June Spencer: The Archers star retires at age 103

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June Spencer is the last surviving original actress from the BBC Radio 4 production

June Spencer, the final original actor in the BBC Radio 4 production The archersHe is retiring at the age of 103, it has been announced.

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In a statement, Spencer said: “In 1950 I helped plant an acorn. It took root and was planted out and named in January 1951 The archers.

‘Over the years it has developed magnificently and has become a magnificent large tree with many branches. But now that old branch known as Peggy has become weak and insecure, so I decided it’s high time she “buyed it out,” so I duly looped her.”

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That’s all you need to know.

Who is June Spencer?

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Spencer is an English actress best known as Peggy Woolley The archersalthough some may also recognize them by their performances hymns of praise, culprits and doctors.

Born in Nottingham on June 14, 1919, she developed an affinity for theater at an early age. While she was initially drawn to dancing, she decided to pursue acting at age 12 – something her parents weren’t keen on.

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June Spencer is the last surviving member of the original cast of The Archers (Picture: BBC/The Archers)

chat with the Independently In 2010, Spencer said her parents would not let her sit the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art scholarship exams.

She said: “I don’t think my mum wanted me to address that. I think she thought I was falling for a bad lot.

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“When I finally got in [to the theatre]she said, “Well, I suppose it was inevitable.”

Spencer joined an amateur drama society where she studied for her London Guildhall School of Music and Drama certificate.

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Spencer has received a number of awards throughout her career. She was made an OBE in 1991 and later received a second award from the Queen in the 2017 Birthday Honors List for services to drama and charity.

Her role as Peggy has made June Spencer the second oldest actress to appear on a soap opera, worldwide and in any medium (Picture: BBC/The Archers)

In 2010 she was made a Freeman of the City of London, the same year she published her autobiography The Road to Ambridge: My Life, Peggy and the Archers.

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A few years later, in 2012, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the University of Nottingham for her services to broadcasting.

Spencer also received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 BBC Audio Drama Awards.

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Is she married – does she have children?

In 1942 Spencer married her husband Roger Brocksom. The couple had first met in 1936 when they were both 17 years old.

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In her book The Street of AmbridgeSpencer described Brocksom as “a light-haired, blue-eyed boy with a cheeky grin.”

She wrote: “I remember telling him haughtily that I would be his girlfriend for the duration of the holidays but after that we would break up. I couldn’t stand holiday romances that fizzled out in winter!

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“But somehow he always seemed to be there. Although his home was in Grimsby, where his father was a schoolmaster, he soon attended Nottingham University before enlisting in the army.

“His perseverance finally paid off when he went on vacation and proposed, although it wasn’t exactly romantic.

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“He said, ‘How would you feel if you were married to a second lieutenant?’ I replied, ‘I wouldn’t mind if it were you.’

“It took a few weeks before we were officially engaged because he had to save up for the ring.”

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Spencer and Brocksom remained together until he died in 2001 at the age of 81 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

She and Brocksom adopted two children, first their son David and 30 months later their daughter Ros.

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David died of alcoholism in 2006 at the age of 55. David was a classical ballet dancer but was unable to recover from his career due to back problems and the loss of his dance partner who left him for someone else.

Spencer the Times: “It was a mixture of losing his career, his wife – because she left with another young dancer – and his little daughter, whom he adored, and his home.

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He just lost everything. It broke his heart and he couldn’t deal with it.”

How long has she been with The Archers?

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Spencer is one of the original cast members of The archers and has been on the show since 1950.

She appeared as Peggy in The archers Rehearsals in 1950 before then joining the cast for the program’s first official episode on January 1, 1951. Spencer told the BBC the job actually came as a surprise when she found out about the role “standing in line in the BBC canteen for lunch” while working on another show.

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June Spencer as Peggy Archer and Denis Folwell as her husband Jack Archer (Picture: BBC/The Archers)

In conversation with the BBC When she landed the part, Spencer said that she and her cast members were put through their paces before they even taped a single episode.

She said: “We got together and said you’re going to be interviewed without a script and that’s it Rhona Shennan Godfrey Basely did.

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“He said, ‘This isn’t a drama program, it’s real life overheard.’

When she first started on the show, she actually played two roles – alongside Peggy Woolley (née Perkins, formerly Archer), she also starred as Rita Flynn, an Irish baker.

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While Spencer has played the role of Peggy for over 60 years, she retired from the show and the character for a number of years.

The cast of radio show ‘The Archers’ celebrate 21 years on the air, UK, 30th November 1971. The line-up includes cast members Chris Gittins, Leslie Dunn, Patricia Greene, Philip Garston-Jones, Norman Painting, Ysanne Churchman, Edgar Harrison , Anne Cullen, June Spencer, Pauline Seville, Colin Skipp, Jack Holloway, Bob Arnold, Alaric Cotter, Judy Bennett, Gwen Berryman, Angela Piper, Jeremy Mason, Elizabeth Marlowe, Alan Devereux, Julia Mark and producer Tony Shryane. (Photo by Victor Blackman/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

She originally played Peggy for three years beginning in 1950 when the show began, but took a break to take care of her family. Thelma Rogers took over the role for seven years, until she decided to leave the show to return to the stage in 1961, and Spencer reprized her role as Peggy.

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Her stint as Peggy makes Spencer the second longest-running actor on a soap opera, worldwide and in any medium, surpassed only by her peer The archers Star Lesley Saweard as Christine Barford. Spencer’s 65 total years as Peggy are matched only by Saweard’s 67 years as Christine.

What did she say about her retirement?

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Spencer has said her retirement is a long time coming, explaining that she’s been trying to leave the show for “at least a year.”

She said: “They didn’t want to lose the character. Every time I tried to quit, they gave me more episodes.”

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Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and June Spencer cut an Archers cake during a celebration of The Archers’ 70th Anniversary at Clarence House on December 7, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Kate Green-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Jeremy Howe, Editor of The archerssaid: “I think working with June Spencer has been one of the greatest privileges of my many decades in drama.

“Your Peggy is one of the great creations of broadcasting – utterly charming, utterly ruthless, sharp as a knife and witty in spades.

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“To think June has ruled the airwaves over an Archers career spanning 70+ years is incredible.”

When does she retire?

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Spencer’s final performance as Peggy aired during Sunday’s Omnibus when she discussed commissioning a stained glass window of her two great-grandchildren.

She told that telegraph that their last few episodes were recorded by a recording studio that the producers did at their home, like the trip from Surrey to Birmingham, where The archers Headquarters had become too much.

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She said: “David Troughton [who plays Tony Archer] came down and we shot that last scene together and then they packed up and went home.

From the looks of it, however, Peggy hasn’t been written out of the show just yet, meaning the writers will have to deal with her off-screen exit.

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Spencer shared her own ideas on how best to deal with writing Peggy off the archers, say they don’t have to “kill” them.

She said: “The simplest thing is if [Peggy has] a fall or something and goes to The Laurels [a fictional care home in Ambridge].

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“She can languish there for years.”

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