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ELT by Peter Viney & Karen Viney Wallce & Gromit

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A Close Shave Teacher’s Guide
The Teacher’s Guide contains:

• Step-by-step teaching notes
• Answers (in blue) to all the exercises
• Notes on classes at higher levels (boxed and in blue)

Background notes

A Close Shave was animated by Nick Park, and like The Wrong Trousers, has won the Academy Award‘ for best short animated film. A creative team of nearly forty people spent almost a year on filming it. The characters are made of Plasticine moulded over a metal frame with moveable joints. There are about 42,000 individual still pictures in the film (and you can access any one of them by using the ‘pause’ control.)

Cultural notes

The story is set in a small industrial town in the north of England. Wallace’s redbrick house is about one hundred years old, and this kind of house can be found in any British town.

The setting is very typical of Britain. The most popular British children’s comics, Beano and Dandy (which are produced in Scotland) date back to the late 1930s. They are set in similar streets, somewhere in Northern England or Scotland. They also feature animals functioning in a human world (their early characters were Korky the Kat and Biffo The Bear.) Part of the appeal of Wallace and Gromit has been their distinctive Britishness.

Teachers will ask how typical the setting is. The rooms and styles are deliberately very much 1950s /1960s Britain. More people probably live in modern houses in suburbs nowadays, but this is an older urban environment which students would still see anywhere in Britain.


Wallace has a Yorkshire accent. He is played both in the original version, and in this ELT Adaptation by Peter Sallis, an actor famous as a Yorkshireman in the long-running

The story is narrated by Stephen Tompkinson, who speaks in a mild Lancashire accent. Lancashire is on the west side of the Pennines (Manchester and Liverpool are the biggest cities). Yorkshire is on the east side of the Pennines (Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and York are its best-known cities). They have Northern accents, which have been retained.

Further viewing
The Aardman www internet site

Aardman is the company which produced The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave. Where the school or students at home have internet access, we highly recommend accessing the Aardman web site at:


Note that this site is related to the original, non-simplified version of The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave and also has information on other Aardman productions.

The original videos

Where students are at a higher level, you may wish to give them the opportunity of comparing this ELT version with the authentic original version (published by the BBC).

A Grand Day Out / The Wrong Trousers
A Close Shave is the third in level of three video animations starring Wallace and Gromit. The other two, A Grand Day Out and The Wrong Tousers are also available in ELT adaptations by Peter Viney and Karen Viney, published by Oxford University Press. 

See The Wrong Trousers; A Grand Day Out

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Peter Viney & Karen Viney 2004. All rights reserved.