Our favourite clay hound and his hapless master return with a charming, informative series about science. Wallace and Gromit have gone factual on us and the result is a cute jumble of studio links performed by the plasticine inventor and reports by real life correspondents. “It’s the show that irons the jeans of genius and keeps you connected with kinetics,” explains a hyped Wallace, fresh from being dressed and fed by his iconic dressing and feeding machine.
Episode one of Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention is all about contraptions inspired by nature. Knowing their audience’s love of whimsy, production company Aardman have sourced some intensely bizarre gizmos. German company Festo make flying machines modelled on animals, though, weirdly, not ones that have ever left land or sea. There’s the flying manta ray and it’s sister IFO, an airborne penguin. They undulate elegantly but also look a bit ridiculous. Then there’s the clock that runs on dead flies and the Dutch man who builds beach-strolling, wind-powered monsters using only PVC tubing. Later, Wallace, not to be outdone, introduces us to his own beastly creation: a sprout-munching elephant whose gaseous emissions are converted into electricity.
It might have been given an evening slot (7.30pm, BBC1) but Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention is made for kids, even more so than the couple’s claymation-only offerings. The science reports are pure CBBC – written to be understood and enjoyed by anyone old enough to own a lunchbox.
TV.com also snuck a look at episode two, which introduces us to even more scintillating science and quirky innovators. It’s about flying, and so we meet Steve. Steve builds his own rockets (some more successfully than others) and hopes one day to put himself into space. And if you’ve ever wondered what space suits might look like in the future, watch and learn. Back in the studio, Wallace shows off his own rocket and inadvertently traps Gromit inside. The long-suffering mutt should really look into pet adoption.
While all-new Wallace and Gromit’s plasticine parts are just as carefully crafted as any Aardman creation, if you blink you’ll miss them. Indeed, claymation purists may feel cheated by the minimal use of the genre’s best-loved ambassadors. Each instalment boasts mere minutes of W&G; action, and if school-level science--however kooky--doesn’t get you juiced then, sadly, this might be one to skip.