Emmerdale scriptwriter dies in crash

Liz Thomas
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Former Emmerdale Farm scriptwriter and Emmy Award-winner Peter Whitbread has died after a car accident near his Norfolk home.

The 76-year-old RADA-trained actor was walking in Briningham where he lived when he was fatally injured after being hit by a vehicle. For more than 50 years Whitbread was a familiar face on the nation’s television screens, starring on shows such as Lovejoy and The Chief. By the sixties he also began to work as a playwright and scriptwriter penning scripts for a number of television productions including the then Emmerdale Farm.

His 1974 production Mr Axelford’s Angel, the romantic tale of the blossoming relationship between a new secretary and her boss, picked up an Emmy Award for Best Television Play.

Whitbread worked with John Gielgud, performed with Keith Skipper’s Press Gang and spent seasons in Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol, before working for the National Theatre at the Old Vic.

In recent years he left television and spent more time writing his one-man shows for theatre and regularly performed at Norwich’s Theatre Royal. A spokesperson for the venue said: “We are all shocked and very saddened to hear of Peter’s death. He had a long association with the theatre and mostly recently appeared here in our pantomime Aladdin last Christmas playing the Emperor. As always he gave a great performance, was filled with enthusiasm and good humour and was generous with his time.”

* Graham Roberts who played gamekeeper George Barford in The Archers has died aged 75. The one-time continuity announcer for Grampian and Yorkshire Television joined the Radio 4 soap in 1973. Originally cast for just two weeks, Roberts remained in the role for 31 years.

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