Aardman calms fears of 'clay crisis' ahead of new Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run films

Aardman says it has been "tinkering away behind the scenes" to deal with its supplier closing, Credit: Aardman/Netflix

Iconic Bristol animator Aardman has calmed fears it is about to run out of clay ahead of the long-awaited sequel to the Wallace and Gromit feature film.

The company uses a type of clay called Lewis Newplast to create its beloved animations. It is as pliable as plasticine but, crucially, stays in shape under hot studio lights.

The material was only made at one factory in the UK, on the outskirts of Torquay in Devon and, in March this year, the couple which ran the factory shut up shop.

It has been reported that Aardman bought up all of the firm's remaining clay, but the factory's closure led to the Telegraph reporting a "crisis" at the animation firm.

The newspaper said the amount of clay left was only enough for one film - the long-awaited Wallace and Gromit sequel.

However, Aardman has now told ITV News fans have no reason to panic.

The new Wallace and Gromit film will be released in 2024. Credit: PA

"We are touched about recent concern over the future of our beloved clay creations, but wanted to reassure fans that there is absolutely no need to worry," a spokesperson said.

"We have high levels of existing stocks of modelling clay to service current and future productions..

The spokesperson added: "Much like Wallace in his workshop, we have been tinkering away behind the scenes for quite some time with plans in place to ensure a smooth transition to new stocks in the years to come.

"Our fans can rest assured Newclay's closure will not impact Aardman's ability to continue to make our iconic productions."

The Wallace and Gromit sequel is due to hit screens in 2024, but fans won't have to wait quite that long to see some familiar Aardman characters again.

That's because a sequel to Chicken Run will be released in cinemas and on Netflix next month.

It comes 23 years after the original, which remains the most successful stop-motion film ever made.

The original puppets were all destroyed during a fire at the Aardman warehouse in 2005, meaning creators had to start from scratch for the sequel.

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget will be released on 15 December.