Obituary: Arnold Peters, actor

Arnold Peters with June Spencer, who plays his wife, Peggy, in the radio soap. Picture: PA
Arnold Peters with June Spencer, who plays his wife, Peggy, in the radio soap. Picture: PA
Share this article
Have your say

Born: 1925, in Wollaston, Northamptonshire. Died: 11 May, 2013, in Northamptonshire, aged 87.

Veteran actor Arnold Peters, who was known for his role as Jack Woolley in The Archers for more than 30 years, has died at the age of 87.

Peters also played the doting, sweet-giving grandfather in the Werther’s Originals television advertisements.

His appearances on the BBC Radio 4 show spanned almost 60 years. He first joined the cast in 1953 and played two other characters before signing up to play Jack.

Peters died after suffering from Alzheimer’s, a disease which also affected his character – although he continued to perform until July 2011 despite the condition.

His family said he died on Saturday at a home in Northamptonshire.

Peters was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s shortly after his character began to suffer from the condition but, despite the toll it was taking on his memory, he was able to continue acting and was said to “come to life” in front of a microphone.

Peters’ parents were huge theatre fans and would stage their own mini productions at home in which, as a child, he would feature, and he too got the performing bug.

He formed a dance band at school and, after his RAF service, he went into rep in Northampton, working there for five years. Peters’ first broadcast was for the BBC’s Children’s Hour and he went on to land a place at the BBC Drama Repertory Company, based in Birmingham. June Spencer, who played his wife, Peggy, in the radio soap said: “Arnold and I worked together many times, long before The Archers started. I have really happy memories of the Children’s Hour pantomimes we were both in together.

“They were great fun to do. Arnold was very versatile. I remember in one he played the villain and the hero. He did a lot of work producing shows for local amateur dramatic societies. He was a country dance caller, and a drummer in a band. He was very active, all the time, whether it was for charity or professionally.”

“When he took over the role of Jack he picked up the threads very quickly and we worked together very happily for many years.”

Jack, a self-made businessman, was an established character when Peters took over from the previous actor, Philip Garston-Jones.

Over the years he acquired Grey Gables, the Ambridge Village Shop and Post Office, Jaxx Cafe, Ambridge Cricket Ground, Arkwright Hall and Keeper’s Cottage and he was a major shareholder in the local paper, the Borchester Echo.

When Jack married Peggy in 1991 his beloved Staffordshire bull terrier Captain was guest of honour, with the pet wearing a Prussian blue bow tie which matched the bride’s outfit.

Jack moved into The Laurels care home in the series in 2009.

Arnold Peters is survived by his wife Beryl, their daughter Caroline and two granddaughters, Abigail and Polly.