Balham, Gateway to the South
January 31, 2013 4:31 PM   Subscribe

Peter Sellers, best known for The Goons, Inspector Clouseau and Doctor Strangelove, also recorded sketches in the 1950s in which he supplied all of the voices. Probably best known is his spoof of the 1950s travelogue, the ode to South London's finest neighbourhood - Balham, Gateway to the South, but the rest is also worth a listen. posted by jontyjago (11 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Sellers also provided much of the voice of Humphrey Bogart in Beat the Devil, according to, among other sources, this metafilter thread.
posted by ubiquity at 5:29 PM on January 31, 2013

In a similarly ridiculous but entirely serious vein, Telly Savalas Looks at Birmingham
posted by Damienmce at 5:35 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]

Your list is missing the hilarious "She Loves You (Cockney Version)", amongst many others.

(Although it also contains a lot of crap, anyone who loves his work should grab the "A Celebration Of Sellers" 4 disc set)
posted by Pinback at 5:36 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

In a similarly ridiculous but entirely serious vein, Telly Savalas Looks at Birmingham

God, comedy sometimes can't hold a candle to things done with a straight face. (Bizarrely but irrelevantly, I jumped at the Rover SD1 police car with the old two-note siren. Incredible the things you can get nostalgic about. I still remember how modern they seemed at the time.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:59 PM on January 31, 2013

CBC used to play Sellers' record of BBC interviews with various characters. For some reason, this one about a guy who has fallen in love with a Webster's dictionary he uses for "pronounation" always stuck in my mind. (From memory, so probably not 100% accurate.)

"My wife, she loves The Webster's sir."


"Yes sir, we never 'ad no kids of our own."

"Well... Whose kids have you got then?"

"Ah... no one's, sir. No one's!"

"Why not?"

"It's... my wife. She's got bad legs, you know."

"What's wrong with them?"

"Nuffing. They're just fin, that's all. Fin."
("Thin" if you're not into that (I assume) East London accent.)

-- Peter Sellers, from the "Word pronounation" BBC interview.
posted by sneebler at 6:00 PM on January 31, 2013

LOLing at Telly/Birmingham. Can I get a British actor to narrate a view of the city of my youth? "Derek Jacobi: Finally, Fullerton!"

Peter Sellers died too young.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 6:54 PM on January 31, 2013

If you are a fan of Peter Sellers, look for Songs for Swingin' Sellers, an album of sketches; every voice his but one.
posted by jleisek at 9:06 PM on January 31, 2013

Sellers would be shocked to see Balham today. Of all the south London neighbourhoods to get gentrified, that would have been about the last I expected when I first moved to neighbouring Tooting, some thirty years ago now. Well, okay, Tooting, granted. And Stockwell. Yeah, fair point.
posted by Decani at 1:08 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I still love Peter when he recited the lyrics to "She Loves You" on Dr. Demento.
posted by stormpooper at 7:26 AM on February 1, 2013

Dr. Strangelove is totally worth watching for many reasons, but it is my belief that Sellers' ad-libbed delivery of the final line is quite possibly the best thing about that movie.

Also, these are great!
posted by mysterpigg at 9:28 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

As a kid living in England in the 50's, listening religiously to the Goon Show on the radio every week was obligatory. Retelling the jokes and doing the funny voices was the main activity at school the next day.
Peter Sellers - with Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe had us all in thrall.
Even the repeats were carefully attended to so we could get all the jokes,
and being able to do the the voices of the different characters was a hotly pursued goal.

Prince Charles was apparently proud of his Bluebottle voice.

This was before we had TV, at least in our house so the voices of Major Bloodnock. the Banerjees , Grytpipe Thynne et al. suffused my teenage years. Hilarious, it was - then.
The Running, Jumping. Standing Still Film even.

Songs for Swinging Sellers I havent heard for years - but find to my amazement/chagrin that I still know all the words for every song.

And we were really chuffed that he went later to America and did films and got famous.
He even dumped his frowsy suburban wife and got a leggy blond swedish girl, the jammy bastard - then everyone knew about him.

But even the crap films he was in were fun when you knew it was really just Bluebottle doing funny voices
posted by jan murray at 4:38 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

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