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June Spencer retiring from The Archers aged 103 after more than 70 years

June Spencer retiring from The Archers aged 103 after more than 70 years
Spencer has played matriarch Peggy Woolley (formerly Archer) since 1951.

June Spencer, the last original cast member of BBC Radio 4 programme The Archers, is retiring at age 103.

Spencer, who has played matriarch Peggy Woolley (formerly Archer) since 1951, has already recorded her last episodes for the much-loved drama, which were broadcast on July 31, the Telegraph reports.

She told the paper her exit has been a long time coming.

“I’ve been trying to retire for at least a year,” she said.

Duchess of Cornwall (left) and June Spencer cut an Archers themed cake during a reception to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the programme at Clarence House (Kate Green/PA)
Duchess of Cornwall (left) and June Spencer cut an Archers themed cake during a reception to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the programme at Clarence House (Kate Green/PA)

“They didn’t want to lose her character. Every time I tried to stop they gave me more episodes.”

Peggy was often viewed as a traditionalist, a conservative character in the long-running drama charting the ups and downs of life in fictional Ambridge.

Among Peggy’s many fans is the Duchess of Cornwall, who last year invited Spencer and her co-stars to Clarence House for a reception marking the show’s 70th anniversary.

In a statement in The Telegraph, Camilla called Peggy “a true national treasure who has been part of my life, and millions of others, for as long as I can remember”.

Although Peggy has not yet been written out of the show, Spencer has her own ideas on how best to manage her character’s exit.

She said: “The simplest thing is if (Peggy has) a fall or something and goes into The Laurels (the fictional care home in Ambridge.

“She can languish for years there.”