The Archers’ June Spencer retires aged 103 after 72 years on air as Peggy Woolley
After 72 years, the voice of The Archers’ Peggy Woolley has retired at the age of 103.
June Spencer, who made her first appearance on the Radio 4 soap in May 1950, was the only remaining member of the original cast – but has finally stepped down despite pleas from BBC bosses.
‘I’ve been trying to retire for at least a year,’ she told The Daily Telegraph.
‘They didn’t want to lose their character. Every time I tried to stop, they gave me more episodes.
‘The idea was that the country characters having to explain things to Peggy educated the listeners.’
Original star: June Spencer (pictured), the voice of Peggy Woolley in The Archers, was the only member of the original cast
Miss Spencer, whose husband Roger Brocksom died in 2001, has already taped her last episodes, which were broadcast on July 31.
They were recorded from a custom studio at her Surrey home, to save her commuting to the show’s Birmingham base.
Mrs Woolley has not been officially removed from the show, and Miss Spencer admitted she didn’t know how she would be written out.
Miss Spencer’s last episodes were broadcast on July 31. Pictured on the left in 1950 recording a pilot for The Archers and on the right in her current handout picture from 2010
‘The simplest thing is if [Peggy has] to fall or something and goes into The Laurels [the fictional Ambridge care home],’ she said.
‘She can languish for years there.’
The Duchess of Cornwall recently called Peggy Woolley a ‘national treasure’.