Long serving The Archers actor, Alan Devereux, has died aged 75. Alan played Sid Perks, landlord of Ambridge’s village pub The Bull and had been part of the worlds longest running soap opera for almost fifty years – before departing the BBC Radio 4 series six years ago.
The BBC announced tonight (May 31st) that Alan Devereux died of natural causes on Sunday May 29th after a short illness.
“Alan was a consummate and brilliant radio actor… Always a delight to work with, his versatility as publican Sid Perks meant that he created superb partnerships with the actresses who played all three of his wives… A modest man, I don’t think he knew just how talented he was.” – Former The Arches executive Vanessa Whitburn
The character of Sid arrived on the Midland-based saga as a young tearaway from Birmingham, making his The Archers debut in the episode broadcast on September 30th 1963. His early storyline saw him arrive in the fictional world of rural Ambridge village from Birmingham where he had been living in a borstal after being caught breaking and entering. His past proved problematic when he initially tried to apply for his publican’s licence; however in the end he became landlord of The Bull, where many major storylines have taken place over the the 66 years since the programme made its debut from studios on Birmingham’s Broad Street in May 1950.
Key plots which Alan played out to millions of listeners every week included the character of Sid seeing his first wife Polly killed in a motor accident, his second marriage ended in divorce after he turned to another woman, singer Jolene, who subsequently became his third wife. There were controversies too. In 2000 listeners got steamed up over a ‘sexy shower scene’ between the characters of Sid and Jolene and Sid was notoriously anti-gay, having several issues with a number of homosexual characters over the years. The character was finally killed off on the 8th of June 2010 when, while in New Zealand, Sid died of a heart attack.
The BBC note that Devereux leaves behind a son and daughter, the latter Tracy Jane White played his on-air daughter Lucy for more than a decade.
“Alan was a one-off, there was no one like him. He possessed a wicked sense of humour and was uniquely talented, I loved him.” – Buffy Davis, who plays Jolene, speaking to the BBC