Peter Bowles

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Peter Bowles
Born Peter Bowles
(1936-10-16) 16 October 1936 (age 77)
London, England
Occupation Actor

Peter Bowles (born 16 October 1936) is an English actor.

Early life[edit]

Bowles was born in London, England, the son of Sarah Jane (née Harrison) and Herbert Reginald Bowles.[1] His father was a chauffeur and butler at a stately home in Warwickshire but, upon the outbreak of World War II, he was seconded to work as an engineer at Rolls-Royce and moved the family to Nottingham. Bowles attended Nottingham High Pavement Grammar School where he was taught English by the novelist Stanley Middleton and then trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), where he is still an associate.


Bowles had a long apprenticeship, beginning in the era of live television, including an episode of Armchair Theatre (Underground, 1958) during which another actor suffered a fatal heart attack. Having appeared in three episodes of The Avengers in the 1960s, he eventually became well known for portraying upper class characters typically caught in hilarious situations.

This led to what is probably still his best known role, in To the Manor Born, a show that received audiences of more than 20 million, in which he co-starred with Penelope Keith (1979–81, 2007), playing the apparently aristocratic (but in fact self-made immigrant) businessman Richard DeVere.

His career now took off and he starred in television comedies including Only When I Laugh, The Irish R.M., The Bounder and Perfect Scoundrels. Bowles also appeared as a regular in the first few series of Rumpole of the Bailey as Guthrie Featherstone, QC, MP, Horace Rumpole's social-climbing head of chambers. In later series, Guthrie became a judge and left Rumpole's chambers but a disgruntled Rumpole still found himself appearing occasionally before Mr Justice Featherstone, usually once per series. In 1966, he co-starred with Vivian Pickles in the BBC TV film Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World directed by Ken Russell. He appeared in an edition of Rising Damp and in the final episode of the BBC's I, Claudius in 1976 in the role of the British chieftain Caractacus. He again starred opposite Penelope Keith in the mid-80s BAFTA-award winning Executive Stress on ITV.

Bowles also played the agent known as 'A' in The Prisoner episode "A. B. and C.", and the alien Balor in the Space: 1999 episode "End of Eternity". He also appeared as Carolyn Seymour's husband in the first episode of Survivors and in four episodes of The Avengers.

He continues to work regularly in theatre, including London's West End, while appearing at the Chichester Festival Theatre in The Waltz of the Toreadors[2]

In October 2007, he appeared opposite Claire Bloom in Love Letters at the Théâtre Princesse Grace, Monte Carlo, directed by Marc Sinden, as part of his British Theatre Season, Monaco.

Bowles appeared in The Browning Version at the Theatre Royal Bath in June 2009.[3] In 2008, he appeared as one of the suspects in an episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot. In November 2010, he starred at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket opposite Penelope Keith in Sheridan's The Rivals.[4] In 2011, he played Lionel Carson in the Doctor Who Spin-Off, The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Partial filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1963 The Informers Peter the Pole
1965 Three Hats for Lisa Pepper
1966 Blowup Ron
1968 The Charge of the Light Brigade Paymaster Capt. Henry Duberly
1969 The Assassination Bureau Jealous lover
1969 Laughter in the Dark Paul
1970 Eyewitness Victor Grazzini Also known as Sudden Terror
1972 The Offence Detective Inspector Cameron
1973 The Legend of Hell House Hanley
1975 Space: 1999 Balor Episode: End of Eternity
1975 Survivors David Episode: The Fourth Horseman
1976 The Crezz Ken Green
1977 For the Love of Benji Ronald
1977 The Disappearance Jefferies
1979–81, 2007 To the Manor Born Richard DeVere
1987-88 Executive Stress Donald Fairchild
1989 Try This One for Size Igor
1990–1992 Perfect Scoundrels Guy
1995 The Steal Lord Childwell
1999 Tumbled Mr. Gilzean Short film
2007 Ballet Shoes Sir Donald Houghton Made-for-television film
2008 Freebird The Chairman
2008 The Bank Job Miles Urquart
2011 No Ordinary Trifle Max Templeton Also known as Love's Kitchen
2013 Lilting (film) Post- Production


  1. ^ Peter Bowles Biography (1936–).
  2. ^ Sunday Telegraph 1 July 2007, No. 2403, Arts section (Seven) p. 42: "Bowles gives what might be the greatest performance of his distinguished career"
  3. ^ Peter Bowles in The Browning Version.
  4. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]