To those in the UK, Radio 4's soap opera "The Archers" is an institution. First aired in 1950, the agrisoap is an almost daily companion after the 7pm news, with the strains of Arthur Wood's "Barwick Green" heralding the start of 15 minutes of trial, tribulations, love, hate and intrigue. The Archers is the longest running soap, nearly 60 years on radio. One of its principal characters was the patriarchal Phil Archer, portrayed by Norman Painting - and the BBC announced this evening that he has died at the age of 85, following a 9-year battle with bladder cancer. Painting wrote nearly 1,000 scripts for the series, and recorded his last episode on Tuesday. This will be broadcast on 22 November.
I have listened to the Archers for 26 years, and although "Phil Archer" had only rarely been making an appearance, I was sorry to hear that the actor, Norman Painting, had died.