TV Presenter - Actor - Director - Producer - Writer - Trainer - After Dinner Speaker
Peter with his wife, Kathryn, in Robinson Crusoe, Xmas 1983
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As The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland (TV 1972)
'Busy Bee' sketch with Noakes in Cinderella, Xmas 1978
Recent Activities
For the 2004/2005 Xmas season Peter directed his 28th commercial pantomime, Dick Whittington at the Opera House, Manchester. This was the first time Peter had worked at the venue, although his wife, actress/singer/dancer Kathryn Evans had appeared there as Evita in the mid-eighties, and again in Hello Dolly, with Dora Bryan, and in Aspects of Love in 1997. Peter's stars this year were again the Chuckle brothers, and once more the show attracted huge audiences and took almost £1million at the Box office in a short four week run. This was the third time Peter had been paired with the comedy duo, and Peter felt it was a most successful collaboration again. The shows reviews were excellent, and the word of mouth in the town fantastic. Peter is hoping that 2005/6 could be another excellent pantomime with the boys, but nothing is finalised as yet.

Here are some of the recent reviews from the show, and from last years show, Cinderella at the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, and Aladdin, the previous year at The Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent.
"The Panto's great strength was the Chuckle Brothers.....Paul and Barry made the most of audience quips, and the laughs and fun really flow. Add in the excellent staging and spectacle held together by director Peter Purves, who is surely one of the best in the panto business. He made the very best use of the Pavilion's large but difficult shallow large but difficult shallow stage, and provided a show to laugh at and visibly (sic) enjoy, with a particularly effective transformation scene."

"This Cinderella looks like ensuring a Good financial Christmas for the theatre."

"Under the direction of Peter Purves it is a finely balanced show that moves along at just the right pace. Topped off with spectacular sets and stunning costumes, it is a sumptuous affair that hits the mark on all counts."

"Aladdin (has) stunning sets, lavish costumes, powerful genies, a beautiful Princess, and a Chinese Laundry. It is definitely THE place for chuckling this Christmas."

"The children were kept amused for all of the two and a half hour performance - no mean feat - and the audience was left calling for more. Oh yes they were!"
How it All Started
Peter began acting at an early age - his first role at the age of nine was The Pied Piper of Hamelin. The following year he played the title role in Robin Hood and then Alan Breck in Kidnapped
His first professional role was in repertory during school holidays at the age of 17 as Sheriff in The Rainmaker (1957, Her Majesty's Theatre, Barrow in Furness). He played one other part during that summer before going on to train for two years as a maths teacher! But teaching wasn't the life for Peter and he returned to Barrow in 1961 as a permanent member of the company.
Spending two years learning his trade in weekly rep. (that's performing a new play every week) he appeared in 96 plays playing everything from Malvolio in Twelfth Night to leading roles in the Whitehall Farces. He describes his time in Barrow as the hardest work, the most fun and the least money he has ever had in his life.
Leaving Barrow to try his luck in London his first job was to play the Doctor in Witness for the Prosecution at the Wimbledon Theatre. He followed that with a three-month spell in the chorus in the Charlie Drake vehicle, Man in the Moon at the London Palladium. He recalls it "was a total disaster from day one until it came off nine months earlier than scheduled".
Even during his years on Blue Peter, Peter still made occasional appearances on stage, including two Children's Royal Variety Performances. Then in 1978 came his first commercial pantomime, Cinderella at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford with John Noakes and Bonnie Langford. It was in this show that Peter first met his wife, Kathryn, who was playing Dandini. The show broke all box office records and laid the foundation for his appearing in or directing 26 pantomimes.
His recent Qdos pantos have been on a seriously large scale. He has directed some of the biggest comedy stars currently working, from John Inman, to Hale and Pace, Bobby Davro to The Chuckle brothers. And records have been broken at every venue. He originally directed for E&B productions, then later for the management group AMG, who merged with E&B to form Qdos some years ago. Qdos is now the biggest pantomime producer in the country, with some 30 shows each Xmas.
Peter keeps in regular contact with the theatre through his chairmanship of the board of The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich which successfully re-opened in February 2001 after two years of darkness. Peter is particularly proud of the way that the board was able to get the theatre funded by the three principal bodies, Arts Council England, East; Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk CC. The next big challenge for the board will be to raise the funds for the major refurbishment that the theatre desperately requires.
Links to Theatre Websites
The New Wolsey Theatre - Ipswich
Theatre Royal - Plymouth
East Suffolk Theatre Amateur Awards