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Norman Shelley - Colonel Danby - The Archers


Biography of the actor Norman Shelley who was famous for impersonating Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War Two and was Colonel Danby in The Archers Radios Soap Opera:

Colonel Freddy Danby lived with Laura Archer at Ambridge Hall.


The Actor Who Voiced The Winston Churchill Speeches


The actor Norman Shelley, who played Colonel Danby in The Archers voiced the Second World War speech "We shall fight them in the beaches" which was supposed to be by Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. He was asked to impersonate the PM by the British Council and evidence of this came to light years later when a 78rpm record was found in the actor‘s possessions after his death in 1980 . They were found by his son Anthony Shelley. It was marked with "BBC, Churchill: Speech. Artist Norman Shelley" and stamped "September 7, 1942".



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Though Sir Winston Churchill did deliver this speech and the "Their finest hour" speak at the House of Commons there was no recording made at Parliament. So Norman Shelley was employed to impersonate the PM so that his speeches could be broadcast to the nation on the 4 June and 18 June 1940. The PM was too busy to do the recording but did have a final say on the release of the recording after listening to it to make sure it sounded like him.


Radio Work Of Norman Shelley


Norman Shelley was also the voice of Winnie-the-Pooh on the BBC and was a regular voice artist for the BBC's Children's Hour. He also acted opposite Carleton Hobbs as Dr John Watson in a series of adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He performed this role 80 times between the years 1952 and 1969.

Norman Shelley also played the character Canon Meridew in The Archers.


TV Work Of Norman Shelley


Norman Shelley was born on the 16 February 1903 in Chelsea, London. His first television appearance was in the crime drama Thread O' Scarlet which was broadcast in 1930. He played the character Migsworth. More TV and film roles soon followed which included The Iron Duke (Pozzo d Borgo), The Railway Children TV Series (Old Gentleman), Coronation Street ( Henry Foster), Z Cars ( Hatherill), Some Mother Do ‘Ave ‘Em (Group Captain Firth), I Claudius TV Series (Horace), Raffles (Butler) and All Creatures Great And Small (Major Bullen).

Norman Shelley was married to Monica Brett. He died on 22 August in 1980 in London.

His role of Colonel Danby in The Archers was taken over by the actor Ballard Berkeley who will be familiar to telly viewers as the bungling Major Gowen in Fawlty Towers and Uncle Greville in To The Manor Born


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