Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Remembering Peter Butterworh

Peter William Shorrocks Butterworth was born on February 4, 1919 in Bramhall, Cheshire, England. Butterworth was an English comedy actor and comedian, best known for his appearances in the “Carry On” series of films. He was also a regular on children's television and radio and appeared in seven early episodes of ‘Doctor Who’ in 1965 as the Meddling Monk. Before his acting career started, Butterworth served as a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. He was captured in the Netherlands in 1940 and later escaped through a tunnel from Dulag luft, near Frankfurt, in June 1941, where he covered 27 miles over three days before a member of the Hitler Youth captured him. Afterwards he joked that he could never work with children again. Two other attempts to escape were made during his time there but he never got beyond the campgrounds.
Whilst at Stalag Luft III he met Talbot Rothwell, who later went on to write many of the “Carry On” films. Rothwell and Butterworth formed a duet and sang in the camp shows, where booing and catcalls covered the sounds of an escape tunnel being dug by other prisoners. Having never performed in public before, Butterworth sang a duet with Rothwell, a song which Rothwell called "The Letter Edged In Black".
Butterworth came to notice after appearing in pantomime around the UK and made his first film appearance in 1948 in “William Comes to Town”. Guest and Butterworth would become close friends and the two would work on a further seven films together during their careers. His first major success was on Television in the Terry-Thomas sketch show ‘How do you view?’ in which he played the chauffeur "Lockitt".
Butterworth's association with the “Carry On” series started in 1965 in his only Euro-western “Carry on Cowboy” where he played the part of "Doc". He was put in touch with the creator of the series, Peter Rogers, by his friend Talbot Rothwell, the writer of “Carry On Cowboy” and who had written the previous four films. Out of the actors who were considered to be the “Carry On” team, he was the sixth most prolific performer in the series, making sixteen film appearances, two Christmas specials, the television series in 1975 and the west end theatre productions which also toured the country, alongside Sid James, Barbara Windsor and Kenneth Connor.
Peter Butterworth died of a heart attack on January 16, 1979 in Coventry, Warwickshire, England.
Today we remember Peter Butterworth on what would have been his 95th birthday.

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