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Margot Boyd

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Tribute paid to Margot Boyd of The Archers


The distinguished actress Margot Boyd, who played Mrs Antrobus for 20 years in BBC Radio 4's The Archers, died today at the age of 94.

 

Margot Boyd, who was born Beryl Billings on 24 September 1913, was brought up in Bath in Somerset.

 

Before making the role of countrywoman Mrs Antrobus her own, her career had saw her work with some of the great names of theatre and film including George Bernard Shaw, Noel Coward, Michael Redgrave, Vivian Leigh, James Stewart and Kenneth More.

 

Vanessa Whitburn, Editor of The Archers, said: "Margot Boyd joined The Archers in 1984 as the robust Mrs Antrobus who bred Afghan hounds and became a popular and much admired character in the series for 20 years.

 

"I greatly enjoyed working with Margot, she was always a consummate professional who had enjoyed a distinguished theatrical and film career as well as a long career in radio drama.

 

"My thoughts and best wishes are with her family and friends at this sad time."

 

Margot Boyd attended RADA where she found herself in a play produced by George Bernard Shaw whom she found "wonderful" and "very encouraging".

 

When she left RADA she got a job in rep at Leeds Theatre Royal, twice nightly playing a leading lady. She recalled it never seemed to involve a part under the age of 55 but it gave her the opportunity to play in all the productions from the West End.

 

In 1984, while working for the BBC Radio Drama Company, Margot was given a small one-off part in The Archers and made such a success of it that she was written into the programme as a regular character.

 

Marjorie Antrobus lived in Waterley Cross and gave a talk to The Over-60s club in Ambridge. Her subject was "The Colourful World of the Afghan Hound".

 

The talk was so well appreciated that she was asked back to open the village fete in July – when she gave another talk on dogs and from which she acquired the nickname of "The Dog woman".

 

Marjorie was so at home in Ambridge that she moved into Nightingale Farm in February 1988, where she lived until her move into the nursing home The Laurels in 2002.

 

Marjorie was last heard on The Archers in The Omnibus that was transmitted on 19 September 2004.

 

Margot Boyd
Margot Boyd in Our Miss Pemberton, a BBC Television programme from 1956

 

Margot Boyd always said that most of her major career moves had been down to luck.

 

After working with Michael Redgrave in Stratford in 1953, he put on Noel Coward's Waiting In The Wings and Margot was given the leading role.

 

When the production moved to Dublin, Coward – already in his late sixties – was there for four weeks and the two became firm friends.

 

Her other credits include her own series Our Miss Pemberton in the early days of television; Middlemarch; Dixon Of Dock Green with Jack Warner; and The Forty Nine Steps with Kenneth More.

 

Margot Boyd died at Denville Hall, Northwood, Middlesex.

 

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Category: Radio 4
Date: 20.05.2008
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