Neil Carter

Pigman Neil is down-to-earth and unpretentious.

Fact titleFact data
Played by:
Brian Hewlett
Born:
22 May 1957
Status:
Occupation:
Pigman
Lives at:
Ambridge View
Works at:
Willow Farm (keeps his pigs and hens on eight acres there)
Churchwarden of:
St Stephen's Church

He can be a little too down-to-earth for wife Susan, who still makes him remove shoes (and often mucky overalls) on entry to her pride and joy, Ambridge View.

He made a good job of building the house, even though he had to take a loan from then boss Tom Archer.

Principled and somewhat stubborn, it took him a long time to accept Ed Grundy as daughter Emma's partner. No such problem with son Christopher's wife Alice, although he's not always comfortable as an in-law of the wealthy Aldridges.

Read about the time Neil and Susan's marriage was threatened by that femme fatate in wellies Maureen (Mo) Travis.

Are you ringing this Sunday, Christopher?
Neil Carter
  • Likes - Bell ringing (he's the tower captain), cricket
  • Dislikes - Susan's snobbery
  • Highs - Being elected parish council chairman
  • Lows - The imprisonment of wife Susan in 1993 for harbouring her brother Clive Horrobin

Immediate family ties

Key relationships

Brian Hewlett

Interview: Brian looks back on 40 years as Neil

Born and educated in Henley-on-Thames, Brian received dramatic training at Rose Bruford College in south east London, and made his professional debut at The Mermaid Theatre, London, on Friday 13th November 1959 in Lock Up Your Daughters.

Brian's first appearance in The Archers was whilst he was with the BBC Drama Repertory Company. This was as young Johnny Martin in 1970.

In 1966 Brian had worked with Bob Arnold in a play called Storm Over Otmoor, and more than a year later, when the part of Neil Carter was being thought about as a newcomer to the Ambridge scene, Bob remembered Brian. He made a casting suggestion to Archers producer Tony Shryane, and Brian was engaged. After recording his first episode in February 1973 Tony hinted to Brian that "we might write Neil in for a few more episodes". The rest, as they say, is history.

Brian considers himself very much a jobbing actor. He has always managed to maintain a strong link with performing before the public in ways other than broadcasting, particularly on stage and occasionally on television.

Brian lives in a rural setting in an old farmhouse in Norfolk. It has been sometimes strangely coincidental that life in Ambridge has mirrored happenings in Brian's local village; a cider club, for example, and a millennium wood.

Other parts of Brian's life have included holiday trips to out of the way places where he can indulge his interests in viewing nature. He has visited Peru, several parts of the United States, Kenya, Rwanda and Australia.

Other career highlights

Working alongside many broadcasting and theatrical legends during the 60's and 70's.

Performing Amos Hart (Mr Cellophane) in the musical Chicago in 1980 at London's CambridgeTheatre.

Performing Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof at Ipswich and again at Hornchurch. The role is deeply satisfying and stretches one in all directions.

Also satisfying was to perform the role of Graham in A Chip in the Sugar (one of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads).

Archers highlights

I have always enjoyed any storyline that strongly engages my abilities as an actor to produce emotional responses from a listener, be they tears or laughter. Susan's term in prison and Emma's car accident are good examples.

Brian's thoughts on Neil

It’s time to uncover this other dimension in him
Brian Hewlett

Neil seems to have many laudable qualities which make him a decent person to know. He’s dependable and good-natured. I feel his sensitive, romantic nature has been submerged too long; it’s time to uncover this other dimension in him.

Favourite

  • Actor - Male (sadly now dead) - Paul Scofield. Compelling to watch. Inspiring. Exciting. Generous to others on stage. Male (happily very much alive) - Kenneth Branagh. An actor who enriches our profession. Female - Judi Dench. A perfect object lesson in the art of acting.
  • Book - I have enjoyed many, but no particular favourite - yet.
  • Film - From a long list of so many favourites I will select Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Clips