As a 10 year old kid, I was obsessed with the idea of becoming an animator (I was a weird kid!) and used to stay up late to watch a special programme on channel 4 which showcased the most incredible animated films from around the world. In amongst the weird and wonderful short films was a little seemingly unassuming film from a young Northern animator called Nick Park that he had made over a 5 year period whilst at art college ‘A Grand Day Out.’
What hit me about this charming film was how Nick managed to create such uniquely English characters, such loveably normal and every day creations experiencing the most fantastic of adventures; a Yorkshireman named Wallace, obsessed with cheese who sets off to the moon in a homemade rocket with his trusty sarcastic but loyal dog Gromit.
One of the things that made the main character of Wallace so effective was the incredibly warm and reassuring voice that Peter Sallis provided. He injected such a pathos and natural humour to the ever optimistic homegrown inventor that made the viewer see beyond the clay to see him as a fully rounded, real person. Without Peter’s fully realised portrayal, I doubt the character could’ve become so timeless, such a modern institute of British humour; even with the brilliance of Nick Park’s animation.
Sufficed to say I’ve been a Wallace and Gromit super-fan ever since, and will sadly miss the actor who helped make it so special.
So Rest in Peace and thank you to the sardonic, loveable, one of a kind true gent that was Peter Sallis.