The actress June Spencer, who plays Peggy Woolley in The Archers, has been presented with a special Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Audio Drama Awards.
June, now 94, has been in The Archers since the pilot episode in 1950 and is the only remaining member of the original cast, making her the longest-serving soap-star in the world.
BBC Director-General, Tony Hall, presented her with the award last night (26th January) at a special ceremony hosted by actor Lenny Henry, in the Radio Theatre at BBC Broadcasting House.
June Spencer has been at the heart of the programme since her arrival in 1950 as the matriarch Peggy, and recently provoked tears across the nation as she said a sad goodbye to her husband Jack Woolley, who died of dementia at the start of the year. (June, pictured above, with the late Arnold Peters who played Jack.)
June lost her own husband to Alzheimer’s, as well the actor who played her on-air husband, Arnold Peters. Arnold died of the disease last May and was diagnosed with the disease after starting the storyline on air.
June is an extraordinary woman who has committed her life to the BBC and The Archers. At 94, absolutely nothing fazes her. She performed with heart-breaking dignity in the recent episodes, using her instincts as an actress and channelling her own difficult experiences of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
It’s a testament to her that these episodes have managed to move listeners so profoundly. Over the years no other programme has highlighted the cares of her generation so truthfully – and no other actress has articulated them with such depth, humour and subtlety. -Sean O’Connor, Editor of The Archers
June Spencer was an only child, born in Nottingham, making her stage debut at the age of four. By the age of 12, she was writing plays and producing them in her back garden to raise money for charity. She joined The Archers in May 1950, having been a regular broadcaster since 1943.