Peter Barkworth

Last updated

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
Occupation Actor
Years active19521997

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

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]



1953 Malta Story Cypher ClerkUncredited
1954 You Know What Sailors Are Naval LieutenantUncredited
1956 South Sea Bubble Captain Christopher MortlockTV 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 FanshaweUncredited
1964DownfallTom Cotterell
1965 You Must Be Joking! Television Studio DirectorUncredited
1967 Two a Penny Vicar
1968 Where Eagles Dare Berkeley
1970 Patton Colonel John Welkin
1972Who Sunk the Lusitania?Captain Turner of the LusitaniaTV film
1973 The Love Ban Bra Factory Director
1974Crown MatrimonialKing Edward VIIITV film
Intent to MurderGeorge BatesTV film
1976 Escape from the Dark Richard Sandman
1978 International Velvet Pilot
1983 The Secret Adversary Mr. CarterTV film
1984 Champions Nick Embiricos
1997 Wilde Charles Gill


1952 BBC Sunday Night Theatre Captain Horace ParkesEpisode: "Adam's Apple"
1955ITV Television PlayhouseLieutenant ShirleyEpisode: "Quay South"
1957 ITV Play of the Week EdgarEpisode: "Venus Observed"
1960 Maigret SergeantEpisode: "A Man of Quality"
1961 The Dickie Henderson Show Episode: "The Move"
Tales of Mystery GeraldEpisode: "The Woman's Ghost Story"
ITV Television PlayhouseErnest HarperEpisode: "The Portrait"
M. LoiseauEpisode: "Boule de Suif"
BBC Sunday-Night Play Charles DarwinEpisode: "Fury in Petticoats"
Maurice LiddellEpisode: "The Big Noise"
1963 No Hiding Place Johnnie MillerEpisode: "Four Faces of Clare"
About Religion IntroductionEpisode: "Epilepsy"
The Scales of Justice RobbinsEpisode: "Position of Trust"
Emergency Ward 10 Jack DenbighRecurring role
ITV Play of the Week FrankEpisode: "The Heart of the Country"
James StackEpisode: "The Finambulists"
1964Reverend BennettEpisode: "Tarnish on a Golden Boy"
Edgar Wallace Mysteries Tom CotterellEpisode: "Downfall"
The Protectors TilsworthEpisode:"The Deadly Chameleon"
DetectiveDetective Inspector Christopher SmithEpisode: "The Hungry Spider"
Love Story UmbermanEpisode: "I Love, You Love, We Love"
1965 Public Eye Eric HartEpisode: "Nobody Kills Santa Claus"
Front Page StoryIan WestleyEpisode: "Official Opening"
The Sullavan Brothers Peter RomanEpisode: "The Corrupters"
Undermind Victor LibertonEpisode: "Intent to Destroy"
Armchair Theatre Driving InstructorEpisode: "The Keys of the Cafe"
1965–1969 The Plane Makers Kenneth BlighSeries regular
1967 ITV Play of the Week RobertEpisode: "A Roof Over Our Mouths"
The Avengers PercyEpisode: "The Correct Way to Kill"
Half Hour StoryJimmy Halliwell-HolmesEpisode: "Wedlock"
Haunted Reverend Vernon GatesEpisode: "Many Happy Returns"
The GamblersWyndhamEpisode: "My Dear Sirs"
The Revenue Men Captain BrettEpisode: "The Exile"
Doctor Who ClentEpisode: "The Ice Warriors"
Thirty-Minute Theatre EricEpisode: "Turn Off If You Know the Ending"
1968A Man of our TimesRoberts2 episodes
The First Lady BaileyEpisode: "Upset"
Ooh La La!Le Compte EmileEpisode: "The Missing Person"
FrontierMortimer BerkeleyEpisode: "A Little Before His Time"
The Sex GameSimonEpisode: "A Quartet at Sheila's"
Thirty-Minute Theatre Frank CrossEpisode: "A Matter of Principle"
1969 The Wednesday Play Dr. George MackintoshEpisode: "Doctor Atkinson's Daughter"
The Avengers MerlinEpisode: "The Morning After"
The Expert WilliamsEpisode: "The Yellow Torrish"
W. Somerset Maugham Mr. JephsonEpisode: "P. and O."
Special Project AirWing Commander RoutledgeEpisode: "Project Singapore"
Out of the Unknown StephenEpisode: "Get Off My Cloud"
ITV Playhouse Keith BaileyEpisode: "End of Story"
1970 Manhunt VincentSeries regular
Armchair Theatre BobEpisode: "The Company Man"
1971 Thirty-Minute Theatre Tom HarrisEpisode: "Asquith in Orbit."
Paul Temple SpringettEpisode: "Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?"
Shadows of Fear John DolbyEpisode: "Come Into My Parlour"
Out of the Unknown Dr. PhilimoreEpisode: "To Lay a Ghost"
Crime of PassionRolandEpisode: "Roland"
Armchair Theatre DickieEpisode: "Office Party"
The Guardians QuarmbyEpisode: "The Dirtiest Man in the World"
The Passenger Detective Inspector Marin DensonMini-series
The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes Martin Hewitt2 episodes
BBC Play of the Month Tsar Nicholas IIEpisode: "Rasputin"
1972The Man OutsideMajor Richard GrimsbyEpisode: "The Birdwatcher"
Dead of Night Captain RolphEpisode: "Return Flight"
Colditz BraunerEpisode: "The Spirit of Freedom"
ITV Playhouse Nicolas RandolphEpisode: "Dear Octopus"
BBC Play of the Month Julius SagamoreEpisode: "The Millionairess"
1973 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Mr. BellEpisode: "The Regulars"
1974Good GirlEustace MorrowSeries regular
MelissaGuy FosterMini-series
Ombinus The DoctorEpisode: "Joseph Conrad"
1975Thomas MannEpisode: "Thomas Mann: The Fight Against Death"
Play for Today Richard ElkinsonEpisode: "The Saturday Party"
BBC Play of the Month Prime Minister Joe ProteusEpisode: "The Apple Cart"
Earl of RintoulEpisode: "The Little Minister"
1976 Red Letter Day GilbertEpisode: "The Five Pound Orange"
BBC2 Playhouse LawrenceEpisode: "An Accident of Class and Sex"
1977Three Piece SuiteCast MemberSegment: "Briefer Encounter"
BBC2 Play of the WeekAndersonEpisode: "Professional Foul"
Secret Army Hugh Neville2 episodes
1978 The Lively Arts Josef Von SpaunEpisode: "Schubert: A Winter's Journey"
1979 Telford's Change Mark TelfordSeries regular
Jackanory StorytellerRecurring role
1980 The Morecambe & Wise Show Self/HamletEpisode: "1980 Christmas Show"
1981 Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years Stanley BaldwinMini-series
1982 Tales of the Unexpected Richard MellorEpisode: "What Have You Been up to Lately?
1985The PriceGeoffrey CarrMini-series
Late Starter Edward BrettSeries regular
1987London EmbassySir Charles SmallwoodEpisode: "The Man on the Clapham Omnibus"
1988 The Return of Sherlock Holmes Colonel RossEpisode: "Silver Blaze"
1993 Maigret The MinisterEpisode: "Maigret and the Minister"
Heartbeat Frank MilnerEpisode: "End of the Line"

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  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. 1 2 "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.