Peter Sellers: A State of Comic Ecstasy, review – an affectionate portrait of an infuriating genius

Sometimes the viewer can feel a bit short-changed when a documentary relies heavily on archive footage. Not in the case of Peter Sellers: A State of Comic Ecstasy (BBC Two), which was gloriously rich in the stuff.

Here was Sellers with the gorgeous Britt Ekland on their wedding day, messing around on stage with his fellow Goons, laughing helplessly on the phone with Spike Milligan. Here he was in a press conference to promote one of his films, answering claims that he was difficult to work with: “I’m not difficult at all. I just cannot take mediocrity.” And in TV interviews, discussing his own character flaws with remarkable candour. “You could say, ‘Successful millionaire, three beautiful children, my health, all these material things around me – why aren’t you happy?’” Why indeed?…

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