Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park shares heartwarming tribute to Peter Sallis

wallacegromitwrongtrousers.jpg

A toast was raised by Last of the Summer Wine and Wallace and Gromit fans everywhere to the memory of Peter Sallis after it was announced by his agent that he had died at the grand old age of 96.

Although he was born and raised in Middlesex, the two roles he was best known for – as the ‘unobtrusive lover of a quiet life’ Norman Clegg in Last of the Summer Wine and Wallace in Wallace and Gromit – saw him adopt a northern accent, and he was the only member of the Last of the Summer Wine cast to appear in every episode from 1973 to 2010.

However, to most of us, he will be best remembered, and most loved for his portrayal of Wallace, a cheese-loving eccentric inventor, with his best friend – and constant saviour – Gromit at his side.

While a student in 1983, animator Nick Park wrote to Sallis asking him if he would voice the character Wallace. Sallis agreed to do so for a donation of £50 to his favourite charity. Park has now posted the following beautiful tribute to him on the Aardman website.

“I’m so sad, but feel so grateful and privileged to have known and worked with Peter over so many years. He was always my first and only choice for Wallace. I knew him of course from the very popular long running BBC series Last of the Summer Wine. He brought his unique gift and humour to all that he did, and encapsulated the very British art of the droll and understated.

Peter Sallis and Nick Park

Peter Sallis and Nick Park (image posted on aardman.com)

“Working with Peter was always a delight and I will miss his wry, unpredictable humour and silliness – that started the moment he greeted you at the door, and didn’t stop when the mic was switched off. He had naturally funny bones and was a great storyteller and raconteur off stage too and would keep us amused for hours. He could make the simplest incident sound hilarious – just by the way he said it.

“When I look back I’m so blessed and fortunate that he had the generosity of spirit to help out a poor film school student back in the early 1980s, when we first recorded together, when neither of us had any idea what Wallace and Gromit might become.

“Peter’s unique, charming quality, together with oversized vowels and endearing performance, helped me fashion Wallace from the beginning; the way he first said “We’ve forgotten the crackers Gromit” and “Cracking toast Gromit” or just “Cheeeese!” soon lead to Wallace’s enormous “coat-hanger mouth”.

“They don’t come along very often like Peter Sallis – he was a unique character, on and off screen, and [it was] an absolute honour to have known him.”

Peter Sallis

Peter Sallis, pictured at the premiere of 'Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit' in 2005

(Images: Rex/AllStar/Aardman)

Related

simpcol.png

How good is your 'Simpsons' colour memory?

keepers.png

Why every true crime fan should be watching 'The Keepers'

partridgebond.jpg

Let's all watch Alan Partridge's reenactment of 'The Spy Who Loved Me'

Comments

More

Michael Bond, the creator of Paddington Bear, dies age 91

He brought joy to millions of childhoods

by Gary Ogden
28 Jun 2017

American rapper records brutal diss track... about himself

He's gone in hard

by Dave Fawbert
28 Jun 2017

Glastonbury techno tent blares out Corbyn's speech at 4am

He won Glastonbury

by Alex Finnis
28 Jun 2017

Sky Sports are overhauling all their channels and slashing the price

It's a brand new look

by Carl Anka
27 Jun 2017

First details of the Glastonbury spin-off festival emerge

It's sounding great already

by Dave Fawbert
27 Jun 2017

The 5 most surprising findings from the Forbes athletes rich list

Some unlikely names took home heaps

by Tom Victor
27 Jun 2017

London is getting a 50mph, 225m urban zip-wire

You'll fly across the city at 50mph

by Gary Ogden
27 Jun 2017

Serena Williams' short and sweet response to John McEnroe’s comments

Pipe down, John

by Tom Victor
27 Jun 2017

All the winners from the 'Dog Photographer of the Year' contest

So many good boys and girls

by Alex Finnis
27 Jun 2017

John McEnroe is an idiot

He cannot be serious

by Tom Victor
26 Jun 2017