Legendary comedian Peter Sellers is to be the subject of an in-depth BBC Two single documentary from acclaimed factual producer Brook Lapping, whose credits include “Trump’s First 100 Days” and “The Rise and Fall of Tony Blair.”
Commissioned by BBC Arts, the 75-minute documentary has the working title of “Peter Sellers: A State Of Comic Ecstasy” and will uncover the comedian’s talent, but also the endless complexities of his personal life, from multiple marriages to his chronic health problems, petulant fits of rage, deep insecurity and the long slow decline in his later years.
Brook Lapping managing director Greg Sanderson said the Zinc Media-backed production company has secured “exceptional” access to Sellers’ friends and family, colleagues and critics, many of whom have never spoken before.
Born to vaudeville entertainers in 1925, Sellers spent his formative years backstage as part of his parents’ itinerant music hall revue group.
The film charts his meteoric rise to global superstardom, from BBC Radio comedy series “The Goon Show” to a worldwide audience through his many film roles, among them Chief Inspector Clouseau in “The Pink Panther” series.
His film credits also included Stanley Kubrick’s “Lolita” and “Dr. Strangelove,” “What’s New, Pussycat?” “Casino Royale,” “The Party” and “Being There.”
Sanderson said: “Forty years on from his death, our film reveals how Peter Sellers could play any role at all, apart from just one — himself. We are delighted to be able to bring so much new insight into the real Peter Sellers.”
Brook Lapping’s portfolio of high-end documentaries and biographical portraits also includes BBC Two’s “Evita: The Making of a Superstar” and ITV’s “Lord Lucan: My Husband, The Truth.”
“Peter Sellers: A State Of Comic Ecstasy” was commissioned by Mark Bell, commissioning editor for BBC Arts. It is executive produced by Sanderson for Brook Lapping at Zinc Media. John O’Rourke is the producer-director.
BBC Arts director Mark Bell said: “Peter Sellers had a profound impact on film and comedy, a genius as a performer but a mercurial personality; this in-depth look offers many revealing insights into his life and times, and I hope will offer an engaging diversion for people in lockdown.”