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Peter Egan

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Peter Egan
Peter Joseph Egan

(1946-09-28) 28 September 1946 (age 77)
Hampstead, London, England
Occupation(s)Actor, activist
Years active1967–present
(m. 1972; died 2021)
ChildrenRebecca Egan (step-daughter)[1]

Peter Joseph Egan (born 28 September 1946) is a British actor.

He is known for his television roles, including Hogarth in Big Breadwinner Hog, the future George IV of the United Kingdom in Prince Regent (1979); smooth neighbour Paul Ryman in the sitcom Ever Decreasing Circles (1984–89); and Hugh "Shrimpie" MacClare, Marquess of Flintshire, in Downton Abbey (2012–15).

Early life


Egan was born on 28 September 1946 in Hampstead, London, the son of Doris (née Pick) and Michael Thomas Egan, who is of Irish descent.[2][3] He was educated at St George's Catholic School, Maida Vale.[4] He also attended the London Oratory School and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.[5][4]

Life and career


Egan's first stage performance was in Charlie Girl. His first television role was as the sex-and-cinema-obsessed Seth Starkadder in a BBC serialisation of Cold Comfort Farm (1968). In 1969, he had come to notoriety as the acid-throwing gangster Hogarth in the controversial Granada series Big Breadwinner Hog. Later, he had other starring roles: as John Everett Millais in the BBC serial The Love School (1975); as Oscar Wilde in the serial Lillie (1978), starring Francesca Annis as Lillie Langtry; as Magnus Pym in the BBC dramatisation of John le Carré's A Perfect Spy (1987) and another BBC sitcom, Joint Account (1989–90).

Egan played the title role in the BBC series Prince Regent (1979), and was a sinister immortal Knight Templar in Michael J. Bird's BBC series The Dark Side of the Sun (1983). Egan also played Fothergill in the television series Reilly, Ace of Spies (1983). In 1986, he had the role of Henry Simcox in the television dramatization of John Mortimer's Paradise Postponed.

In 1988, he narrated the Video 125 drivers eye view 1066DC, which was a cab ride in a Network Southeast class 411 4CEP EMU from Hastings to London. He also guest-starred in episodes of The Ruth Rendell Mysteries ("A New Lease of Death," 1991) and A Touch of Frost ("Private Lives," 1999).

Other roles have included the character Michael Cochrane in the programme The Ambassador (1998), and (on film) as the suave secret agent Meres in television spin-off Callan (1974), and the Duke of Sutherland in Chariots of Fire (1981). In 2007, Egan took the role of Victor in the film Death at a Funeral. In 2009, he toured as lead Sir Hugo Latymer in Nikolai Foster's revival of Noël Coward's A Song at Twilight.[6] He is the narrator for the US and UK versions of Forza Motorsport 3 and its sequel, Forza Motorsport 4.

In 2012, Egan first appeared as Hugh "Shrimpie" MacClare, Marquess of Flintshire, in the Christmas special episode of ITV's Downton Abbey. For the drama's fifth series, Shrimpie became a recurring character; he also briefly appeared in series six. Later that same year, Egan appeared in Alan Bennett's People, alongside Frances de la Tour, at the National Theatre.

Also in 2012, he narrated a new recording of Rick Wakeman's album, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, based on the story by Jules Verne.[7]

Animal rights activism


Egan is a longtime animal lover and vegan. Starting in 2010, he began to campaign publicly on behalf of animal rights.[8]

Egan is an ambassador for the dog rescue Saving Suffering Strays in Sarajevo, Bosnia. He and his wife Myra adopted their Bosnian dog Tidus from this dog rescue. He continues to give support to stray street dogs of Sarajevo and their lone rescuer Milena Malesevic.[9]

Egan is an active ambassador for the Animals Asia Foundation, which is a charity that works to end cruelty to animals in Asia.[10] He is also patron of "All Dogs Matter", a dog rescue and rehoming charity in and around London and Norfolk.[11] He is also an ambassador for the Limbe Wildlife Centre in Cameroon, a wildlife sanctuary for animals rescued from the illegal bushmeat and pet trades. [12]

In May 2015, Egan became Patron of Chaldon Animal Sanctuary, a charity that offers homes for life for dogs and cats. Egan personally took one of the Bosnian dogs now named Crusoe to the sanctuary in May.[13] Three months later, Egan was announced as patron of the science-based campaign For Life On Earth (FLOE), which fights against animal testing in the field of human medical research.[14]

In January 2016, Egan participated in Veganuary, and has remained vegan.[15]

In 2018 Peter Egan joined Animal Equality UK inside a foie gras farm in France to document the process of force-feeding.[16] Since then, he has supported the animal protection organisation on its campaign to ban the import of foie gras made by force-feeding in the UK.[17]

Personal life


Egan was married to former actress Myra Frances for 49 years until her death from cancer on 30 March 2021. His stepdaughter is Rebecca Egan.[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1971 One Brief Summer Bill Denton
1971 Elizabeth R Earl of Southampton episode: "Sweet England's Pride"
1972 The Organization Pershore 7 episodes
1973 The Hireling Captain Hugh Cantrip BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles
1974 Callan Toby Meres
1975 Hennessy Williams
1978 Lillie Oscar Wilde
1981 Chariots of Fire Duke of Sutherland
1983 The Dark Side of the Sun Raoul Lavallière 6 episodes
1984 To Catch a King Reinhard Heydrich
1984–1989 Ever Decreasing Circles Paul Ryman 27 episodes
1985 A Woman of Substance Adam Fairley 3 episodes
1989–1990 Joint Account David Braithwaite 16 episodes
1987 A Perfect Spy Magnus Pym 5 episodes
1997 Bean Lord Walton
1999 A Touch of Frost Richard Darrow Episode "Private Lives"
2000 2001: A Space Travesty Griffin Pratt
2002 The King's Beard King Cuthbert voice
2004 The I Inside Doctor Truman
2005 The Wedding Date Victor Ellis
2005 Man to Man Gyllenhaal
2007 Death at a Funeral Victor
2011 The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings King Henselt voice (video game, English version)
2011 Midsomer Murders Norman Swanscombe Episode: “Not in My Back Yard”
2012 National Theatre Live: People Theodore
2012–2015 Downton Abbey Hugh 'Shrimpie' MacClare, Marquess of Flintshire 4 episodes
2014 Grantchester Archie Johnson 1 episode
2015–2021 Unforgotten Martin Hughes 24 episodes
2018 Midsomer Murders Grady Palmerston Episode: “Death of the Small Coppers”
2018–2019 Hold the Sunset Dr Dugdale 12 episodes
2020–2022 After Life Paul 6 episodes
2020 The Spanish Princess Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk 3 episodes
2024 Truelove David 6 episodes


  1. ^ a b Hayward, Anthony (13 April 2021). "Myra Frances obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  2. ^ "findmypast.co.uk". search.findmypast.co.uk.
  3. ^ "Peter Egan Film Reference biography". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  4. ^ a b Membery, York (15 June 2024). "My first full house gave me a taste for property". www.thetimes.com. Retrieved 15 June 2024.
  5. ^ Langlois, Andre (27 December 2023). "Fulham school fire: 16-year-old arrested on suspicion of arson - smoke seen at The London Oratory School". London World. Retrieved 15 June 2024.
  6. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (2 March 2009). "A Song at Twilight, review". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 8 June 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  7. ^ "Rick Wakeman: Journey to the Centre of the Earth Tour 2014 | The Devon Daily". www.thedevondaily.co.uk. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  8. ^ PETER EGAN ON ACTING AND ANIMALS, Compassion in World Farming, 17 August 2015
  9. ^ "Saving Suffering Strays – Sarajevo". savingsufferingstrays.com.
  10. ^ "Animals Asia". peter-egan.co.uk. Archived from the original on 10 September 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  11. ^ "All Dogs Matter".
  12. ^ "Limbe Wildlife Centre".
  13. ^ "Chaldon Animal Sanctuary". chaldonanimalsanctuary.co.uk.
  14. ^ West, Bradley. "FLOE's Patron Peter Egan". www.forlifeonearth.org. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  15. ^ "Veganuary Chats to Downton Abbey's Peter Egan". veganuary.com. 15 February 2016.
  16. ^ "Foie gras farm". Animal Equality UK. 15 November 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  17. ^ "Ban Foie Gras". Animal Equality UK. Retrieved 3 May 2022.