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Hail to the Welsh king of cart oons.

Byline: ERYL CRUMP

THE man who gave us Super Ted, Fireman Sam and Wil Cwac Cwac has been honoured by the television industry.

Chris Grace, the pioneer of the Welsh animation industry, received a Bafta Special Award for his outstanding creative contribution over the last 30 years to children's programming.

S4C's retiring director of animation received the award at The British Academy Children's Film and Television Awards held at the London Hilton Hotel on Park Lane,last night.

Since its launch 21 years ago S4C's animations,mostly commissioned by Chris,have led to two Oscar nominations,four Bafta awards and 10 prime-time Emmys.

Receiving the award, the 56-year old animator said: ``I am humbled and flattered by the award and feel very proud to be recognised by my peers and Bafta after 35 years in the industry. The award is a recognition of the world class status of the Welsh animation industry and a celebration of the contribution made by over 30 countries to this unique canon of work.''

Chris's first commission for S4C was SuperTed, the first programme to be screened on the channel on its inaugural night on November 1,1982.

SuperTed was the first British animation to be bought by the Disney Channel in the US and has since been sold to over 80 countries.

It effectively kick-started the Welsh animation industry,leading to other classics such as Fireman Sam, Legend of Lochnagar,Shakespeare: The Animated Tales and The Miracle Maker.

Chris has spent over 35 years in Welsh broadcasting.

He joined S4C from HTV in September 1981 and was one of the handful of executives responsible for launching the Channel on November 1,1982.

In addition to SuperTed in 1982, further commissions in the 1980s include Fireman Sam, Wil Cwac Cwac and the Prince of Wales' The Legend of Lochnagar, which was networked by ABC in the USA.

He uncovered many new sources of animation in eastern European countries and brought their work to the world audience in award-winning series,films and specials via coproductions his channel commissioned or brokered.

He will step down from his full-time post at S4C in the next few months,but will continue to develop and oversee animation projects.

These include the third series of the multi-country co-production The Animated Tales of the World. He will also be pursuing other projects both in the UK and abroad.

Chris added: ``S4C has been my professional passion for the major part of my working life. When I started, you could fit it all into an estate car. For me, much the most rewarding development in Wales has been the growth of the language and the positive climate surrounding it -so radically different from the 1970s. In animation,Wales has brokered major international coproductions with countries from a previously divided Europe, while establishing its own respected `voice' that is neither of east nor west.'' He continued: ``I leave in the knowledge that as an outsider I have been profoundly privileged to serve this country, this channel, this language at this time in Wales' history.''

During his years at S4C Chris initiated a ``shorts'' film scheme that annually gives 40 animators in Wales a chance to direct their own films.

Chris launched S4C's commercial arm -S4C International/Mentrau -at the Cannes Film Festival in 1982 and managed it until 1992.

He also initiated the British Animation Awards and brought the Cardiff Animation Festival to Wales. He chaired last year's pounds 1m Cartoon Forum in Caernarfon.

He was made a Member of the Gorsedd in 1983 and awarded an MBE for services to animation in 1998.

CAPTION(S):

Chris Grace receives his Bafta from Jocelyn Stevens last night; The cartoon series Wil Cwac Cwac, commissioned by Chris Grace
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 1, 2003
Words:622
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