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Colin Skipp RIP

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  • Colin Skipp RIP

    Colin Skipp, who played Tony Archer, has died aged 80.

  • #2
    From the BBC



    • #3
      Colin Skipp, actor who played the organic farmer Tony in ‘The Archers’ for nearly half a century – obituary

      Colin Skipp as Tony Archer CREDIT: BBC

      Telegraph Obituaries

      25 NOVEMBER 2019 • 5:37PM

      Colin Skipp, the actor, who has died aged 80, was a stalwart of the rustic radio serial The Archers, playing the Eeyorish organic farmer Tony Archer for 46 years.

      Tony was the first character in The Archers whose fortunes listeners could follow from birth. His mother, Peggy (June Spencer), gave birth to him a few weeks after the programme’s first national broadcast, on New Year’s Day 1951.

      He had become a car- and girl-mad 16-year-old by the time Colin Skipp took on the part in May 1967, appearing in some of the last episodes broadcast on the BBC Home Service before it metamorphosed into Radio 4 later that year.

      As The Archers gained a reputation for staidness in the early 1970s and began to shed listeners, BBC executives decided to target younger audiences by shifting the focus from Dan and Doris Archer at Brookfield Farm to their grandson Tony as he tried to set up his own venture.

      The Archers cast celebrate the programme's 21st birthday, in 1971

      But a publicity campaign to promote Tony as a young, virile sex symbol was hampered by the balding Colin Skipp’s being some dozen years older than the character, and somehow Tony never quite convinced as a thrusting entrepreneur and ladies’ man; there was even speculation in the press that he had such a high turnover of lady friends because he was a closeted homosexual.

      The character found his destiny as the grumblingly submissive husband of Ambridge’s token feminist, Pat (Patricia Gallimore), whom he married in 1974 after she proposed to him.

      Together they ran Bridge Farm and in 1984 decided to go organic, introducing a then unfamiliar concept to millions of listeners. The hard work and, for many years, limited rewards of organic farming contributed to Tony’s transformation into a world-weary grump.

      And yet Skipp contrived to keep Tony’s place in listeners’ affections, and was one of the programme’s most authentic actors. In the Telegraph, Gillian Reynolds found his performance the only praiseworthy aspect of The Archers’ 60th anniversary episode in 2011.

      Skipp with Patricia Gallimore (Pat Archer) CREDIT: BBC

      Skipp was outstanding in the harrowing episode in 1998 in which Tony discovered the body of his son John, crushed by a tractor, although he maintained that such dramatic moments were less difficult to act than the scenes of everyday life that made up the bulk of the programme. The challenge was worthwhile, he said, because of The Archers’ vital role as “a quarter of an hour’s sanity in an insane world.”

      It was a tribute to the skill with which Skipp crafted the character that, when ill health forced his retirement in 2013, he was replaced as Tony by one of Britain’s most distinguished actors, David Troughton.

      Colin Frederick Skipp was born in Finsbury, north London, on August 8 1939, the son of Bill Skipp and his wife Amy.

      His father worked as a grip at Gainsborough Studios, and as a boy Colin was sometimes drafted in to work as an extra. He trained at Rada and spent his early career in rep at Sheffield, Birmingham, Keswick and Guernsey.

      Remembered by his Rada contemporary Charles Collingwood (later to play Tony Archer’s brother-in-law Brian Aldridge) as a serious young man, Skipp became more relaxed in later life. On one occasion, after Tony had spoken slightingly of the Welsh seaside resort of Borth, Skipp accompanied a glamour model to a Borth beach for a penitential photo shoot in the Daily Star.

      Away from Ambridge Skipp often worked as a stage director, and ran his own theatre company at Lytham St Annes in Lancashire.

      Colin Skipp is survived by his wife Lisa and their daughter Nova, whom he directed in the lead role of a play about the life of Julie Andrews at Carshalton in 2004.

      Colin Skipp, born August 8 1939, died November 19 2019
      Last edited by Maurice; 25th November 2019, 11:30 PM.