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Norman Painting, 1924 - 2009

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Steve Bowbrick Steve Bowbrick 16:00, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Norman Painting who played Phil Archer in The Archers

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


  • Comment number 1.

    I was still half asleep when the terribly sad news came on the radio by my bed - that sadness then followed me into my dreams as I dropped off to sleep again. It translated itself as a return to the time of my father's death a few years ago, a terrible loss which I still feel very keenly; I think that says something about my perception of Norman Painting - a man whom I knew only through his voice. I was born in the same year as The Archers and 'Phil' has been there with me all through the years. That delicious voice will be missed by so many of us, but will never, ever be forgotten. Thank you, Norman.

  • Comment number 2.

    A fine actor, he will be missed by millions.

  • Comment number 3.

    Born, as I was, in Warwickshire, close to Ambridge, and having been brought up with The Archers, not to mention the fact that I was named "Phil", I feel Norman's loss very deeply. Especially during my last 30 years or so living here in Tokyo, The Archers has brought me a deep sense of continuity with my roots. I feel, however, that although I have lost my fictional namesake, my imagined home folk will continue to interest and fascinate me. I only slightly remember Dan, so to me Phil was the patriarch; I hope David can take up the reins as succesfully.
    Tokyo Phil

  • Comment number 4.

    I was very sad to hear of 'Phil's' death and he'll be sorely missed. I've had much pleasure listening to my Ambridge family over many years and he has always been one of the best loved characters and one of the nicest!

  • Comment number 5.

    I too have been brought up with the Archers, as children we could not listen to Journey into Space if we had been noisy whilst they were on and have followed them all my life since, so feel that Norman/Phil was an honoury uncle and followed his life through all it's ups and downs. He really put life into the character and became him. My thoughts are with his fellow cast members especially those who have been his family as they must be feeling as if they have lost a much loved Husband/Father/Brother our only consolation must be that he died doing what he loved and is now out of his earthly pain and has gone where life is eternal.

  • Comment number 6.

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

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

    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

  • Comment number 9.

    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...

  • Comment number 10.

    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.

  • Comment number 11.

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

  • Comment number 12.

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

  • Comment number 13.

    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

  • Comment number 14.

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

  • Comment number 15.

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


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