Peter Butterworth

In 1952  On alternative Saturdays, there was on the BBC Television Channel on alternate Saturdays  ‘Saturday Special’,  which was hosted by that memorable and wonderful character actor, and World War II hero, Peter Butterworth, with ‘Porty’, the parrot.

 

 

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He had joined the Fleet Air Arm just as War broke out and in 1941 was shot down while on a mission over Germany. He was a pow from that time onwards. In between escape attempts he and his colleagues ran a small theatre club putting on performances in the Camp.

 

When the War was over and he had returned to England he went into acting and was offered the part on the Children’s Programme Saturday Special with Porty the Parrot.

 

Ironically he had tested for a part in The Wooden Horse film but said nothing of the fact that he was in fact, in real life, in the actual escape attempt portrayed in the film.   Incredibly he did not get the part as he was deemed not to appear ‘heroic enough’ for the role.

 

I was also just thinking and recalling people such as Peter Butterworth and Humphrey Lestocq - also  Denholm  Elliot – all of whom were held prisoner of war for quite a long time but who were able to return to ‘civvy life’ and carve out a career.

 

Richard Todd although not a POW was one of the first paratroopers into France at the famous Pegasus Bridge assault. He too found fame after the War as an actor – in fact for a time was the most successful of the War Heroes.

 

We owed people such as this an awful lot  

 

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ABOVE – Peter Butterworth in an episode of Dads Army in 1975 entitled  ‘The Face on the Poster’ which was first screened on 10 October 1975   and earlier that same year on 5 March 1975 he was the subject of ‘This is your Life’ having been surprise by Eamonn Andrews

 

He had married the actress Janet Brown in 1946 and they went on to have a Son and a Daughter.

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They are both buried Nr Haywards Heath in Sussex where they had lived for a number of years.

I like Peter Butterworth as he represents a memory – along with Humphrey Lestocq - of those very early days of Television all those years ago – and my own childhood.

He might have come over as a comic character on TV but he was a War Hero in real life.

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In an early episode of Doctor Who – ABOVE with William Hartnell.

 

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With Miss Marple – Margaret Rutherford in a film version – Murder She Said 1961

 

 

 

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