Computer says no: HSBC to shut Belsize Park bank that ‘inspired’ Little Britain sketch

PUBLISHED: 13:00 28 March 2014

David Walliams as Carol Beer in the famous 'Computer Says No' sketch. Picture: BBC/Mike Hogan

David Walliams as Carol Beer in the famous 'Computer Says No' sketch. Picture: BBC/Mike Hogan

BBC/Mike Hogan

It was the setting for the famous “computer says no” sketch in hit BBC comedy show Little Britain.

HSBC in Belsize Park as it appears in Little BritainHSBC in Belsize Park as it appears in Little Britain

Now, in a case of life imitating art (sort of), customers at HSBC in Belsize Park are set to be confronted with one final rejection – after bosses announced the closure of the branch.

Residents have this week been informed that the Haverstock Hill bank will shut its doors on June 13, with plummeting footfall being blamed by bosses.

HSBC told customers that, while “decisions like this are never easy”, the branch has suffered due to the shifting habits of account holders, who are increasingly relying on telephone or internet banking.

For anyone unfamiliar with the sketch, it starred David Walliams as a supremely unhelpful customer services officer, Carol Beer, who would respond to any requests by tapping on her keyboard and announcing “computer says no” – before coughing in the customer’s face.

HSBC in Haverstock Hill was used for the external shots, though the bank’s name was changed to MidWest.

With David Walliams living in Belsize Park, and Little Britain producer Geoff Posner a former resident, cynical souls may suspect the branch served as more than just a location.

A 40-year-old HSBC customer from Belsize Park Gardens told Heathman: “I’m not surprised it’s shutting. It was only open until 3pm and there were only one or two counters open. They’ve obviously not invested in it.

“I did wonder if it was also the inspiration for the Little Britain sketch.”

He added: “The computer clearly has said no.”

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