Where To The Manor Born cast are now – tragic deaths, cancer battle and BAFTA

Fans and stars from the world of entertainment are paying tribute to actor Peter Bowles, who has died at the age of 85 following a battle with cancer.

The actor, who starred in TV series including The Avengers and The Saint, is fondly remembered for his role as Richard DeVere in the popular 1970s comedy To The Manor Born.

To The Manor Born proved hugely popular with audiences and received rave ratings, becoming one of the most watched TV series of the decade.

The much-loved BBC sitcom follows the trials and tribulations of Audrey fforbes-Hamilton – an upper-class woman who, upon the death of her husband, has to move out of her beloved manor house to the estate's old lodge.

Her beloved manor is then bought by Richard DeVere – a quirky millionaire supermarket owner originally from Czechoslovakia.

The feuding pair endure a love-hate relationship throughout the series as they bicker over the manor and the way in which it should be run – before eventually tying the knot in the final episode.

Along with Peter Bowles, the legendary sitcom featured talented stars including Penelope Keith, Daphne Heard and Michael Bilton.

To pay tribute to Peter Bowles, Daily Star takes a look at what the stars of To The Manor Born got up to when the sitcom ended, and where they are now.

Penelope Keith

Following on from her stint in BBC’s The Good Life, Penelope bagged the lead of Audrey fforbes-Hamilton in To The Manor Born.

Her portrayal of the snobby upper-class character catapulted her to international fame, as the much-loved sitcom attracted over 20 million viewers worldwide.

When the series came to an end in 1981, Penelope continued on her TV reign, bagging the lead role in six other sitcoms including Sweet Sixteen, Moving, Executive Stress, No Job for a Lady, Law and Disorder and Next of Kin.

She also nabbed the starring role in a TV adaptation of Agatha Christie's play Spider's Web, and she won her second BAFTA award as Best Actress in 1978 for her stellar appearance in The Norman Conquests.

Now, the 81-year-old still dabbles in acting work, and in 2018 she took to the stage to play Mrs St Maugham in the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Enid Bagnold's The Chalk Garden.

Penelope lives a happy life with her husband Rodney Timpson, who she married in 1978.

The pair, who live in Surrey, adopted two children, in their early years of marriage.

Peter Bowles

Peter Bowles, 84, is most well-known for his role as Richard DeVere which made him a household name across the UK.

He also reached comedy success in other shows including Only When I Laugh, The Bounder and Executive Stress.

Speaking about his success in sitcoms to The Mirror and the affect it had on his career, he said: "If you have a great popular TV success, particularly in comedy, people don’t think you can act on stage.

"People thought I was just a sitcom actor and the BBC told me I’d never work in drama again. I didn’t realise there were two worlds. It was new to me. I found it very odd and frustrating."

Peter famously turned down the role of Jerry in The Good Life – a role which could have benefitted him greatly, but the actor previously told that he wanted to move away from comedy acting and concentrate on more serious roles.

After he took a break from TV acting, Peter dipped his toe into the world of film.

The English star has featured in many films including Live Now, Pay Later, The Informers, Three Hats for Lisa, and Eyewitness.

Peter won ITV Personality of the Year in 1983, and the same year, he was also rewarded with the Male Comedy Star Award.

He then went onto win the Golden Gate Award in 1993, and most recently in 2016, he made an epic return to the small screen when he played the recurring role of the Duke of Wellington in the award-winning ITV series Victoria which received critical acclaim.

Sadly Peter died on March 17, 2022 at the age of 85 years old following a battle with cancer, with a statement announcing the beloved stars death, saying: "The actor Peter Bowles has sadly passed away at the age of 85 from cancer.

"Starting his career at the Old Vic Theatre in 1956, he starred in 45 theatrical productions ending at the age of 81 in The Exorcist at the Phoenix Theatre.

"He worked consistently on stage and screen, becoming a household name on TV as the archetypal English gent in To The Manor Born, Only When I Laugh, The Bounder and Lytton’s Diary, which he devised himself.

"He leaves his wife of over 60 years, Sue, and their three children Guy, Adam and Sasha."

Angela Thorne

Angela Thorne played Marjory Frobisher in BBC’s To The Manor Born.

The 82-year-old actress played one of the sitcom’s most favourite characters – Audrey's best friend who was easygoing, sentimental and a bit of a nut.

In 2010, Angela appeared in an episode of the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? featuring her son Rupert, where she discovered that her father, William had served with the Indian Medical Corps at the Battle of Monte Cassino and that his preceding ancestors had a long-standing connection with the Indian Army.

Angela reprised her role as Marjory for both the 10-episode radio series in 1997 and the one-off 2007 Christmas Special on television.

She followed this with a lead role in another sitcom, Three Up, Two Down.

After To the Manor Born, she also played the eponymous character in the ITV sitcom Farrington of the F.O. written by Dick Sharples.

In the late 80’s, she also took on some voice acting work as the role of Elizabeth II in The BFG, the film adaptation of Roald Dahl's book.

Elsewhere, she appeared in an episode of Midsomer Murders as well as in Foyle's War.

In 1967, Angela tied the knot with her husband Peter Penry-Jones, who was a successful TV star from Cardiff.

The pair welcomed two sons together, and enjoyed a happy life, acting alongside another in a number of To The Manor Born episodes before Peter sadly passed away after a long battle with bowel cancer in 2009.

Gerald Sim

Gerald Sim played the sarcastic and insensitive Rector of Grantleigh in To The Manor Born.

The actor, who was born in Liverpool, Lancashire made over a hundred film and television appearances in his lifetime.

Gerald was the younger brother of the actress Sheila Sim and brother-in-law of the actor/director Richard Attenborough.

While he appeared in smaller roles in shows and films such as The L-Shaped Room, A Bridge Too Far, The New Avengers and Edward & Mrs. Simpson, it was his portrayal of The Rector which made him a household name in the eighties.

He was married to the British actress Deidre Benner, from 1967 until her death in 1999.

The legendary actor sadly passed away in December 2014 at the age of 89.

At the time of his death, his former co-star Penelope Keith described Gerald as ‘enchanting, generous, and glittering’ and a man who could ‘light up any room, or any bad day’.

John Rudling

John Rudling played Brabinger, Audrey's butler, in the hit BBC sitcom.

Brabinger’s genuine affection for Audrey and loyalty to her family induced him to accompany her to the Lodge, where he helped her keep up the standards of behaviour suited to an aristocrat in the much-love series.

Before making his move to the small screen, John worked in repertory as an accomplished actor and director until film and television work came his way.

Whilst appearing in To the Manor Born, John suffered a heart attack and was absent for several shows after his medical emergency.

Proving his dedication to the programme, he later returned in the episode "The Honours List".

Sadly, John died in 1983, two years after the show came to an end, from respiratory complications.

Daphne Heard

The same year as John Rudling’s untimely death, his former co-star Daphne Heard also passed away.

The talented actress played Richard’s mother, Mrs Maria Polouvicka, on the hit BBC sitcom.

Mrs Poo, who she quickly became known as, became famous for her Czechoslovakian sayings including: "He who sits on the highest pinnacle still sits on his own backside," and "the cat who eats from the dog's bowl gets her whiskers bitten off.”

Her film includes roles in Goodbye Gemini, Jude the Obscure and The Triple Echo.

She also appeared as the nanny in Laurence Olivier's film Three Sisters based on Chekhov's play, opposite Joan Plowright, Alan Bates and Olivier himself as Chebutikin.

Daphne was 78 years old at the time of her death.

Michael Bilton

Michael Bilton was best known for his roles as Ned in To The Manor Born.

The late actor, who died in 1993, also played the role of Audrey’s gardener before he got bunked up to butler service.

Michael had a strong comedic bent and featured in other sitcoms including Keeping Up Appearances, One Foot in the Grave and Grace and Favour.

His final role was that of Basil Makepeace in the BBC Sitcom Waiting for God, and when he filming began in 1990, he was already aged 71.

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His character, Basil, grew in importance throughout the first four series eventually becoming the main supporting character.

His final appearance was in the last episode of Series 4 and he died just a few short months after filming ended.

The character of Basil was essentially replaced by Jamie Edwards, Jane's spirited Irish grandfather, who was played by Paddy Ward.

Michael was married and divorced twice, first to Sally West from 1944 and later to actress Valerie Newbold, from 1953 until 1967.

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