Biography of Peter Hawkins

Peter Hawkins in full flight,
recording a Captain Pugwash
episode, c. 1974 

Versatile British voice actor who lent his voice to Gordon Murray's first 3-episode series of "Rubovian Legends".

b. 3 April 1924, Brixton, South London, England, UK.
Married 1956 Rosemary Miller (one son).
d. 8 July 2006, London, England, aged 82.

Peter Hawkins made his mark on the television landscape of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. His voice work extended from an indecipherable language called Flobbadob that he invented (used by Bill and Ben in BBC-tv's "Watch with Mother" series), to Captain Pugwash's blustering "Plundering porpoises! Jumping jellyfish! Harrowing hurricanes!" (John Ryan's "Captain Pugwash" BBC-tv series), to Captain Haddock's swaggering, grog-swilled exhortations, "Billions of blue blistering barnacles!" and "Thundering typhoons!" (in the English dub of Hergé's Tintin television series), to the Dalek's menacing, almost robotic refrain, "Ex-ter-min-ate! Ex-ter-min-ate!" (BBC-tv's "Doctor Who" series).

Judging by the sound of his voice in various roles, and particularly his most famous one, Captain Pugwash of The Black Pig, Peter Hawkins' main contribution to the first 3-episode series of Gordon Murray's "Rubovian Legends" puppet plays was probably Mr. Albert Weatherspoon's voice. Since this was prior to Roy Skelton's involvement with Rubovia, Peter probably also took on the voice of the Lord Chamberlain as well for episodes 2 and 3 of the same series (Lord Chamberlain was played by Philip Latham in episode 1).

Peter Hawkins took over the voices for "Captain Pugwash" from Noel Coleman [1957] and Howard Marion-Crawford [two episodes, mid 1958] and did all of the second (colour) series in 1974. Through a complicated process involving Peter recording the voices onto magnetic tape, and the preparation of up to fifty cardboard cutouts (called "captions" by creator/artist/writer/director John Ryan), each five-minute episode took two weeks to produce. John Ryan described the process in an interview in Puffin Annual (#1, 1974): 

"At the recording studio we meet Peter Hawkins, the actor whose ability to speak with any number of different voices is truly amazing. Peter tells the story and speaks the parts of all the characters into the microphone, and it's very hard to keep a straight face as he does it because he has a way of miming the action as well! Then we make the sound effects, clashing table knives for a sword fight, for example, and choose other noises, such as explosions, from the record library. The music is specially composed and played by Johnny Pearson for the Pugwash series. Finally my editor Barry Shephard mixes voices, sound effects and music onto a 16 millimeter magnetic sound track. And he times it, so that it lasts exactly five minutes.

"When we have completed the sound track and the captions (incidentally fifty of them mounted on thick card make quite a heavy load) we set off for [Bob Bura and John Hardwick's] small film studio in North London which specialises in puppet animation. It is an exciting house filled with miniature film sets and puppets of every description. Usually the experts, Bob Burn and John Hardwick, produce 'stop-frame' animation but for Pugwash they provide lighting and a 16 millimeter camera so that we can film our pictures at work just as actors are filmed in the making of a full-scale film."

Peter Hawkins also made a name for himself as the voices of Bill and Ben the flowerpot men of BBC "Watch With Mother" fame. Bill and Ben spoke a gibberish language called "Flobbadob", which was invented by Peter.

Early on his career, Peter provided voices for the BBC children's puppet series, "The Woodentops", and the voice of Mr. Turnip on the very popular live BBC children's magazine programme, "Whirligig". Many years later he provided 'voices' for the Daleks alongside Roy Skelton on  BBC's Doctor Who. 

A banner heading for an article profiling television voice artists, 
including Peter Hawkins (red rectangle), Daily Mail, 12 December 1964.
The caption are (L to R): Peter Hawkins, the voice of them all: He has also spoken for such figures as Bill and Ben, Captain Pugwash, and the Woodentops as well as the Daleks.  Gerald Taylor: Daleks and West End musicals.  Robert Jewell: Daleks and TV commercials.  Peter Murphy: It's hard work.  Ken Tyllson: He's waiting.

Peter Hawkins also provided the urgent, on-the-edge-of-your-seat narration for the 1962 English dub of Georges Rémi's television Adventures of Tintin.

Actor Filmography
Future Memories (2003) (TV, 45 minutes, Colour) ...(himself)
The Four Corners of Nowhere (1995) ...Therapist
"The Storyteller: Greek Myths" (1990) (mini) TV Series ...(voice artist)
 ... aka Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Greek Myths
"Penny Crayon" (1990) (TV Series)  ...Dennis (voice)
"Windfalls" (1988)  (TV Series) ... Narrator/Various Characters (voice)
"The Adventures of Spot"
(1987)  (TV Series) ...Narrator (UK version)
"Jumbo and the Jet Set" (1986) (TV Series) ...(voice)
"The Family-Ness" (1984) (TV Series) ...(voice)
"SuperTed" (1983) (TV Series)  ...narrator (voice)
"The Perishers" (1978)  (TV Series) ...(voice)
"Father Brown"
(1974) (TV Series; episode: "The Hammer of God") ... Gibbs
Dial M for Murder" (1974)  (TV Series, episode: "Dead Connection") ... Sgt. Maclean
"Captain Pugwash"
(1974) (TV Series) (30 x 5 minutes episodes. Colour) ...Captain Pugwash/Master Mate/Pirate Barnabas/Pirate Willy/Tom the cabin boy (voices)
Whose Child Am I? (1974)
 ... aka Feelings (UK)
Assassin (1973) ...Passport Officer
"Rainbow" (1972) (TV Series, first series)  ...Zippy (1972) (voice)
"The Adventures of Sir Prancelot" (1972) (TV Series) ...(voice)
"Dave Allen at Large" (1971) (TV Series) ...(various characters)
"Tomfoolery" (1970) (TV Series) ...(various characters)
A Walk in the Sea (1966) (TV) ...Mr. Willis
 ... aka Wednesday Play: A Walk in the Sea (UK series title)
Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965) ...Dalek voices (uncredited) 
"The Big Spender" (1965) (TV Series) ...Spiro
"Adventures of Tintin" (1962) (TV Series, animated version of Hergé's Tintin books) ...narrator of English version
"The Days of Vengeance"
(1960) (TV Series, mini) ...PC Harris
"Captain Pugwash" (1958) (TV Series) (86 x 5 minutes episodes. B&W. Peter replaced Noel Coleman and Howard Marion-Crawford) ...Captain Pugwash/Master Mate/Pirate Barnabas/Pirate Willy/Tom the cabin boy (voices)
Treasure Island (1957) (TV) ...(narrator)
“A Rubovian Legend” (1955) (TV series, BBC, 1st series of 3 plays, 20 min, B&W, presented by BBC Puppet Theatre, B&W, marionette plays produced by Gordon Murray) ...(voice)
"The Woodentops"
(1955) (TV Series) ...(voice)
"Billy Bean and His Funny Machine" (1954) (TV Series) ...Billy Bean (voice)
"The Flowerpot Men" (1952) (TV Series) ...(voice)
"Stranger from Space" (1951) (TV Series) ...Petrio (2nd series only)
"Whirligig" (1950) (TV Series) ...Mr. Turnip (voice) / 'Can We Help You?' segments with James Ottaway as 'Clibber' & Raymond Rollett as 'Sly'

Bleep and Booster ...
Softly, softly
Doomwatch (some episodes)

Notable TV Guest Appearances
"The Storyteller" playing "Devil" (voice) in episode: "The Soldier and Death" (episode # 1.1) 15 May 1988
"Father Brown" playing "Gibbs" in episode: "The Hammer of God" (episode # 1.1) 26 September 1974
"Dial M for Murder" playing "Sgt. Maclean" in episode: "Dead Connection" (episode # 1.7) 1 July 1974
"Doomwatch" playing "Computer" (voice) in episode: "Project Sahara" (episode # 1.5) 9 March 1970
"Doctor Who" playing "Cybermen" (voice) in episode: "The Wheel in Space" (episode # 5.7) 27 April 1968
"Doctor Who" playing "Cybermen" (voice) in episode: "The Tomb of the Cybermen" (episode # 5.1) 2 September 1967
"Doctor Who" playing "Daleks" (voice) in episode: "The Evil of the Daleks" (episode # 4.9) 20 May 1967
"Doctor Who" playing "Cybermen" (voice) in episode: "The Moonbase" (episode # 4.6) 11 February 1967
"Doctor Who" playing "Daleks" (voice) in episode: "The Power of the Daleks" (episode # 4.3) 5 November 1966
"Doctor Who" playing "Cyberman" (voice) in episode: "The Tenth Planet" (episode # 4.2) 8 October 1966
"Softly Softly" playing "Det. Sgt. Thorn" in episode: "Blind Man's Bluff" (episode # 1.14) 6 April 1966
"Doctor Who" playing "Daleks" (voice) in episode: "The Daleks' Masterplan" (episode # 3.4) 13 November 1965
"Doctor Who" playing "Daleks" (voice) in episode: "Mission to the Unknown" (episode # 3.2) 9 October 1965
"Doctor Who" playing "Daleks" (voice) in episode: "The Chase" (episode # 2.8) 22 May 1965
"Doctor Who" playing "Dalek" (voice) in episode: "The Space Museum" (episode # 2.7) 24 April 1965
"Doctor Who" playing "Daleks" (voice) in episode: "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" (episode # 2.2) 21 November 1964
"Doctor Who" playing "Daleks" (voice) in episode: "The Daleks" (episode # 1.2) 21 December 1963