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Peter Barkworth
Peter Barkworth.jpg
Born(1929-01-14)14 January 1929
Margate, Kent, England
Died21 October 2006(2006-10-21) (aged 77)
Hampstead, London, England
Years active1952–1997

Peter Wynn Barkworth (14 January 1929 – 21 October 2006)[1] was an English actor. He twice won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor; for Crown Matrimonial in 1975 and for Professional Foul and The Country Party in 1978. He also starred in the ITV series Manhunt (1970) and the BBC series Telford's Change (1979). His film appearances included Where Eagles Dare (1968), Patton (1970), International Velvet (1978) and Champions (1984).

Early life

Peter Barkworth was born 14 January 1929[2] at Margate, Kent. Soon after his birth, the family moved to Bramhall in Cheshire and Barkworth was educated at Stockport School. His headmaster wanted him to go to university but Barkworth had set his heart on a career in acting. In 1946 he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). He spent the next few years in repertory in Folkestone, with the Arthur Brough company, and also in Sheffield. From the mid-1950s to the early 1960s he taught acting technique at RADA.

Acting career

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Television and film appearances followed over four decades. He is perhaps best remembered for playing Mark Telford in the TV series Telford's Change (1979),[3] watched every week by seven million viewers. This series followed the life of a senior banking executive as he downsized to Dover to start his life over again, leaving his wife in London. Barkworth co-starred with Hannah Gordon, with Keith Barron as her seducer.


Barkworth twice won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor, in 1975 for Crown Matrimonial (1974) and in 1978 for his roles in Professional Foul and The Country Party (both 1977). His character in the 1965 boardroom drama The Power Game was a recurring role. He also appeared in the 1970s series ‘’The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes’’ as Martin Hewitt.

In 1967 he appeared in various episodes of The Avengers and also had a part in the Doctor Who serial The Ice Warriors as Leader Clent. From January until June 1970, he appeared in a leading role as Vincent in the World War II drama series Manhunt on LWT. He featured in an episode of sci-fi drama Undermind (1965), and the dystopian The Guardians (1971), and starred in the mystery mini-series Melissa (1974) as an out of work writer whose wife goes missing. Barkworth also played the expatriate British novelist Hugh Neville in the episodes Guilt and Lost Sheep of Secret Army (1977).

Later TV included the part of Stanley Baldwin in Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years (1981), and the serials The Price (1985) and Late Starter (also 1985) in both of which he played angst-filled, middle-aged, middle class characters beset by marital problems in the context respectively of a kidnapping and the early retirement of an academic.[4] Both these series and Telford's Change were based on Barkworth's original ideas. In 1988 Barkworth had a leading guest role in the fourth season Sherlock Holmes adaptation of the Arthur Conan Doyle story "Silver Blaze." In one of his last roles, he starred opposite his former RADA student Michael Gambon in the 1993 episode "Maigret and the Minister" of ITV's Maigret series.[5]


Back on the stage, Barkworth appeared in numerous plays in the West End, notably as Edward VIII in Royce Ryton's Crown Matrimonial starring alongside Wendy Hiller at the Haymarket Theatre in 1972, a role which he repeated on TV two years later.[6][7] He also devised a one-man show based on the work of Siegfried Sassoon.[8]


His film career began in 1959 with A Touch of Larceny. He had subsequent roles in No Love for Johnnie (1961), Two a Penny (1967), Where Eagles Dare (1968), Patton (1970), Escape from the Dark (1976), International Velvet (1978) and Champions (1983). His last appearance was in the film Wilde in 1997.[4] He then retired from acting.

The arts

Barkworth was a member of the Council at RADA for 16 years during the 1980s and 1990s. His book About Acting – formerly titled The Complete About Acting – is often recommended reading for students and professional actors alike. He also edited For All Occasions: A Selection of Poems, Prose and Party Pieces (1997).[9] He was an avid collector of mainly British art. He left his collection of paintings to the National Trust and they are displayed at Fenton House in Hampstead. The works include two small Constables, several paintings by artists from the Camden Town Group, and many watercolours.

Personal life

Barkworth lived in Hampstead for many years, and died at the Royal Free Hospital in London of bronchopneumonia 10 days after suffering a stroke. He never married.[10]


In The Sunday Times, John Peter wrote:

Peter Barkworth: an actor of the utmost skill and refinement, whose physical control and spiritual awareness has always had a jewel-like gleam and precision.

Stockport College has a theatre named after him.[11]



Year Title Role Notes
1953 Malta Story Cypher Clerk Uncredited
1954 You Know What Sailors Are Naval Lieutenant Uncredited
1956 South Sea Bubble Captain Christopher Mortlock TV film
1960 A Touch of Larceny Sub Lieutenant Brown
1961 No Love for Johnnie Henderson
Seven Keys Estate Agent
No My Darling Daughter Charles
1962 Tiara Tahiti Lieutenant David Harper
Play It Cool Skinner
1963 The Cool Mikado Fanshawe Uncredited
1964 Downfall Tom Cotterell
1965 You Must Be Joking! Television Studio Director Uncredited
1967 Two a Penny Vicar
1968 Where Eagles Dare Berkeley
1970 Patton Colonel John Welkin
1972 Who Sunk the Lusitania? Captain Turner of the Lusitania TV film
1973 The Love Ban Bra Factory Director
1974 Crown Matrimonial King Edward VIII TV film
Intent to Murder George Bates TV film
1976 Escape from the Dark Richard Sandman
1978 International Velvet Pilot
1983 The Secret Adversary Mr. Carter TV film
1984 Champions Nick Embiricos
1997 Wilde Charles Gill


Year Title Role Notes
1952 BBC Sunday Night Theatre Captain Horace Parkes Episode: "Adam's Apple"
1955 ITV Television Playhouse Lieutenant Shirley Episode: "Quay South"
1957 ITV Play of the Week Edgar Episode: "Venus Observed"
1960 Maigret Sergeant Episode: "A Man of Quality"
1961 The Dickie Henderson Show Episode: "The Move"
Tales of Mystery Gerald Episode: "The Woman's Ghost Story"
ITV Television Playhouse Ernest Harper Episode: "The Portrait"
M. Loiseau Episode: "Boule de Suif"
BBC Sunday-Night Play Charles Darwin Episode: "Fury in Petticoats"
Maurice Liddell Episode: "The Big Noise"
1963 No Hiding Place Johnnie Miller Episode: "Four Faces of Clare"
About Religion Introduction Episode: "Epilepsy"
The Scales of Justice Robbins Episode: "Position of Trust"
Emergency Ward 10 Jack Denbigh Recurring role
ITV Play of the Week Frank Episode: "The Heart of the Country"
James Stack Episode: "The Finambulists"
1964 Reverend Bennett Episode: "Tarnish on a Golden Boy"
Edgar Wallace Mysteries Tom Cotterell Episode: "Downfall"
The Protectors Tilsworth Episode:"The Deadly Chameleon"
Detective Detective Inspector Christopher Smith Episode: "The Hungry Spider"
Love Story Umberman Episode: "I Love, You Love, We Love"
1965 Public Eye Eric Hart Episode: "Nobody Kills Santa Claus"
Front Page Story Ian Westley Episode: "Official Opening"
The Sullavan Brothers Peter Roman Episode: "The Corrupters"
Undermind Victor Liberton Episode: "Intent to Destroy"
Armchair Theatre Driving Instructor Episode: "The Keys of the Cafe"
1965–1969 The Plane Makers Kenneth Bligh Series regular
1967 ITV Play of the Week Robert Episode: "A Roof Over Our Mouths"
Half Hour Story Jimmy Halliwell-Holmes Episode: "Wedlock"
Haunted Reverend Vernon Gates Episode: "Many Happy Returns"
The Gamblers Wyndham Episode: "My Dear Sirs"
The Revenue Men Captain Brett Episode: "The Exile"
Doctor Who Clent Episode: "The Ice Warriors"
Thirty-Minute Theatre Eric Episode: "Turn Off If You Know the Ending"
1968 A Man of our Times Roberts 2 episodes
The First Lady Bailey Episode: "Upset"
Ooh La La! Le Compte Emile Episode: "The Missing Person"
Frontier Mortimer Berkeley Episode: "A Little Before His Time"
The Sex Game Simon Episode: "A Quartet at Sheila's"
Thirty-Minute Theatre Frank Cross Episode: "A Matter of Principle"
1969 The Wednesday Play Dr. George Mackintosh Episode: "Doctor Atkinson's Daughter"
The Avengers Merlin Episode: "The Morning After"
The Expert Williams Episode: "The Yellow Torrish"
W. Somerset Maugham Mr. Jephson Episode: "P. and O."
Special Project Air Wing Commander Routledge Episode: "Project Singapore"
Out of the Unknown Stephen Episode: "Get Off My Cloud"
ITV Playhouse Keith Bailey Episode: "End of Story"
1970 Manhunt Vincent Series regular
Armchair Theatre Bob Episode: "The Company Man"
1971 Thirty-Minute Theatre Tom Harris Episode: "Asquith in Orbit."
Paul Temple Springett Episode: "Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?"
Shadows of Fear John Dolby Episode: "Come Into My Parlour"
Out of the Unknown Dr. Philimore Episode: "To Lay a Ghost"
Crime of Passion Roland Episode: "Roland"
Armchair Theatre Dickie Episode: "Office Party"
The Guardians Quarmby Episode: "The Dirtiest Man in the World"
The Passenger Detective Inspector Marin Denson Mini-series
The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes Martin Hewitt 2 episodes
BBC Play of the Month Tsar Nicholas II Episode: "Rasputin"
1972 The Man Outside Major Richard Grimsby Episode: "The Birdwatcher"
Dead of Night Captain Rolph Episode: "Return Flight"
Colditz Brauner Episode: "The Spirit of Freedom"
ITV Playhouse Nicolas Randolph Episode: "Dear Octopus"
BBC Play of the Month Julius Sagamore Episode: "The Millionairess"
1973 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Mr. Bell Episode: "The Regulars"
1974 Good Girl Eustace Morrow Series regular
Melissa Guy Foster Mini-seroes
Ombinus The Doctor Episode: "Joseph Conrad"
1975 Thomas Mann Episode: "Thomas Mann: The Fight Against Death"
Play for Today Richard Elkinson Episode: "The Saturday Party"
BBC Play of the Month Prime Minister Joe Proteus Episode: "The Apple Cart"
Earl of Rintoul Episode: "The Little Minister"
1976 Red Letter Day Gilbert Episode: "The Five Pound Orange"
BBC2 Playhouse Lawrence Episode: "An Accident of Class and Sex"
1977 Three Piece Suite Cast Member Segment: "Briefer Encounter"
BBC2 Play of the Week Anderson Episode: "Professional Foul"
Secret Army Hugh Neville 2 episodes
1978 The Lively Arts Josef Von Spaun Episode: "Schubert: A Winter's Journey"
1979 Telford's Change Mark Telford Series regular
Jackanory Storyteller Recurring role
1980 The Morecambe & Wise Show Self/Hamlet Episode: "1980 Christmas Show"
1981 Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years Stanley Baldwin Mini-series
1982 Tales of the Unexpected Richard Mellor Episode: "What Have You Been up to Lately?
1985 The Price Geoffrey Carr Mini-series
Late Starter Edward Brett Series regular
1987 London Embassy Sir Charles Smallwood Episode: "The Man on the Clapham Omnibus"
1988 The Return of Sherlock Holmes Colonel Ross Episode: "Silver Blaze"
1993 Maigret The Minister Episode: "Maigret and the Minister"
Heartbeat Frank Milner Episode: "End of the Line"


  1. ^ The Daily Telegraph Issue 47,338 (16 August 2007) p28 reported that he left estate valued at £2,256,862 and a collection of paintings and drawings to the National Trust
  2. ^ "Peter Barkworth, star of 'The Power Game' and 'Telford's Change' who enjoyed a prolific career on stage and small screen". The Independent. 25 October 2006. Retrieved 14 January 2023.
  3. ^ Trewin, Wendy (26 October 2006). "Peter Barkworth obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Peter Barkworth". BFI.
  5. ^ ""Maigret" Maigret and the Minister (TV Episode 1993) - IMDb" – via
  6. ^ "Production of Crown Matrimonial | Theatricalia".
  7. ^ "Crown Matrimonial (1974)". BFI.
  8. ^ "Production of Siegfried Sassoon | Theatricalia".
  9. ^ Anthony, Hayward (24 October 2006). "Peter Barkworth Obituary". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  10. ^ "Peter Barkworth Obituary". The Telegraph. 26 October 2006. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  11. ^ Stockport College website[permanent dead link],; accessed 12 December 2015.