Movie scores, stop motion animation and a classic episode of Wallace and Gromit is a combination that is right up my street, writes Amy Smith.

So, when I saw that a special screening of The Wrong Trousers (which turns 30 this year!) was being held by the WFEL Fairey band at this year's Durham Brass Festival I couldn’t resist going to check it out.

Durham Brass Festival has been in swing all week and the rain did not keep people away this weekend as the city was alive with people, and at times a sea of umbrellas, enjoying a range of world-leading traditional and contemporary brass music.

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The Fairey Band: The Wrong Trousers, was one of the many ticketed events held at Durham’s Gala Theatre this week and people of all ages braved a torrential downpour to make their way to the theatre on Saturday afternoon to see the wacky adventures of Wallace, Gromit and the evil Feathers McGraw who takes an interest in Wallace’s ‘techno trousers’.

The Northern Echo: Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers performed by The Fariey Band at Durham Brass Festival 2023

Before the main event, the audience was warmed up with a brass performance around the world by the Fairey Band. Founded in 1937, the WFEL Fairey Band is one of the most successful contesting brass bands in the world and it is easy to see why.

I am a huge fan of orchestral scores, from movie scores to contemporary remixes of mainstream songs but nothing I have listened to contains any brass elements, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It is safe to say my expectations were more than exceeded. Both the band and music were engaging, uplifting and most importantly, fun.

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After a quick interval, we were on to the main event. It’s at this point where I must confess, I couldn’t contain my excitement. Like most nineties kids, Wallace and Gromit was a huge part of my life growing up and as soon as the intro appeared and the iconic theme song started to play, my heart swelled with a nostalgia that didn’t deflate until the end of the showing.

The Wrong Trousers is the second instalment of Nick Park’s series, which sees Wallace take in a lodger, a devious penguin, who Gromit later finds out is wanted criminal Feathers McGraw.

As Feathers drives Gromit out of his home, the live swell of the score and Gromit’s tears emphasised on the big screen, made my eyes blur with more tears than usual and the band didn’t drop a beat. If it wasn’t for them being in my eyeline allowing me to see the slight movements of the conductor’s hands, I’d swear I was just watching the movie. The Fairey Band were flawless.

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The robbery itself was a relatively quiet affair- apart from a moment of realisation where I located my love for arcade claw machines when Feathers is grabbing the precious diamond, and it must be said that the absolute star of the show was the railway track scene.

Twenty-five minutes of fantastic stop-motion animation and perfectly sculpted clay accumulate into a dramatic chase scene around a toy railway track at 62 West Wallaby Street, which sees Gromit outsmart Feathers McGraw, gun, and all, and capture the penguin in a glass milk bottle. The score during this was immaculate. Every note was hit, every beat was smashed, and the audience applauded as the band played Feathers off to prison.

And of course, it was a wonderful ending as the band played out the famous and iconic Wallace and Gromit credits as the audience young and old joyously clapped along.

I’ll never tire of watching Wallace and Gromit and I’ll never tire of listening to movie scores, to see them both brought together in a live event was a spectacular moment for me and I’m counting down the days until 2025, when I’m hoping with such anticipation that the WFEL Fairey Band and Aardman Animations bring us similar 30th birthday celebrations for A Close Shave.