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23/10/2017
BBC Radio 4

Recording Jack Woolley's birthday scenes

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One of the lovely things about being part of The Archers team is that we work with talented actors of all ages. Some of them would have been long retired if they had been in other occupations, but it's great that they are still working, and able to deliver excellent performances.

As an actor gets older, they may find it difficult to get to our studios in Birmingham, and so sometimes we make arrangements to record at their home. We did this on several occasions with Bob Arnold, who played the part of gamekeeper Tom Forrest until his death at the age of 87.

Today (19 July 2011) marks Jack Woolley's 92nd birthday, and as it's been some time since we heard Jack speak we were keen to hear his voice again in the programme. Caroline Harrington wrote a couple of lovely scenes set at The Laurels and to make it as easy as possible for Arnold Peters - who has played Jack for over 30 years and who is now 87 - we recorded them at his home.

Naturally the scenes also featured Jack's wife Peggy, played by June Spencer - who recently celebrated her 91st birthday!

June, studio manager Michael Harrison and I made the trip in May. We had a very happy and relaxed morning, and it didn't take long for Arnold to fall back into the role of Jack, giving a very moving performance with June about his birthday celebrations.

Rosemary Watts is a producer on The Archers.

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