Peter Barkworth

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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[edit]

Peter Barkworth was born 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 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[edit]

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),[2] 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 the late 1960s, he appeared in a leading role as Vincent in the World War II drama series Manhunt on LWT and various episodes of The Avengers. He also had a part in the Doctor Who serial The Ice Warriors as Leader Clent. He featured in an episode of 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. Both these series and Telford's Change were based on Barkworth's original ideas. He also had a leading guest role as Colonel Ross in the 1988 episode "Silver Blaze", from season four of the 1984 Sherlock Holmes TV series.


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. He also devised a one-man show based on the work of Siegfried Sassoon.


His film career began in 1951 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. He then retired from acting.

The arts[edit]

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).[3] 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[edit]

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.[4]


In The Sunday Times, John Peter wrote:

Stockport College has a theatre named after him.[5]



  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. ^ Trewin, Wendy (26 October 2006). "Peter Barkworth obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  3. ^ Anthony, Hayward (24 October 2006). "Peter Barkworth Obituary". The Independent. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Peter Barkworth Obituary". The Telegraph. 26 October 2006. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  5. ^ Stockport College website[permanent dead link],; accessed 12 December 2015.

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