Wallace and Gromit could have had their last grand day out

Loveable pair Wallace and Gromit, and below, Peter Sallis
Loveable pair Wallace and Gromit, and below, Peter Sallis
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Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park revealed that the actor who voices the inventor is in frail health.

Peter Sallis has been the voice of Wallace since the animated duo’s first outing in 1989. But at the age of 93 he is increasingly frail and now Preston-born Nick Park has revealed that he is reluctant to continue the animation without Peter’s talents.

Peter Sallis

Peter Sallis

“It is a big question for us,” said Nick, who was brought up in Walmer Bridge and is a Freeman of Preston.

“We do have an understudy who has stepped up sometimes.”

Ben Whitehead, 38, a London-based actor, has occasionally voiced cheese-loving, Wigan-dwelling inventor Wallace.

“Ben started doing the stuff Peter didn’t want to do – video games with tons of phrases or if we needed voice for an exhibition or a ride at Blackppol, stuff like that,” added Nick.

“Some people have spotted it but he is getting quite good now. Whether he will stand in [for feature films] I’m not sure.”

The animator was speaking to a national newspaper as he attended the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the Leith School of Art.

He said that is now working on two new films, one starring Shaun the Sheep and the other with new characters. Nick was still at film school when he first teamed with Last of the Summer Wine actor 
Peter, after he offered him £25 to voice a selection of words for Wallace.

Peter was really my only choice,” he said.