For all I'll proclaim to be a raving fan of Aardman Studios, I must confess I’ve never actually seen even one episode of Shaun The Sheep on TV. Not because I don't like it, but simply due to due to a combination of circumstance and neither being nor associating much with the target audience. But none of that really matters. What we have in the SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE really is several cuts above your average made-for-littluns school holiday filler. This is a highly accomplished silent (well, nearly silent) film.

The story – Shaun gets bored by life on the farm and looks for adventure in the big city, but gets more than he bargained for - isn’t too convoluted for the youngest viewers, but neither is it patronising for older kids. Overall it may run just a fraction long, but the jokes keep landing thick and fast, and they’re delivered with Aardman’s typical crack timing (adults pay attention to the background at all times – there’s a mountain of great stuff back there). Most importantly of all, the characters are masterfully expressed; we understand them, and we care for them completely. Meanwhile, someone had the excellent sense to have Rizzlekicks do the theme song, and the exquisite taste to place the Foo Fighters seamlessly into the soundtrack.

Oh, and stick around to the very end. Like, the proper end. Don’t leave until the lights come up.