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Editor's note. I asked Vanessa Whitburn, Editor of The Archers, for some words about Norman Painting, who died today:

The sad news about the death of Norman Painting is only a few hours old; and already messages of love and condolence have been pouring in from friends and fans alike. They are a tribute to the man who made the part of Phil Archer very much his own; and has been an integral part of The Archers for almost 60 years.

My own memories of Norman are of a colleague, and a trusted friend. In the 1970s, when I was a rookie producer, I remember him taking me out for a meal, to talk to me about what it was like being an actor, and on 'the other side' of the mic. It was a generous gesture for someone like me to be given such a master class by one of radio's biggest stars - and his advice stays with me today.

I take such comfort from the fact that Norman got his wish, and continued playing the part for which he was so well loved, right up until the end of his life. Norman was with us at The Mailbox only two days ago, recording with Patricia Greene, transforming studio 9D into the kitchen at Glebe Cottage. Norman was always glad to be in studio, and it is testament to his love of his work that, however he was feeling, once the script was in his hand, he became Phil Archer. He and Paddy even enjoyed a joke about the mischievous side of Phil and Jill's relationship, with Norman insisting that he was still scared of Paddy whenever he thought Jill was being a little too fierce!

The Archers - actors, production team and fans, will miss Norman terribly. I am thankful for his wonderful contribution to the programme, and also for his friendship over many years.

Vanessa Whitburn is Editor of The Archers

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  • Comment number 15. Posted by jeff

    on 24 Dec 2009 16:41

    This comment was removed because it broke the house rules. Explain

  • Comment number 14. Posted by ilovewallingford

    on 1 Nov 2009 10:13

    Farewell Norman,we'll miss your calming mellifluous voice.

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  • Comment number 13. Posted by rdmstff

    on 31 Oct 2009 13:44

    I have listened to the Archers since it came on I think following Dick Barton.
    Please don't try and replace him it never works
    I feel we will all miss this great actor

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  • Comment number 12. Posted by Rabbit B

    on 31 Oct 2009 00:05

    I have listened to the programme since it started.
    Norman Painting will be sadly missed, he was the voice of Ambridge

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  • Comment number 11. Posted by jenrouge

    on 30 Oct 2009 17:53

    Followed the Archers all my life, Phil was always such a lovely voice
    He will be really missed

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  • Comment number 10. Posted by missprufrock

    on 30 Oct 2009 17:13

    So sad to read of Norman Painting's death.....he will be greatly missed...part of my childhood
    from the beginning of the Archer's. It is like losing a very old friend. Sincere condolences to all
    his family and friends.

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  • Comment number 9. Posted by KRMiller

    on 30 Oct 2009 16:35

    To the cast members of The Archers and friends of Norman, we send our heartfelt condolences. My wife, Louise and I enjoy The Archers tremendously and are especially fond of several characters and Norman's Phil was certainly one of those.

    'Phil' rest in peace up among the stars you so enjoyed looking at these past couple of years...

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  • Comment number 8. Posted by Kevin

    on 30 Oct 2009 16:27

    I moved to Canada two years ago and have just logged on to listen to the archers and was very sad to learn of the death of Norman Painting. I started listening to the Archers when I got my first Wireless Radio, I just happened to stumble upon it. I was eleven years old. I am now forty seven and still an avid listener. I don't like to think of the actors on the archers as characters, but more as old friends, and Phil Archer was one of them. I shall miss his voice, his character and his friendship...I wish to pass my sincere condolenses to his family, and of course all his friends at the archers. Thank you, Kevin

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  • Comment number 7. Posted by ladyhedgehog

    on 30 Oct 2009 14:41

    So sad - I have known "Phil" for fifty four years. He was one of my top ten favourite Archers characters ...

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  • Comment number 6. Posted by theoxtish

    on 30 Oct 2009 13:23

    Really sorry to hear the news. Norman and Phil will be mised.

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