The actor Peter Sallis has died. The 96 year old will be best remembered for his role in Last of the Summer Wine.

Early days of Summer Wine, Sallis (right) with Bill Owen (centre) and Michael Bates (left).

Peter Sallis, fondly remembered as Norman Clegg in the BBC’s sitcom Last of the Summer Wine has died. He was 96.

The performer will also be remembered by younger viewers as the voice of Wallace in the stop-animation movies Wallace and Gromit.

Born in Twickenham, south west London, in 1921  Sallis established himself as a character actor in London theatre productions throughout the 1950s and 1960s. He is notably credited as appearing in the first West End production of WWII set dark musical Cabaret opposite Judi Dench in 1968 as well as featuring in many British films of the sixties and seventies including Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and Doctor in Love.

However it was television in the 1970s that made him a ‘TV face’ known to millions of viewers. Early small parts included in ATV’s Danger Man, ITC’s The Persuaders! and the BBC’s Doctor Who.

Final Summer Wine: Peter (centre) with Russ Abbott (left) and Frank Thornton (right).

Regular re-runs: UKTV channel Gold screen Last of the Summer Wine’s various series.

In 1973 he would first appear in his most famous comedy, and television, role as Norman ‘Cleggy’ Clegg in Comedy Playhouse’s Last of the Summer Wine. The one-off as part of the playhouse series proved successful and a full series followed.

The programme ran, in total, for 295 episodes – of which Peter was the only cast member to appear in each edition. When Last of the Summer Wine was pulled by BBC One in 2010 Sallis retired from acting. The series by this point however had become the longest running situation comedy in the world, and continues to have daily repeats on UKTV’s Gold channel.

He had also in later years become well known, especially to younger audiences, for his voice over work in the movies featuring Plasticine characters Wallace and Gromit. He first voiced the eccentric ‘inventor’, who is seen living with his silent pet dog, in 1989. He made his last movie with the popular pair in 2008, and voiced a television series featuring Wallace in 2010.

Sallis was the final surviving of the original Last of the Summer Wine lead actors, with Bill Owen passing away in 1999 and Michael Bates in 1978. Peter died on June 2nd, peacefully surrounded by his close family a statement said.

The death of Peter Sallis comes after the recent passing of Last of the Summer Wine actress Jane Freeman, who died in March aged 81. Freeman played Ivy the café owner in the BBC comedy. The actress also had a recurring role in ATV soap Crossroads and made two appearances in LWT’s prison saga Within These Walls, each time playing a different character.

Popular era: Summer Wine’s heyday with Brian Wilde, Kathy Staff, Bill Owen and Peter Sallis.

Jane Freeman, pictured in ATV’s Crossroads, is best known as Ivy in Last of the Summer Wine. Jane passed away in March.
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