Creative Director & Co-Founder, Aardman Animations
Peter Lord is Co-Founder and Creative Director of Aardman. He co-founded Aardman with his long-time collaborator, David Sproxton, in 1972. As a director, Lord has been honoured with two Academy Award ® nominations for Best Animated Short, the first in 1992 for Adam, and for Wat’s Pig in 1996, and Best Animated Feature for Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists in 2013. He has also earned BAFTA nominations for Adam, The Amazing Adventures of Morph, War Story and Chicken Run and, as a producer for Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
Lord first met Sproxton in the early 1970’s at school, where they started experimenting with animation techniques on their kitchen table. They tried a range of methods before settling on plasticine/clay model animation. While they were still in their teens, a BBC children’s television producer offered Lord and Sproxton the chance to make short animated films for his programme, Vision On.
After going professional in 1976, their first success was with the clay character Morph, who later starred in his own series, The Amazing Adventures of Morph. As a testament to Morph’s enduring appeal, he still appears in new productions today.
Moving to Bristol in 1976, Lord and Sproxton built Aardman into one of the world’s leading model animation studios. In 1978, Aardman was commissioned by BBC Bristol to make two short films entitled Animated Conversations. The resulting Down and Out and Confessions of a Foyer Girl, both co-directed by Lord and Sproxton, broke new ground in animation by using recordings of real-life conversations. That led to a series of five Conversation Pieces for the UK’s Channel 4, all of which were co-directed by Lord and Sproxton, including Early Bird and On Probation. Expanding into music videos, Aardman collaborated with director Stephen Johnson and the Brothers Quay to create Peter Gabriel’s award-winning video Sledgehammer. In 1987, Lord created the video for Nina Simone’s My Baby Just Cares for Me. Two years later, Channel 4 again commissioned Aardman to create the five-picture Lip Synch series, which included Lord’s War Story. Lord’s other directing credits include Going Equipped and Babylon. Together with Sproxton, Lord has also played a major role in encouraging and promoting new directors. His executive producer credits with Aardman include Creature Comforts, Rex the Runt, HumDrum, Stage Fright and The Pearce Sisters as well as the spectacularly successful series of films starring Wallace and Gromit including, most recently, A Matter of Loaf and Death.
Aardman’s special brand of animation has also been seen in TV commercials in various countries for such products as far ranging as Chevron, Lurpack, Mita Copiers, Cadbury’s Crunchie and Polo.
In 2000, Lord teamed up with Nick Park to co-direct Aardman’s first full-length feature Chicken Run, starring the voice of Mel Gibson, which was a commercial and critical smash. Lord also produced the Oscar-winning first feature length film starring Wallace and his faithful canine sidekick Gromit. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was released in 2005.
Lord was a Producer of Aardman’s first CGI feature film, Flushed Away, which was produced in collaboration with DreamWorks in Glendale LA and released worldwide at the end of 2006. In 2011, he was Executive Producer on Aardman’s second major CGI project, Arthur Christmas, directed by Sarah Smith. This time the film was made in collaboration with Columbia and Sony Pictures Animation.
A second project with the same studio saw Lord returning to the classic Aardman technique of stop-frame animation. He directed his first solo venture: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, a delicious confection of piracy on the high seas, which starred the voice of Hugh Grant. The film was released in 2012 to critical acclaim worldwide and nominated for an Academy Award (2013 Oscars) in the Best Animated Feature Film category. Towards the end of 2013 Peter fronted an extremely successful Kickstarter crowd funding campaign to ‘Bring back Morph’. The campaign quickly exceeded its target funding and consequently more episodes of Morph were produced.
In 2009 Lord and Sproxton were presented with a Special Award from BAFTA in the TV Craft Awards.
In 2012 Lord was made the Honorary President of the Hiroshima Animation Festival and attends numerous animation and film festivals to give talks and sit on juries.
Lord and Sproxton were each awarded a CBE in the 2006 Queen’s Birthday honours list, the same year that saw them celebrate 30 years of Aardman.
In 2016, the award-winning studio celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Lord's most recent film credits are as Executive Producer on Aardman’s 2015 hit film Shaun the Sheep Movie, the 2018 comedy adventure Early Man, and the second Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon released in autumn 2019.
In November 2018, Aardman became an Employee Owned organisation, ensuring that the studio remains independent and securing the creative legacy and culture of the company for the future.