The Archers star June Spencer retires at the age of 103 after 70 years as Peggy Woolley - 'she’s lived in my kitchen for over half a century'

June Spencer, the actor behind The Archers character Peggy Wooley, has retired from the iconic BBC Radio show after 70 years

June Spencer
(Image credit: BBC)

June Spencer has retired from her iconic role as Peggy Woolley, the matriarch of the Woolley family who starred in the long-standing radio show, The Archers.

The BBC press office announced on Twitter, "After 70+ years as Peggy Woolley, June Spencer bids farewell to Ambridge." The Tweet then included a message from a long-term fan of the show, Camilla Parker Bowles. "The Duchess of Cornwall said: "Peggy is a true national treasure who has been part of my life, and millions of others, for as long as I can remember..." said the post.

In a press release, June reflected on being an original member of the cast, and her decision to retire at the age of 103. "In 1950 I helped to plant an acorn. It took root and in January 1951 it was planted out and called ‘The Archers’. Over the years it has thrived and become a splendid great tree with many branches. But now this old branch, known as Peggy, has become weak and unsafe so I decided it was high time she ‘boughed’ out, so I have duly lopped her," said June in a very poetic message.

June Spencer

June Spencer and Duchess Camilla at The 70th Anniversary Of "The Archers" in 2021

(Image credit: Kate Green / Stringer / Getty Images)

Editor of The Archers, Jeremy Howe, also spoke about June's commitment to the show for the past seven decades. 

"I think working with June Spencer has been one of the greatest privileges of my many decades in drama. Her Peggy is one of the great creations of broadcasting – utterly charming, utterly ruthless, sharp as a knife and witty in spades. To think that June has commanded the airwaves over an Archers career of over 70 years beggars belief. I have rarely worked with such an inventive, focused and technically brilliant actor, or such a lovely person," said Jeremy.

The editor concluded with his good wishes for June's retirement, "Myself and the Archers team and cast wish June a well-deserved and long retirement – and I know that if she doesn’t think the show is up to the mark, June will be letting us know. Bravo the legend that is June Spencer."

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Fans are devastated to hear that Peggy Woolley will no longer be appearing in the show, but are hopeful that June will enjoy her very well-earned retirement.

"Peggy Woolley actor June Spencer is retiring after 70 years in the role. She’s lived in my kitchen for over half a century. Millions will miss her. I hope the PM is signing off on her damehood and @BAFTA have sorted the lifetime achievement award," said former Labour MP, Tom Watson.

"What a privilege to have worked with this incredible woman! Have a wonderful retirement June!" said June's Archers co-star Annabelle Dowler.

"Just read June Spencer is retiring and her last scenes have already been broadcast! Noooo, I will miss you Peggy and your quietly judgemental ways. Can we have some kind of tribute @BBCTheArchers," said one fan on social media.

Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.

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