Aardman Animation’s new television special Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death brought The BBC a merry Christmas. According to Daily Variety, the stop-motion adventure drew in an estimated 14.3 million viewers for a 53.3% share, making it the year’s most-watched U.K. show. The Oscar-winning 2005 movie Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit aired earlier in the day to 7.2 million viewers (39.8% share).
In A Matter of Loaf and Death, Wallace & Gromit have started a new bread baking business called Top Bun, and have converted 62 West Wallaby Street into a granary with ovens and robotic kneading arms. Business is booming and Wallace finds himself in love with former beauty and bread enthusiast Piella Bakewell. Gromit discovers his master’s life is in jeopardy after a dozen local bakers disappear, and turns sleuth to solve the escalating murder mystery.
Leading up to the broadcast debut, Wallace and Gromit served as the face of BBC One in a series of station idents created and produced exclusively by Aardman at its studios in Bristol. The on-air campaign ran throughout the holiday period.
In a victory over commercial competitor ITV, public broadcaster BBC claimed nine of the top ten slots over the holidays. The Doctor Who Christmas special was the second most watched program with 11.7 million viewers.