Peter Woodthorpe

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Peter Woodthorpe
Born(1931-09-25)25 September 1931
York, England
Died13 August 2004(2004-08-13) (aged 72)
Years active1956–2004

Peter Woodthorpe (25 September 1931 – 13 August 2004)[1][2] was an English actor who supplied the voice of Gollum in the 1978 Bakshi version of The Lord of the Rings and BBC's 1981 radio serial.[3] He also provided the voice of Pigsy in the cult series Monkey and was Max the pathologist in early episodes of Inspector Morse.[3]

In 1955, he portrayed Estragon in the first British production of Waiting for Godot.[4] He had then just finished his second year reading Biochemistry[5] at Magdalene College, Cambridge, and expected to return after a run of a few weeks. When the play was successful, faced with the choice of dropping out either from Cambridge or from the play, he chose to stay with the play and his acting career. In 1960, he played Aston in the first production of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker at the Arts Theatre, in London, prior to transferring to the West End's Duchess Theatre on 30 May 1960.[6] He also starred as Oxford in the Broadway musical Darling of the Day.[7]

Before going up to Cambridge he was educated at Archbishop Holgate's Grammar School and served as a national serviceman in the Royal Navy, training at the Joint Services School for Linguists as a Russian interpreter.[4]

In 1964 and 1965, he made three films for cinematographer-turned-director Freddie Francis: The Evil of Frankenstein (1964), Hysteria (1965) and The Skull (1965), the first two for Hammer Films and the last for Amicus Productions.[8] His characters in these films were all sleazy, corrupt and manipulative types (a hypnotist, a nudie photographer and a corrupt landlord).

Other television appearances include as the writer Honoré de Balzac in the BBC series Notorious Woman (1974) and as the corrupt Councillor George Webb in London Weekend Television's hard-hitting police drama The Professionals; episode Not a Very Civil Civil Servant (1978).[2]

One of Woodthorpe's best-remembered roles was the guest role of Reg Trotter, father of Del Boy, in the 1983 Christmas special Thicker than Water, an episode of the BBC sitcom Only Fools and Horses.[3] In 1984, he and Lennard Pearce (who starred on the programme as Grandad Trotter, Reg's father, and appeared alongside him in that episode) were seen together again in the Minder episode The Balance of Power.[9]

Since 1994, he recorded the voices of Toad, Great White Stag and Whistler in a BBC Young Collection audiotape version of the Animals of Farthing Wood.[10] He died at the age of 72 on 13 August 2004 in Banbury, Oxfordshire following a short illness.[4]

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Shattuck, Kathryn (30 August 2004). "Peter Woodthorpe, a British Character Actor, Dies at 72". The New York Times. p. B 6. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Peter Woodthorpe | BFI". Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Peter Woodthorpe". HeraldScotland.
  4. ^ a b c Shorter, Eric (26 August 2004). "Obituary: Peter Woodthorpe". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  5. ^ Beckett: Waiting for Godot, David Bradby, Cambridge University Press, 2001, pg 74
  6. ^ "Production of The Caretaker | Theatricalia".
  7. ^ "Peter Woodthorpe – Broadway Cast & Staff | IBDB".
  8. ^ "Peter Woodthorpe | Movies and Filmography". AllMovie.
  9. ^ "Minder : The Balance of Power (1984) – Ian Toynton | Cast and Crew | AllMovie" – via
  10. ^ The further adventures of the animals of Farthing Wood. 19 January 1994. OCLC 173197987 – via Open WorldCat.

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