Donald MacInnes: Peggy Woolley has my admiration after sticking with The Archers for so long


I must congratulate veteran Archers star June Spencer, who has been awarded a lifetime achievement statuette at the BBC Audio Drama Awards.

Never having listened to The Archers, all I can do is report (hopefully accurately) that the 94-year-old actress plays Peggy Woolley and has been part of the Radio 4 soap since it was first launched back in 1951, when dinosaurs bestrode the Earth.

Peggy received her accolade from BBC director general Tony Hall at a ceremony in Broadcasting House in London last Sunday.

The one down-side was the fact that the ceremony was hosted by Lenny Henry, a comedian who was funny six or maybe seven times in the eighties and who now advertises budget motorway hotels.

Whose idea was that? Lenny Henry? Seriously? Surely June deserved better. Surely her years of service to the dung-themed radio show deserved a host she admired; if not that, then one she had actually heard of. Off the top of my head, I would suggest Paul Hollywood. The silver-maned flour arranger is massive with the grey pound, and the twinkley-eyed charmer not only looks the part but also knows his way around a dropped scone – the importance of which to ladies of an advanced age cannot really be overstated. Then there is Aled Jones. Or your man Titchmarsh? Or Giles Brandreth? Surely any one of these would have been better than Lenny Henry?

However, in spite of the disappointing choice of master of ceremonies, I'm sure Ms Spencer had a wonderful day and good luck to her for the next 50 years. Personally, I couldn't stick with the same job for 63 years. I get bored halfway through buttering toast, so I can't imagine myself going to the same place of work for all those decades.

Last year, the Centre for Health and Sciences published a table showing the average length of time people in various countries spend in their job. Top of the list was Greece, with the typical worker spending a terrifying 13 years in the same job. What this says about the psyche of Greek people in unclear. The most transient workers in the industrialised world are apparently found in the United States, with the average American worker staying in the same job for just four years. Britain comes second bottom of the table, with its workers only changing jobs every 8.25 years.

Personally, although doing the same job for nigh-on a decade scares me, it's the repetition involved in getting to work which really makes me shudder. What we do (especially in this line of work) changes every day, so the job is never quite the same. What doesn't change, though, is the daily commute. Thank heaven for Honda, then, which made my scooter, meaning I needn't use London's rage-inducing public transport. I'll bet Peggy Woolley would have packed in The Archers in about 1954 if she had to get to work on the Tube.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
books...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Christine McCleave: Accounts Assistant

    £22,000 - £25,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity i...

    Loren Hughes: Financial Controller

    £60,000 - £70,000: Loren Hughes: Are you a qualified accountant looking for a ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Assistant

    £23,000: Beverley James: Are you looking to join a finance team shrouded in th...

    Anna Woodward: Accounts Assistant

    £35,000: Anna Woodward: My client is a leader in the Superyacht design industr...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower