky Kids app and YouTube in 2016.[10]

Characters

  • Morph – The curious and creative main character with tuscan red skin. He is a clay figure who can transform into many things.
  • Chas – Morph's mischievous white-skinned best friend.
  • Nailbrush – Morph's 'canine' companion, a barking nailbrush.
  • GrandMorph – Morph's elderly, bearded grandfather, who travels by skateboard and frequently invents things.
  • Delilah – A bossy, bespectacled female character in a yellow dress with dark brownish-purple skin.
  • Folly – A scatter-brained girl made of tin-foil.
  • Gillespie – A large, blue, dimwitted but peaceable friend of Morph's.
  • The Very Small Creatures – An array of small plasticine balls with eyes who travel in a swarm; the smallest of the group, Little Green, features prominently on his own in a number of episodes.
  • Gobbledygook – A green, omnivorous alien child (who arrived on the table by sleeping near Morph's desk in The Amazing Adventures of Morph, but in The Morph Files, he arrived by accidentally being printed from the 'Space Invaders' style game).

Credits

1980

  • Narrator: Tony Hart
  • Animators: Peter Lord, David Sproxton
  • Modelmaker: Chris Entwistle
  • Lighting/Camera: Nat Sale
  • Special Effects: Peter Harwood
  • Editor: Alan Trott
  • Executive Producers: David Hamilton, Claire Derry
  • Produced by: Patrick Dowling
  • Written and Directed by: Peter Lord, David Sproxton

1995

  • Narrator: Neil Morrissey
  • Animation by: Aardman Animations
  • Storyboard: Andy James
  • Stop-Motion Animation: Mike Booth, Gary Cureton, Dave Osmond
  • Modelmaker: Chris Entwistle
  • Lighting/Camera: Nat Sale
  • Computer Animation: Alan Snow
  • Sound Designers: Tom Myers and Will Norte
  • Dubbing Editor: James Mather
  • Special Sound Effects: Peter Harwood
  • Special Visual Effects: Alan Snow
  • Foley Artist: Jana Vance
  • Licensing & Marketing: Link Licensing
  • For Link Licensing: David Hamilton, Claire Derry
  • Special Thanks to: Nick Park, Peter Lord, David Sproxton, Aardman Animations Staff
  • Music by: Julian Nott
  • Film Editor: Andrew Hassenruck
  • Production Designer: Peter Lord
  • Director of Photography: Nick Park
  • Executive Producers: Peter Lord, David Sproxton
  • Produced by: Jacqueline White
  • Written by: Andy Walker
  • Directed by: Peter Lord

See also

References

  1. ^ Curses, Gromit! Fire destroys animation firm's history on eve of box office triumph
  2. ^ Morph Flashmob outside the Tate Modern gallery
  3. ^ 1980s kids' plasticine star Morph to star in Ashes To Ashes
  4. ^ 'Bring back Morph' campaign launched by Aardman
  5. ^ All New Adventures of Morph from Aardman Animations
  6. ^ http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Shaun-Sheep-friends-star-Land-s-End-experience/story-23723823-detail/story.html
  7. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/bbc/11617581/Morph-returns-to-TV-after-15-years-with-new-CBBC-show.html
  8. ^ Financial Times, 31 March 2016
  9. ^ http://www.wallaceandgromitcharityshop.org.uk/collections/morph
  10. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5jhpTabqJ0

External links

  • Official Morph website
  • Official Morph YouTube channel
  • Information about Morph, with photograph
  • B3ta interview with Tony Hart which discusses Morph
  • A fond farewell to Morph: Tony Hart article about Morph
  • Animation archive up in smoke: BBC News article about Aardman's warehouse fire
  • Morph's page on Tony Hart's official site
  • Limited edition Morph prints created for Morph's 30th anniversary
  • Guardian article about Aardman's warehouse fire
  • Kickstarter project to fund new production
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