Before Wallace and Gromit, before Creature Comforts, there was Aardman’s first stop motion star: Morph. The character was created by Aardman co-founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton in 1977 to appear in comedy segments on the children’s arts-and-crafts series Take Hart; the character later went on to star in The Amazing Adventures of Morph and its multiple follow-up series.
Now he’s back with an online series funded through Kickstarter. So far, one of a slated fifteen episodes is available to view: “Twin Decks,” directed by Merlin Crossingham, sees Morph and his grey clone Chas dancing on a pair of vinyl records:
Although certain incarnations of Morph had an entire supporting cast and a narrator, the new series goes back to basics. With no dialogue and a 75-second running time, the emphasis is very much on character animation and physical comedy.
The short running time associated with Morph was the main hurdle in reviving the series. “We’ve been wanting to do it for years,” said David Sproxton in an interview with Skwigly. “The TV bit doesn’t work for really short format anymore. That was the problem with getting him back onto screens with TV modern not doing what it used to do…YouTube was the way to go.”
With various other Aardman series being bagged by Amazon Prime, the studio’s creations appear to be adapting well to online distributon.
In a 1989 BBC documentary called The Animators, Peter Lord remarked that “secretly I have an ambition [Morph’ll] become, like, the Mickey Mouse of the future. I want him going on, you know, thirty years hence.” Well, he may not be as well known as Mickey Mouse, but he’s still going strong twenty-five years since Lord spoke those words.