Peter Sallis: Wallace and Gromit actor dies aged 96 

The voice of Wallace has died.

The silly, plummy, character-driven steampunk/sitcom hybrid Wallace & Gromit films were a big influence on the tone of the “Captain Gearhart and the Magnificent Blimpship” steampunk bedtime stories I used to tell the kids.


Peter Sallis has died at the age of 96, his agents have announced.The actor was best known for appearing in Last of the Summer Wine and was also famous as the voice of Wallace in Wallace and Gromit.His agent confirmed he died peacefully with his family by his side. —BBC News

11 thoughts on “Peter Sallis: Wallace and Gromit actor dies aged 96 

  1. Side note: Hope you wrote down those Captain Gearheart stories… If Tolkien could spin his bedtime tales into a literal genre-defining piece, anything is possible!

    • Most nights as soon as I was finished I wrote down an outline, and for one or two climactic bits I pulled out a voice recorder. One Christmas I rewrote the lyrics to Rudolph and spent a couple weeks manipulating the story to the point where the song made sense. I was flattered that the kids asked me to sing that song again as soon as I finished. “Moonbot the tap-tap dancebot, had two stubby metal feet.” Really, in context, it was pretty epic. And one day when I was planning some “somebody is hiding behind the arras” subterfuge, I realized I needed to know more about how the various rooms on the Magnificent Blimpship were laid out, and I fired up Blender3D and started working on a ridiculously complex model.

    • Greg Kerestan I have also toyed with making it a text adventure game or a radio play. The great thing about telling stories to kids is I could reuse bits from vaudeville (Slowly I turned… step by step… inch by inch,”) or tropes like “The Most Dangerous Game”. Once I spent a half hour establishing that an important character was sick, another half hour establishing that the only cure was to seek “stickroot” from a dangerous part of the solar system, and another half hour letting the kids assemble the mission team and gear up, and as the adventurers left the farewell dinner and headed to the launch bay, they bumped into someone who said “Even those of us who arrange and design stickroot are under considerable economic stress.” I can still remember the surprise on Carolyn’s voice when she realized instead of going on the dangerous adventure, she could just ask Roger the Stickrooter for some stickroot. I went into all that confident the kids hadn’t seen The Holy Grail and thus wouldn’t be spoiled by the shrubbery reference. So, while I do like the characters we created together, and I do think the months-long story arcs were good ones, during individual episodes I had to amuse a five-year old who wanted romance and humor without boring a nine-year-old who wanted to know how the engines worked and the details of the political and economic systems of the United States of Britannia. So, while I do like the overall story arc and the world-building, I’d have to come up with the right episode. (We never did an origin story — the ensemble just formed organically as we needed supporting characters.)

    • You and Philip Gavin have a shared knack for world-building… the shock and surprise when a beloved supporting character from a campaign years ago showed up last summer was only topped by the shock and surprise when that character (long Phil’s signature non-playable character) was killed off unceremoniously by a trap minutes after her initial reappearance.

    • Greg Kerestan Interesting. When Carolyn was about seven and misbehaved in the real world, I set up a scenario in which one of her beloved characters misbehaved, got seriously injured, and was stuck “in a vat of heal-goo” for several years. To celebrate when Carolyn got the lead in Annie, I let this character twitch her hand in response to her name. (This character’s name happened to be Annie.)

  2. When I was a kid, there was an annual Scout overnighter to the Carnegie Science Center. After the Omnimax film, it was bedtime for the younger kids, but older ones and parents could go to a Wallace and Gromit marathon in the smaller theatre. I have so many happy memories of not being sure if I was dreaming or awake watching “The Wrong Trousers” and the like.

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