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Starting with sad news is probably not a good idea, but…

November 2, 2009

…I am still thinking about the death of Norman Painting, known to literally millions of people as Phil Archer, a character he played on BBC radio week in, week out for nearly 60 years: the longest character stint anywhere in the world.  There are people listening now who heard him go from the young hero to village patriarch of Ambridge.  His character did not actually do much, or experience much anymore.  Even Painting himself thought his character was mostly boring, and to an extent, this view was shared by listeners.   But that hardly seems to be the point.  Most of his role on the show was about being present, about being bound to the place, and about remembering the past 60 years and activating those memories in and for the listeners. 

 

It will be doubly eerie to hear his voice now, as the last episodes he recorded are still played out until Nov 22.

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