Percy Edwards

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Percy Edwards

Percy Edwards MBE.png
Percy Edwards on Morecambe and Wise
Born(1908-06-01)1 June 1908
Died7 June 1996(1996-06-07) (aged 88)
Known forAnimal impersonator, ornithologist, and entertainer.

Percy Edwards, MBE (1 June 1908 – 7 June 1996) was an English animal impersonator,[1] ornithologist and entertainer.


As a child, Edwards was fascinated by the wildlife he found in his local area, and by the age of 12 was accomplished enough at imitating many of them that this became his "party piece".[2]

In 1930 he debuted on the BBC radio series Vaudeville, the start of a career that would last the best part of 60 years. During World War II, Edwards worked at Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies in Ipswich.[3]

Edwards became a household name after his animal imitations in the radio shows Ray's a Laugh with Ted Ray, and playing Psyche the dog in the radio series A Life of Bliss. It was said that at the height of his career he could accurately imitate over 600 birds, as well as many other animals. Among other things, he provided the voices for the killer whales in Orca (1977), the Reindeer in Santa Claus: The Movie (1985), sheep and bird sounds on Kate Bush's song The Dreaming, and the alien in the film of the same name. Edwards appeared occasionally on BBC TV's pre-school series Play School as a storyteller, in 1967 and from 1973 through 1980. One of his last stage appearances was in the Grand Order of Water Rats centenary show at the London Palladium in 1989.

Edwards was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1993 for services to ornithology and entertainment.[2]

Although he always referred to himself as an entertainer, Edwards was a fellow of the Zoological Society of London, and a respected and published ornithologist.[citation needed]

In 2009, Sir David Attenborough presented a special BBC radio panel game, The Percy Edwards Showdown, dedicated to Edwards's life and career.[1]

He is buried in the churchyard of St Mary's, Polstead, Suffolk.

The grave of Percy Edwards in the churchyard of St Mary, Polstead, Suffolk


NB: Edwards worked purely as a voice artist unless otherwise stated





  • Call Me at Dawn (1948)
  • The Birdman's Pocket Book (1954)
  • The Road I Travelled (1979)
  • Country Book (c.1980)
  • Song Birds (1986)


  1. ^ a b "Percy Edwards Showdown". BBC. 4 March 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Percy Edwards - Biography". Retrieved 2009-03-04.
  3. ^ "WW2 People's War - Joan Whitson". BBC History. Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2008-04-30.

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