Monday 10 Mar 2014
Norman Painting – Philip Archer in The Archers since the programme's trial run in 1950 – has died aged 85.
He was also a script-writer on the programme, now broadcast on BBC Radio 4, from 1966 to 1982 and wrote 1,198 scripts.
Mark Thompson, BBC Director-General, said: "I am deeply saddened to hear of Norman's death.
"Norman chose to leave behind a promising career in academia at Oxford to devote 60 years in the service of BBC audiences.
"He rightly became renowned for his portrayal of Phil Archer, a role he created in the pilot episode in 1950, but he was also a gifted writer and talented versatile broadcaster.
"He was a pillar of The Archers family, but to millions of listeners he became a friend and latterly a wonderful father figure.
"His death leaves us with a great sense of loss but an even deeper feeling of gratitude for such a huge contribution to the BBC and its audiences over six decades."
Vanessa Whitburn, Editor of The Archers, said: " Norman was simply the consummate professional. He has played Phil since The Archers trial run at Whitsun in 1950.
"And, under his sure hand, Phil graduated seamlessly from young romantic hero, to serious farmer and father – holding Brookfield together in good times and bad, handing over the farm to eldest son David in 2001.
"Norman then gave us the delighted grandfather; enjoying astronomy with Daniel, music with Pip, and finally always there when needed, to give advice about farming methods of the past to son David.
"Norman always wanted to remain working on The Archers until he died – and I am delighted and proud of him that he achieved his wish."
Mark Damazer, Controller, Radio 4, said: "Norman Painting was for almost 60 years a central figure in one of Radio 4's hallmark programmes.
"As Phil Archer, he became a wonderful patriarch yet he had started decades earlier as a young romantic hero.
"His success was not due merely to longevity but to his passion for The Archers and his skill as a radio actor. He loved the medium.
"He will be deeply missed by the rest of The Archers team and his millions of fans."
Radio 4 Publicity
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