Posted: October 31, 2009 11:35 AM
Veteran British radio actor Norman Painting - the longest-serving soap opera star ever - has passed away of heart failure at the age of 85, the Archers for 60 years.
Painting, who was born in Leamington Spa, was a dedicated worker for charities and good causes including Birmingham Cathedral, Age Concern in Warwickshire and the Tree Council.
The series' editor, Vanessa Whitburn, said: "Norman was a consummate professional. Under his sure hand, Phil graduated seamlessly from young romantic hero to farmer, father and grandfather. He always wanted to remain working on The Archers until he died" and I am delighted and proud that he achieved his wish.
Painting was the voice of Philip Archer in the BBC's iconic Radio 4 drama The Archers since its debut in 1950.
He also wrote more than 1,000 scripts for the show and appears in the Guinness Book of Records as the actor who has appeared in a single soap for the longest length of time.
His final broadcast will be transmitted on 22 November 2009.